Advancing youth for the truth
Blogpost by: Nimeshkumar Jitendra Gorani
This blog post emerged as one of the five winners of the YPARD/AGRINATURA/AgriSciences Platform E-Competition: SHARE YOUR STORY! for the MSc and BSc Category. The competition which was tagged your Research your Story! aimed to help students have a better sense of ownership of their research and to communicate the most important parts of their research in a creative easy to read storytelling way.
I'd like to introduce myself as Nimeshkumar, a 24-year-old who considers agriculture my culture. Farming is a great occupation that feeds the globe, in my opinion. I've always wanted to give back to my farming community; born and raised in a small farmer family in India. As a result, as an agriculture expert, I believe I should assist the farming community in achieving total sustainable growth, both personally and economically. At the moment, I am pursuing a master's degree in crop sciences at the University of Hohenheim in Stuttgart, Germany.
During my bachelor study of agriculture science in India, I attended Bayer Safe Use Ambassador Program, an excellent initiative to make farmers aware of responsible management of agrochemical throughout its use and beyond. In the program, I understood potential hazards due to the irresponsible use of agrochemicals on farmers' health and soil and water ecosystem. Then, I decided to take care of the farming community and the environment by spreading awareness of Agrochemicals' safe and responsible use. I started giving lectures and demonstrations in farmers meetings. I explained how injudicious use of pesticide residues could spread as toxins from soil ecosystem to water ecosystem and thereby, how bio-magnification of these chemical residues make delicious and nutritious food products into toxins.
I have trained more than 1200 farmers of the different geographical areas of western India. My long-term vision behind the mission is to educate and guide food growers about the safe use of agrochemicals and prevent side effects on their health and the surrounding environment. From this COVID 19 pandemic, everyone knows very well that "ultimate wealth is health. Therefore, I am pretty optimistic that young agriculture changemakers should use this pandemic event as an excellent opportunity to make the farming community aware of the hazardous side effects of these chemicals on their health if they are not being used safely. This will increase the wealth of farmers by making them more health-conscious not only towards their life but also for life on land and life below water. Eventually, this will result in the conservation of biodiversity in both soil and water ecosystem, which play a significant role in our existence through maintaining the food web, nutrient cycle and many more critical natural events. In the face of increasing global concerns like climate change, increasing population, and decreasing available agriculture resources, the biggest challenge is ensuring food security of around 10 billion people by 2050 with sustainable food production practices. Therefore, it is a time to educate young professionals and motivate them to be responsible and work together for tackling these challenges.
Recently, in order to learn and develop soft skills and expand my network, I participated in "Youth Ag Summit", which is a great platform that connects 100 young agricultural changemakers between the ages of 18 and 25 who are passionate to contribute to achieving United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs). By 2021, I got the privilege of being a part of the global Advocates (Agricultural Advocates) team out of more than 2000 applicants from 94 countries. I firmly believe that significant opportunities lie in our discussions that can be used to combine and execute unique ideas to magnify their effects synergistically. Therefore, in this summit, I am optimistically confident that the advocates would discuss the ideas individually and adopt them to merge them into their work, ultimately bringing significant transformation into society.
To conclude, empowering youth in agriculture is of utmost importance to get a sustainable workforce that will fight against agriculture challenges sustainably and ensure global food security for the next generations. However, the bitter truth is that young people are taking less interest in agriculture due to hazardous professions with more dependence on the environment and less income security. However, here, I would like to quote the thought of the father of the Indian green revolution Dr M. S. Swaminathan, "the future belongs to the world with grains, not guns; guns can be purchased, but grains cannot be purchased!" Thus, at last but not least, internationally recognised organisations, NGOs, and institutes have to collaborate and make a super union such as NGIN (NextGen Ag Impact Network) provide a suitable platform to young ambassadors and groom them to be next generation leaders for the humanity
Picture credit: Nimeshkumar Jitendra Gorani