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The majority of Rwandan youth is aged between 16-30 years (28%). However, the average age of farmers is 55 years old, which shows how agriculture is mainly an activity of old people. It is important to match the great energy of the country (youth) with its main economic activity (agriculture) to sustainably innovate, create sustainable jobs and avail enough and healthy food for the fast growing population.
The food system chain is a complex web that includes growing, harvesting, processing, packaging, transporting, marketing, consumption, distribution and disposal of food and food-related items. However, producing healthy food requires skills and innovations along the value chain. Developing a healthy food system impacts livelihood in many angles by creating decent jobs for rural and urban youth through professionalization of each level of the value chain from input supply to food consumption.
It is planned that the agriculture sector will contribute significantly to job creation where 45 000 jobs will be created in the agri-food system of which 28 000 jobs created in production and 17 000 jobs created in agri-linked value chains. It is noticeable that a sustainable food system that responds to the country’s food demand should leverage the contribution of youth in designing and implementing healthy food systems interventions and innovations.
This dialogue will review the contribution and perspective of youth on healthy and sustainable food systems that avail healthy and enough food. We will hear from youth from different youth organizations and individual youth farmers in Rwanda and their contribution in creating solutions for healthy food availability, decent jobs creation and innovation for agriculture sustainability.
The dialogue aims at:
- Providing a platform for youth to exchange and share their perspective on healthy and sustainable food system
- Creating an awareness for an increased participation of youth in healthy food availability through innovation along value chains
- Sharing experience and knowledge on better ways to create solutions and opportunities for availability of healthy food
- Engaging participants for future commitments for a healthy food system that creates opportunities and accommodates youth for increased innovation and resilience.
The dialogue will accommodate diverse participants from different levels of the food system chain. It is planned that participants will have time to dig deeper and discuss two topics that youth needs to understand better for them to be able to contribute to achieving a healthy food system in Rwanda. Participants will learn from presenters and discussion around the following topics:
- Food Standardization “from farm to fork»; the current status and opportunities;
- Youth driving Access to Safe and Nutritious Food for All;
- An improved knowledge of the role of youth in healthy and sustainable food system
- Increased networking and collaboration among youth actors in the food system
- Discovered opportunities in healthy food systems
- Commitment in leveraging youth innovations for healthy food availability
Individual and youth organization are expected to participate in this dialogue. Organizations that work closely with the food systems in Rwanda will be invited to share with youth the current status and opportunities available in healthy food systems. Those includes:
The Ministry of Agriculture and animal resources (MINAGRI), The Ministry of Youth and Culture (MYCULTURE) , Rwanda Inspectorate, Competition and Consumer Protection Authority (RICA), Rwanda Food and Drugs Authority (Rwanda FDA), Rwanda in Youth Agribusiness Forum (RYAF), Youth Engagement in Agriculture Network (YEAN), HORECO, Agriwin Ltd, Youth agriculture commodity exporters, RARICO, Individual youth farmers, Rwanda Organic Agriculture Movement (ROAM), Rwanda Inspectorate, Competition and Consumer Protection Authority (RICA)