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Research Series Issue 48: Rural youth, today and tomorrow
December 2019

What would it mean to develop a youth-inclusive agricultural and rural development agenda? Agriculture, and particularly smallholder farming, remains the single largest source of youth employment in most low- and middle-income countries but today’s young rural men and women express little interest in agricultural futures.

Research on rural youth aspirations suggests that many young people are not averse to agriculture as such, but to agriculture’s current neglected condition and the near impossibility of becoming an independent farmer while still young, due to lack of access to land.

A youth-inclusive agricultural and rural development agenda means approaching young people not as instruments of development, but as subjects, actors and citizens.


Ben White




White, B. 2019. “Rural youth, today and tomorrow. ”IFAD Research Series 48. Rome: IFAD