NURTURING THE NEXT GENERATION OF FARMERS
The world is going through a time of unprecedented change. A skyrocketing population, climate change, an increasing trend towards city-living, and technological advancement like we’ve never seen before. It’s an exciting time to be alive. As the world’s largest food and beverage company, we’re asking what all this means for the future of food and agriculture. How will we contribute to feeding the 9 billion or more people that will be living on Earth in 2050? Who will grow and produce this food?
And that’s not the only issue we want to tackle. We’re launching this project alongside our Global Youth Initiative – a programme all about providing employment opportunities to young people. The average age of farmers around the world is on the rise, with less than 5% of farmers in rural areas aged under 35. In Europe more than a third are over 65 and the averages in Japan (67) and the US (58) demonstrate a clear trend: the farming population is ageing fast. Jobs in agriculture are attracting fewer and fewer bright young people, and this shortage of talent entering the agri-food industry has become a growing concern.
So we want to work with you to inspire, train and enable the farmers of the future. We want to provide young people with the knowledge, skills and entrepreneurial spirit that will help them thrive in an ever-changing farming industry. And we want to join forces to help these young agripreneurs establish and manage the farms of the 21st century. Together, we’ll nurture the next generation of farmers.
In the first instance, that means working together to develop a modular training course.
These farmers will be the new leaders in agriculture. They’ll boast all of the agricultural knowledge, environmental consciousness and technological savviness they need to succeed. They’ll have the business mind-set and soft skills to make their businesses productive and sustainable both economically and environmentally. They’ll be the visionaries and risk-takers that push the boundaries and drive progress. They’ll enjoy the lifestyle benefits that come with the profitable, competitive and rewarding profession of farming. And the whole world’s population will enjoy the benefits of those gains in productivity and sustainability.
So the content of this course should go beyond key agricultural know-how (such as administrative skills) and cover the essential knowledge that will help shape true agripreneurs: the latest innovations, cutting-edge digi-tech, automation and robotics, the use of data and more. Financial literacy, business acumen and strong leadership are the key enablers, and that next level of modern agricultural nous will provide greater yields, greater productivity, and greater opportunities for economic success than ever before.
Next, we’ll need to work out how to deliver our agripreneurship training in a flexible, scalable and innovative way. And it’s not just limited to academia and book-learning – we know that practical experience is an unbeatable educational tool.
We’re open to anything, whether video content delivered online, an app, gamification, an innovative EdTech platform, an SMS knowledge-sharing network or anything else that you can come up with. We’ll start by testing in a pilot market and then scale up across the globe, giving as many young farmers as we can the opportunity to succeed. So it’ll need to be flexible, able to cater for regional variations in skills, knowledge, literacy and access to technology.
Through our Farmer Connect programme, we already engage with hundreds of thousands of farmers every year. But in 2018, along with one or more partners, we want to take that up a notch. Together, we can inspire, train and enable the next generation of agripreneurs. So whether you have the whole solution or only a part, apply to join us in taking on this hugely ambitious and exciting project.
Why it matters
This project tackles two of the biggest challenges we face today: a widespread unemployment crisis, especially among young people (13.1%), and an ever-decreasing number of bright young farmers taking on the responsibility of ensuring sustainable, high-quality agriculture to provide food for future generations. We think that through this project, by enabling agripreneurship and endowing young people with the best skills and knowledge, we can steer them towards a meaningful and inspiring opportunity: to contribute to sustaining the world’s population for decades to come.
Every project on HENRi has signed-off funding of US$50,000 to pilot a proof-of-concept in market.
If you have any questions about this particular challenge, you can get in touch with Dionys here.