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Initiative Promotes Agriculture as Viable Career for Youth

According to the Latin American Center for Rural Development, 2.6 million rural Colombian youth are facing the effects of armed conflict and scarce job opportunities. Many of them have migrated to cities in search of work, depleting the labor force and further hindering the economic development of rural areas.

To help reverse this trend, PMA has partnered with local agricultural technical institutes to launch an educational initiative to improve technical skills and knowledge of rural youth in the departments of Cauca and Narino. Through the Agriculture Education for Youth Initiative, PMA technical experts train students and teachers in good production practices, farming as a business, and the use of new technologies. Graduates of these programs are then prepared to train other students.

Students are excited about to learn new skills and share that knowledge with their peers. “Young people have the responsibility to change the negative circumstances of their territory and start to work in the field improving agricultural practices,” said Diana Marcela Gómez, age 15, from the Educational Institution Rafael Uribe.

By offering instruction in alternative income-generating activities, PMA hopes to inspire students to view agriculture as a viable career option and steer them away from illegal economies. Two hundred sixty-four 10th and 11th grade students from six technical institutes are participating in the current first phase of the initiative.

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