By Linda Asaba
“In youth we learn, in age we understand”, Marie Von Ebner-Eschenbach
Every year, 12th August is put aside as a day to celebrate and highlight the importance and contribution of the young people towards the development agenda. This year the Theme of International Youth Day 2021 is “Transforming food systems: Youth for Innovation for human and planetary health “
To start with let us understand the term food system; this refers to all the activities along the food chain, from production, to processing, to transportation and consumption of the food. The interesting bit is that the food system touches every aspect of the human life and existence. For instance, if we have a healthy food system, we will have healthy bodies, healthy environment, healthy economies and healthy cultures. Once the food system functions well it has a positive impact on everything including our families and our relationships.
This then leads us to the question of why should we make Agriculture and the all the activities in the food system appealing to the youth? Remember Uganda has one of the youngest populations with more than 77% of the population being youth. This means that once we have the youth involved and interested in the activities along the food system, we will surely make a meaningful contribution towards ensuring that the food system is improved. Engaging the youth and encouraging them to participate in the different activities along the food system will indeed improve our economics and health in the long run. The youth have passion and zeal once they believe in a given cause.
As we wait for the policies and interventions from the government and the global partners, the starting point is for us especially the young people to change our actions and perceptions. Our mentality as youth needs to change so that we are able to embrace the policies that will be put in place as well as demand for better policies to ensure the food system is improved. Keeping in mind that a healthy food system means a healthy environment and a healthy economy which surely result into healthy bodies, minds, and families.
For instance, let us look at the activity of consumption on the food system; youth are the majority consumers of the food produced and what we as youth prefer to consume directly affects the production activity and in turn affects the food system. Yeah, I know you are wondering how?? Remember consumption is one of the activities in the food system and part of the food chain. One of the greatest challenges facing youths today is discerning what to eat and when to eat it. This is affected by both the mentality and also the resources that one has at their disposal to spend on food.
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