Agriculture to Help Reduce Youth Unemployment

Apr 11, 2017

Local fruit production chain employees Photo credit: ©WIBDI/2016

A technical cooperation project aimed at strengthening the capacity of Samoa youth for employment in the agriculture sector has been launched in Samoa. 

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries as well as the Ministry of Women, Community and Social Development of Samoa are partnering to implement this project, which will also contribute to the outcomes of the Samoa One-United Nations Youth Employment Programme (YEP) aimed at addressing the challenges of youth unemployment and to deliver practical solutions and opportunities.

Ms. Lizbeth Cullity, UN Resident Coordinator in Apia, Samoa attended the launch of the project on 11 April 2017. She congratulated the Government of Samoa, in particular the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries and the Ministry of Women, Community and Social Development (MWCSD) for their achievement in designing opportunities for youth employment in the field of agriculture. 

Ms. Cullity also acknowledged the critical support of the private sector, NGOs and all other key partners that have demonstrated their continued motivation and commitment to assisting the UN deliver better together in the interest of youth and other vulnerable groups.

 

Launch of the Strengthening Capacity of Youth for Employment and Livelihood In Agriculture project at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) conference room on 11 April 2017 Photo credit: ©UNDP/2017

 

The Resident Coordinator provided an overview of some of the achievements of the YEP, which included 144 unemployed youths that have attended training courses on soft skills, Samoan culture, culinary training, organic farming and ICT. Ms Cullity also noted that vocational school scholarships were granted to 56 youths from both Upolu and Savai’i. 

“As the backbone of the Samoan economy, the agriculture sector absorbs some 38% of employment in Samoa,” said Ms Cullity, adding that “the intention of Samoa One-UN YEP is to multiply employment opportunities for young people in the sector to have greater impact on Samoan economy.” 

The Tracer Youth Employment Survey conducted by Samoa National Youth Council together with the MWCSD in 2016 identified some 800 unemployed youths in Samoa. It also showed that there were youths already engaged in subsistence farming in the rural areas, and it was crucial to target these youths so they may benefit from the project resources over a short and medium term period. 

“The survey identified the need, and we need to identify the response through this project,” said Ms. Cullity.

Additionally, Ms Cullity noted that it was important to look at youths who move to Apia on their own, and live away from their families. These were potential at-risk-youths that may require support and assistance.  “Through this project, identifying more jobs in the agriculture sector may help to change the national youth unemployment situation, and at the same time empower youth to build a better future and strengthen Samoa’s economy,” Ms Cullity said.    

 

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