Youth and Agriculture
Structural Causes of Youth Unemployment and Reluctance to Enter Agriculture in Rural Asia
Globally, young people are increasingly turning away from agriculture and rural futures. Who will be farmers in the future? This is a critical global issue given that mass youth unemployment has become ‘structural, chronic and permanent features of most economies’ (White 2020: 6; IFAD 2019). Young people’s reluctance to engage in agriculture is creating the critical problems of youth unemployment, agricultural decline, food insecurity and poverty, particularly in Asia. These problems have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic (ILO 2020). Existing literature has largely failed to offer nuanced understandings of the complex relationships between young people and agriculture in rural Asia. Drawing on evidence generated from comparative field studies in rural Japan, Indonesia and Nepal, this research project examines why young people leave agriculture and rural areas. It will produce nuanced theoretical understandings of young people’s sectoral, spatial, and temporal engagements in rural Asia. This project will also provide highly useful policy insights of regional and global significance for addressing rural youth unemployment and agricultural decline.
This project is a collaboration between Dr. Takeshi Ito of Sophia University and Dr. Ramesh Sunam of Waseda University.