DSM partners with Generation Unlimited to create employment opportunities for young people in agri-food businesses
DSM, a global science-based company in nutrition, health and sustainable living, has announced a new collaboration with Generation Unlimited, a global partnership hosted by UNICEF that identifies and grows solutions to link young people with quality education, skills and on-the-job training. Together with Sight & Life, a humanitarian nutrition think tank, the partnership aims to provide opportunities for young entrepreneurs through the development of agri-food businesses, with the aim of reaching and improving the lives of an estimated one million young smallholder farmers.
Contributing to one of Generation Unlimited’s “Global Breakthroughs” – innovative ideas that have the potential to tackle challenges facing young people across the world – the partnership aims to create a longer-term vision for sustainable food systems in Africa. DSM, Sight & Life and Generation Unlimited will develop a business plan on how young people can contribute to scaling up sustainable food systems through nutrition and food businesses.
The partnership will address the need for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to access finance in order to scale up their businesses, and build the capacity of youth to find employment and entrepreneurship opportunities. Furthermore, the partnership will aim to increase demand and consumer awareness on how nutritious food can build a well-functioning food system.
“It is unacceptable that more than 820 million people are still going to bed hungry every single day and that the majority of youth employed in rural areas that are working in the informal economy are not being able to earn a living wage. We must solve this. If you realize that, at the same time, Africa has the most untapped arable land and the youngest workforce but is still importing $35 billion of food every single year, you know something has to be done. Without action, Africa will import more than $100 billion in food. While it can – and should – be self-sufficient. I’m proud that DSM, together with Generation Unlimited and Sight & Life is developing a business plan targeting to reach and improve the lives of one million smallholder farmers in the region. It’s the right thing to do”, said Fokko Wientjes, Vice President Malnutrition Programs and Partnerships, Royal DSM.
“Environmentally sustainable food systems can advance economic growth and create job opportunities for young people, all the while delivering healthy nutrition and positively impacting smallholder farmers. Generation Unlimited supports innovative breakthroughs in the green economy that provide the food industry with numerous opportunities to work with and for young people to increase their future opportunities,” said Roberto Benes, Director of Generation Unlimited.
The partnership is strongly linked to the Sustainable Development Goals – experience shows that in order to create sustainable solutions to address SDG 2 (Zero Hunger), it is crucial to also address SDG 1 (No Poverty) and SDG 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth). By focusing on these three SDGs together with partners and networks, it will be possible to make transformational changes to the food system, providing better nutrition to communities while reducing Africa’s reliance on food imports.
The partners will share insights on the topic at the Empowering Youth in Africa: Employment and Entrepreneurship in the Food Sector breakfast event in the SDG Tent at the World Economic Forum in Davos on 24 January.