Challenges of Youth Involvement in Sustainable Food Systems: Lessons Learned from the Case of Farmers’ Value Network Embeddedness in Ugandan Multi-stakeholder Platforms

  • Carlos L. Barzola
  • Domenico DentoniEmail author
  • Francesca Allievi
  • Twan van der Slikke
  • Prossy Isubikalu
  • Judith Beatrice Auma Oduol
  • S. W. F. Onno Omta


This chapter aims at investigating which are the persisting challenges faced by youth when playing a role in shaping a more sustainable food system. To do so, it presents evidence from a case study set in Ugandan coffee multi-statakeholder platforms (MSPs), which offers a local, contextualized perspective to this global issue. Building upon the notion of value networks, we analyse how younger farmers’ embeddedness in value networks relates to their potential to innovate towards more sustainable food systems. Empirical findings first highlight that younger farmers have significantly lower dimensions of value network embeddedness relative to older ones. Second, related to the limited value network embeddedness in a vicious circle, they own smaller farms in more remote areas from the markets and there engage less in collective action than older farmers. Third, their limited value network embeddedness directly constraints their innovation potential. These findings suggest that, in the context of MSPs, specific measures for youth inclusion and inclusiveness are necessary to embed younger farmers in value network and more effectively address their innovation constraints. In interplay with other empirical evidence from the literature, this case from Uganda highlights youth’s untapped potential in achieving many SDGs, including SDG 17, which targets the development of global partnerships for sustainable development, and SDG 11, which aims at the sustainability of human settlements.


Youth in agriculture Value networks Uganda Coffee Multi-stakeholder platforms 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carlos L. Barzola
    • 1
  • Domenico Dentoni
    • 1
    Email author
  • Francesca Allievi
    • 2
  • Twan van der Slikke
    • 1
  • Prossy Isubikalu
    • 3
  • Judith Beatrice Auma Oduol
    • 4
  • S. W. F. Onno Omta
    • 1
  1. 1.Business Management & Organization GroupWageningen University & ResearchWageningenNetherlands
  2. 2.Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition and JAMK University of Applied SciencesJyväskyläFinland
  3. 3.Makerere UniversityKampalaUganda
  4. 4.World Agroforestry Center (ICRAF)NairobiKenya

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