The Future of Rural Youth in Developing Countries

Tapping the Potential of Local Value Chains

image of The Future of Rural Youth in Developing Countries

Rural youth constitute over half of the youth population in developing countries and will continue to increase in the next 35 years. Without rural transformation and green industrialisation happening fast enough to create more wage employment in a sustainable manner, the vast majority of rural youth in developing countries have little choice but to work in poorly paid and unstable jobs or to migrate.

As household dietary pattern is changing, new demands by a rising middle class for diversified and processed foods are creating new job opportunities in food-related manufacturing and services. Agro-food industries are labour-intensive and can create jobs in rural areas as well as ensure food security. Yet the employment landscape along the agro-food value chains is largely underexploited. This study looks at local actions and national policies that can promote agro-food value chains and other rural non-farm activities using a youth employment lens.



Assessment and recommendations

OECD Development Centre

A large rural youth population and a growing domestic demand for diversified foods in many developing countries represent a unique opportunity to advance towards the three objectives of decent job creation for youth, food security, and sustainable production as spelled out in Agenda 2030. Yet, challenges to seizing this opportunity remain. Most developing countries still need to promote more productive and environmentally sustainable agri-food activities that can meet changing domestic consumption needs, create decent job opportunities for their large rural youth populations, and help close the gap between rural jobs and what youth aspire to. Developing countries can make this happen, but decisions and actions need to be taken today.


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