Global Programs

The countryside is calling – young entrepreneurs are reshaping the narrative of rural life

Jose Brito Madera wearing a trademark hat of his personal brand AgroLife. José serves as an inspiration for local youth while giving courses in pig production and farm ownership.

With more young people than ever leaving their rural homes for jobs or educational opportunities in urban centers, the story of three young farmers stands out as a testament to resilience and commitment to their agricultural heritage. 

During a training event organized by NCBA CLUSA’s U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded Resilient Agriculture Activity (RAA) in Barahona, Dominican Republic, Jose Brito Madera, a veterinarian and technician, commanded the attention of a room packed with 97 older-generation farmers. Despite being just 27 years old, Jose held sway over the audience, showcasing his proficiency in social media and modern farming techniques.

Dubbed @agroliferd on platforms like Instagram, Jose boasts an impressive following of 384K, making him a coveted resource for his peers and a valuable asset for RAA’s producer organizations (POs), who are keen on tapping into his insights. With a lineage spanning four generations of farmers, Jose’s upbringing in the countryside, amidst livestock and natural landscapes, fostered his deep-rooted passion for agriculture and rural life. 

According to the Dominican Republic’s 2010 census, more than 40 percent of internal migrants are youth between 15 and 29, marking a demographic shift with profound implications for rural populations. As more people choose to leave their rural homes in search of new opportunities, those whose livelihoods are tied to agriculture are left particularly vulnerable to the pressures of migration. Luckily, just like Jose, RAA supports young farmers who have decided to stay in their communities and continue their agricultural pursuits.  

Mauricio Acevedo, another young community leader who is a member of Cooperativa Agropecuaria y De Servicios Múltiples Las Charcas De Maria Nova (COOPMARIANOVA), has seen many young people leave town in search of employment and education, leaving behind a void. Mauricio understands the allure—he traveled back and forth to the U.S. for a while himself. But since joining Las Charcas De María Nova, he has worked tirelessly to create opportunities and change the mindset of young people in his community.

Mauricio identified the lack of employment as one of the main reasons why young people leave and has worked to implement training programs aimed at the younger members of the town, in collaboration with local government and international organizations including the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations and Superáte. These programs offer courses in entrepreneurship, secretarial and other skills in demand in the labor market, which equip youth with the necessary tools to pursue opportunities in their communities and contribute to local economic development.  

Mauricio has also promoted sports and cultural activities, such as basketball and baseball tournaments, to strengthen young people’s sense of belonging and emotional connection to their neighborhood. In addition, he highlighted the importance of educating young people about agriculture and the potential of ecotourism in the area. That is why Mauricio has used digital platforms such as TikTok to create educational content on farming and entrepreneurship techniques. Like Jose, who leverages the power behind social media platforms, Mauricio’s content has inspired many of his peers to consider agriculture as a viable employment option and to develop an entrepreneurial mindset. 

Mauricio Acevedo during RAA’s third Training during a Water Harvesting practice. Participants learned how to set up a replicable rainfall water capture system with accessible low-cost materials.


“Our youth possess extreme potential. It’s not just about keeping them here but helping them turn into leaders who help grow our district.”
– Mauricio Acevedo


Jose is eager to develop that mindset among young people. “[Youth] don’t see the opportunities the countryside offers for them. …in the countryside, you can have great success, but it takes a little bit more time. Things don’t happen from night to day,” he said. In a world where you can order anything from your cell phone and have access to it by the end of the day, it is no surprise this generation finds the allure of the urban lifestyle appealing. Parents tend to think that in a world where technological convenience touches all aspects of our lives, traditional jobs such as farming have no relevance or opportunities to grow. Jose touches on this notion when he describes one of his biggest challenges, which was how to convince his father and other family members that he wasn’t wasting his time. “It took time. Because I had to understand that for them a telephone wasn’t the same to them that it was for me—that I grew up with it in my hand.”

The RAA Gender Equity and Social Inclusion (GESI) report indicates that a significant number of parents discourage their children from working on the farm, motivating them to seek other opportunities. Older generations, despite being left to navigate the consequences of youth migration, still support their departure to urban centers. However, examples like Dawel Ramírez, whose parents have supported him in embracing his agricultural heritage, show the importance of not squandering a legacy—or a sustainable, always-needed livelihood. 

Dawel, a 23-year-old member of Cooperativa Agropecuaria y Servicios Múltiples De Técnicos y Productores Agropecuarios (COOPNATURA), is an agronomy student and formerly the youngest extension agent for RAA. Through a blend of academic pursuits and hands-on experience in the field, Dawel is setting himself up for success. His proactive approach to professional development is evident in his participation in training programs ranging from Nursery Establishment and Management to Organic Input Production. These programs have not only broadened his knowledge, but have also honed his practical skills.  

His newfound expertise has directly impacted his family’s livelihood, as he now plays a pivotal role in assisting his father with agricultural endeavors. By leveraging his skills and knowledge, Dawel has become an invaluable asset in the family’s agricultural pursuits, fostering a sense of continuity in their generational legacy. 

Thanks to the efforts of Jose, Mauricio, Dawel and other young community leaders, the allure of urban living is giving way to another mindset—one that embraces family roots and champions countryside living. The commitment to fostering entrepreneurship and innovation among young people is essential to promote progress and ensure the inclusion of young people in local agricultural activity. Jose, Mauricio and Dawel are all examples of how young people can transform their communities and empower other youth to build a prosperous future on their land. As Jose said, “There are no limits in the countryside, only opportunities. Here you sow your passion, cultivate your dream, and reap a prosperous future.” 

“There are no limits in the countryside, only opportunities. Here you sow your passion, cultivate your dream, and reap a prosperous future.”
Jose Brito Madera

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