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Wednesday, 10 September 2014 12:15

e-Debate: Youth sustaining family farming through ICTs

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2014 has been proclaimed as the International Year of Family Farming (IYFF). Family farming includes all family-based agricultural activities, and it is linked to several areas of rural development.

Since the beginning of agriculture, family farming has been contributing significantly to food and nutrition security globally. Indeed, 70% of global food supply comes from more than 500 million family farms, which are supporting rural employment in many countries (FAO, 2014).

If the contribution of family farming is so important for food security, improving livelihoods and management of natural resources, how is the lack of youth interest and involvement in agriculture affecting the sustainability and survival of family farms? What are the challenges being faced by youth involved in family farming? What should be the recommendations and action points to support and encourage the use of ICTs by youth for the sustainability of family farming?

In the context of the International Year of Family Farming, and in the framework of its
ARDYIS project, the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA), in collaboration with the African Youth Foundation (AYF) is organising an e-debate on Youth sustaining family farming through ICTs.


The objectives of this e-debate are to:

  • Raise youth awareness on the role and contribution of family farming for food & nutrition security and youth/rural employment;
  • Discuss the involvement of youth in family farming, the opportunities in this area, and the challenges faced;
  • Discuss and explore how ICTs can further strengthen the engagement of youth, including young women, in family farming;
  • Contribute to the celebration of the International Year of Family Farming.

For this e-debate, we are looking for strong recommendations and action points to be taken into consideration by different stakeholders involved (including CTA), which can contribute in strengthening the engagement of youth in family farming through ICTs.

Target audience

The primary target group for this e-debate are youths (15 to 35 years) interested or involved in family farming and the use of ICTs for agriculture. Organisations supporting youth in agriculture, especially on family farming, are also targeted. Finally, any person or organisation interested or working in this area is most welcomed to join the debate.

Where and When

The e-debate will take place from 22nd September to 7th October 2014 on the discussion group of the ARDYIS (Agriculture, Rural Development and Youth in the Information Society) project: http://dgroups.org/groups/youth


Each week, the e-debate will be focused on a specific theme and questions.

Week 1: Understanding the concept of family farming and youths’ roles and involvement in family farms

  • Question 1: What is family farming and how does it differ from industrial agriculture? How are youth engaged in family farming and what are their specific roles and profiles? (22 - 23 September 2014)

  • Question 2: What opportunity can family farming represent for youth? What challenges are youth involved in family farming facing, especially young girls/women and those living in rural areas? (24 - 26 September 2014)

Week 2: The use of ICTs to strengthen link between youth and family farming

  • Question 3: ICTs help promote youth involvement in agriculture by enhancing their opportunities, motivations and capacities. ICTs also contribute to improving youth livelihoods, agricultural modernisation and creating benefits throughout value chains. Taking into consideration the specific challenges faced by youth in family farming, how can we make better use of ICTs to address these issues? Do we have examples of projects/initiatives in this area? (29 September - 01 October 2014)

  • Question 4: Given the key role that youth play as intermediary between the elderly members in the family farm and other stakeholders along the value chain, how do we further strengthen their engagement in family farming through the use of ICTs? What should be the role(s) of the different stakeholders involved? What recommendations do we have? (02 - 03 October 2014)

Week 3:  Conclusions and recommendations

A review on the key points discussed throughout the debate will be done. Participants will also be invited share their final ideas, recommendations and action points to wrap-up the discussions. (06 - 07 October 2014)


The e-debate will take place in English.


Dr. Paulyn Jansen and Ms. Phillen Maqhuzu, AYF

Subject Matter Experts

The following subject matter experts will contribute to the debate and answer youth’s queries:

  • Mr. Daniel Asare-Kyei, Agricultural economist, ICT for Agribusiness expert and PhD Researcher, United Nations University - Germany
  • Dr. Olu Ajayi, Senior Programme Coordinator (ARD Policy), CTA
  • Ms. Anne-Laure Roy, Technical Advisor – Youth Focal Point, IFAD
  • Mr. Moses Nganwani Tia, Executive Director, Savannah Young Farmers Network (Ghana), and winner of Best Blog on Family Farming (Institutional Category), YoBloCo Awards
  • Mr. Inoussa Maiga, Director, MEDIAPROD and winner of Best Blog on Family Farming (Individual Category), YoBloCo Awards
  • Mr. David Dolly, University of the West Indies
  • Ms. Jennifer Maynard, Caribbean Agricultural Extension Provider's Network - CAEPNet

Reference documents

See the Introductory Note on the debate.


After the event, a synthesis report of the e-debate will be prepared and shared with different partners working with CTA on Family Farming on the occasion of the World Food Day 2014 on 16th October.

The outputs from this e-debate will also feed into the online Forum on "communication for development and ICTs for family farming", organised by the e-agriculture community to inform the Forum on Communication for Development & Community Media for Family Farming (FCCM), to be held within the framework of the International Year of Family Farming, on 23 - 24 October 2014 in Rome, Italy.

Join the debate

To follow or take part in the e-debate, interested participants have to be subscribed on the ARDYIS Dgroup. If not yet subscribed, kindly go to this link http://dgroups.org/groups/youth and register or send an email to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

More Information

The objectives of the ARDYIS thematic e-debate series are to:

  • support knowledge building of young people on ICT for agriculture issues;
  • support their professional engagement in agriculture value chains;
  • facilitate networking and the sharing of youth experiences on ARD and ICT within the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) regions.

The ARDYIS project is an initiative by the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA). It aims to raise youth awareness and capacity on agricultural and rural development issues in ACP countries through ICTs. It is implemented in collaboration with an Advisory Committee which comprises FARA, AYF, CAFAN, SPC-PAFPNet, Yam-Pukri, ANAFE

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Last modified on Friday, 19 September 2014 09:49


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