FAO Organizes a UN75 Online Dialogue for Youth, Discussing the Future of Agriculture in Lebanon
An online event that brings youth together to probe them for insight regarding Lebanon 2045, and what role they envision for agriculture in that Lebanon.
What are the challenges that need to be solved in Lebanon to achieve the Lebanon you want to see in 25 years? What do you want to see in 2045 when the UN will turn 100? What is the future of agriculture in Lebanon and what’s the role of youth in this future? Lebanese students enrolled in the technical agricultural schools of the Ministry of Agriculture debated these questions and made their voices heard in an online discussion organized by FAO Lebanon on Wednesday, June 24, 2020.
The session, moderated by FAO Representative in Lebanon, Dr. Maurice Saade, discussed the future of agriculture from the perspective of Lebanon’s youth. It was organized in the context of the commemoration of the UN 75th anniversary aimed at building a global vision for the year 2045, increasing understanding of the threats posed to that future while driving collective action to realize that vision.
During this session, around 20 Lebanese students shared their perspectives, creative ideas, and solutions for the future of agriculture in Lebanon hoping to bridge the gap between the future they need and where they are heading.
Digital technologies, access to information, job creation, automation, the role of women, and the age gap between young and old farmers, food security, and sustainable water management are all topics highlighted during this session. The current economic crisis in Lebanon and the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Lebanese economy were also raised by the students as challenges that need to be tackled in order for the agricultural sector to flourish.
Another challenge highlighted by young participants is the work of women in the agricultural sector. For Nour Mazbouh, student and participant in the session, efforts should be done to show the important role of women in agriculture.
Rawad Malaeb, a mechanical engineer who is also enrolled in the agricultural technical school, and a participant in the discussion, stressed the importance of supporting small-scale farmers. From her side, Sara Mkahal insisted on the need to increase the investment in technology in the agricultural sector. Students also shared their fears and hopes for a better future, particularly with regards to job opportunities and job creation in agriculture.
At the end of the session, Dr. Saade thanked the participants for the viable solutions and fascinating insights they shared for the future of agriculture in Lebanon, inspiring lasting change in their communities. FAO is implementing a project on “Upgrading the Technical Agriculture Education System in Lebanon”, funded by the Kingdom of Netherlands, in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture, UNICEF, ILO, and AVSI. This project works on enhancing the employability of young Lebanese and displaced Syrians and other refugees in Lebanon. It offers them the opportunity of acquiring the necessary technical skills to access improved career opportunities in agriculture and agribusiness in Lebanon or in Syria upon their return. The project also works on the efficiency of the agriculture education system in Lebanon to support more youth. This is done by improving agricultural capacity development and creating entry points into green jobs.