We, young farmer leaders from ASEAN countries gathered here for the ASEAN-EU Youth Forum held on October 25-26, 2017 in ASEAN Secretariat, Jakarta, Indonesia welcomed by key leaders both of ASEAN and EU together with IFAD as development partner, do hereby declare our agreements and call for actions drawn from our sharing, collective reflection and discussion:
- We are deeply concern about the declining interest of young people in agriculture as farming is perceived as not a rewarding endeavour (more hard work, less income). More and more rural youth are enticed to go to cities to seek for opportunities. The exodus of rural youth causes serious problem in addressing the demand for healthy food for growing population in the world particularly in Asia.
- While we are concern of the many challenges confronting young people, we also draw inspiration from increasing initiatives among farmers’ organization (FOs), some government agencies and development partners to develop and promote the full potential of rural youth as the farmer successor imbued with important role of feeding the world and caring for the earth through various capacity development programs (leadership and value formation, organizational and technical training, farmer-to-farmer learning exchanges, mentoring/coaching sessions) including affirmative action of instituting mechanism for participation of youth mostly at FO level (e.g. young farmer committee, etc ) and to some extent on public policies.
- We recognize our inherent strength of promoting innovation in agriculture through our capacity to adopt both scientific and indigenous knowledge towards climate resilient and sustainable farming technologies as well as our keenness to use of ICT in accessing timely information on production and particularly in reaching new market along inclusive value-chain approach and in the context of solidarity economy.
- Aware of the challenges as well as of our strengths and opportunities ahead of us, we commit to:
- Strongly push for affirmative action in our respective farmer organizations (e.g. at least 20% of membership of our farmers organization should be composed of young farmer; guaranteed seat for young farmer in the governance structure of our farmer organization; formation/ strengthening young farmers’ wings and committees or separate young organization while maintaining close institutional link with our farmer organization;
- Build leadership and agri-enterpreneurial capacities so we can manage well production and marketing initiatives at our own farm and or organization;
- Actively engage in advocacy, policy dialogue and constructive engagement with government and other partners through participatory and evidenced-based policy papers promoting the interest of young farmers;
- Proactively link with other young farmers at different level and collaborate with other farmer organizations in setting-up a national platform for young farmers as well as the regional/ASEAN Young Farmer Platform/Federation (AYFF/AYFP).
- While we commit ourselves to the noble task as the successor farmer, we urgently call for needed support from various partners:
- We call on ASEAN and member states to ensure rural youths’ access to land through provision of national legal framework and regional guideline facilitating easier transfer of land rights to young farmer (e.g. land and succession laws);
- Young farmers agripreneur requires access to start-up capital and affordable credit which will assist us in setting-up new farm, acquiring farm equipments/machinery or diversifying activities on our existing family farms to add value on our product. In line with this, we call on member states and development partners to:
b.1 provide financing window dedicated for young farmer agripreneur with package of grant and soft-loan both for short term and long term
b.2 provide public guarantees to help manage risk (e.g. weather-based insurance, etc)
b.3 encourage commercial and rural banks to offer preferential credit services and interest rate for young farmer agripreneur and their agricultural cooperative;
- Trainings and advisory services should be made available to young farmers including technical, legal, economic, environmental and social awareness. Internship, learning visits, coaching/mentoring and farmer-to-farmer learning are useful methodologies which should be made available to young farmers;
- Support the organizing and networking of young farmers at local, national and regional level;
- Ensure meaningful participation of young farmers in policy dialogues and developing agricultural development program through the recognition of the ASEAN Young Farmers Platform catalyzed by the ASEAN Farmer organization support program;
- Set-up recognition mechanism to manifest public awareness and appreciation of the role of farmers in the society (e.g. integrate in school curriculum; regular award to young farmer, etc).
ADOPTED this 26th day of October 25, 2017, Jakarta. Indonesia