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Call for applications: YPARD Director

The GFRAS-YPARD joint secretariat is seeking a proactive, flexible, independent and innovative director to lead the youth network. The mission of Young Professionals for Agricultural Development (YPARD) is to serve as a global platform through which young professionals can express their ideas and realize their full potential towards sustainable food systems.

This position will be based at Czech University of Life Sciences FTA/CZU, Prague, Czech Republic, which hosts the YPARD Europe office. 

Key Responsibilities

Strategic development and operations:

  • Provide strategic direction to further development and orientation of the YPARD network and the development of a GFRAS youth portfolio
  • Coordinate at the operational level implementation of the youth agenda of the Operational Plan  2021-2025 
  • Engage in strategic networking with leading agencies or institutions in the food systems and rural development sectors
  • Represent YPARD and GFRAS youth at international processes 
  • Coordinate YPARD’s global engagement in collaborative initiatives and platforms
  • Coordinate on recruitment and annual program budget breakdown
  • Develop a process for performance appraisal across YPARD operational levels in conjunction with the SC and conduct performance appraisal of the YPARD team
  • Oversee the conduct of the members’ annual survey and feedback loop

Program and fundraising:

  • Develop a global fundraising and sustainability strategy
  • Develop and implement new global programs and support the continuation of ongoing programs such as the mentoring program
  • Identify new potential donors and partners, and lead the development and submission of fundraising proposals.
  • Guide the development of regional program planning and activities, implementation and reporting, ensuring milestones and deadlines are met
  • Connect YPARD operational levels to relevant global/partner programs 

Network Hosting Arrangements:

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When you think of a university, what is the first thing that comes to mind?

For me, I think, science, career, study programs, faculties and of course the student life. I never stop to think about the impact and activities of a higher education institution outside of the scientific/academic aspects.

I guess this was the thought of the Czech University of Life Sciences Prague (CZU), my home away from home for the past six years, as they have created the book "CZU from 77 sides", a book that highlights some of the many topics at the university in a creative, visually appealing, and light-hearted way. This inclusive, international, and multicultural institution that welcomes students from all over the world (my Nicaraguan self-included) has produced many unique results which have not only impacted the Czech Republic but also quite a lot abroad.

Developed through the collaboration of more than 100 authors from CZU, the book represents a light alternative to professional publications or simple informative magazines. It gives the general public, new incoming students, and current student like myself a quick insight into 77 key areas in which the university is working on in an easy to ready storytelling fun way.

Some of the topics covered are: the consequences of climate change, the shortage of workers in agriculture and forestry, food security, bark beetle-infested forests and sustainable solutions just to mention a few, this gives you an idea of how this creative book is spreading the word and creating awareness on the various achievements and activities of this institution like wildfire.

One of my favourite chapters in the book is “Being an entrepreneur while studying” This chapter highlights the principles of the “Finnish Team Academy®” concept/project which links the worlds of business and education. This concept offered to CZU students since 2019 as a learning by doing and team learning approach, encourages entrepreneurship at the university. During their studies, young entrepreneurs form teams in which they operate as independent companies. Students work on real projects that they search for themselves. They thereby create their own customer network with which they communicate and for which they work. Throughout three years of studies, they obtain the necessary marketing and sales skills as well as the knowledge needed to run their own business.

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Youth employment: Enabling decent agriculture and agribusiness jobs

Africa has the youngest population in the world with over 92% of the youth represented among the extremely poor (ILO, 2015a). The youth population is expected to grow at an exponentially high rate, thus bringing forth the need to create between ten to twelve million new jobs in Africa per year until 2035 to absorb the new labour market entrants (UN, 2015). The way to create employment for the youth is through agriculture. It is against this background that the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) organized a two-day workshop on the 10th and 11th May, 2017 focused on the theme: Youth Employment: enabling decent agriculture and agri-business jobs to unveil a special programme in this direction.

The workshop brought together representatives of development partners such as the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), The World Bank, New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), Institutional Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA), African Agribusiness Incubator Network (AAIN) and Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA). Also present were some active players in the private sector like: Africa Business Group and Songhai. The youth was represented by some youth networks: Young Professionals for Agricultural Development (YPARD) Concerned Africans Youth Forum (CAYF), a few young farmers’ associations, young agripreneurs, and government representatives were also present.

The discussion kicked off with the identification of opportunities in agriculture in the rural areas of Africa. These prospects exist in the areas of livestock production, crop production, agro processing, agritech, forestry, services provision and conversion of agriculture waste into useful products. It was identified that these opportunities are not being harnessed by the youth because of lack of adequate knowledge, skills, finance, infrastructure, inadequate access to technology and innovation. Different segments of youths were identified thus; rural and urban youths, educated and uneducated youths, and disabled youths, which requires different approach and strategies to address the problem of unemployment. It was also identified that there is the need to trust the youth with the necessary resources to harness the potentials of agriculture in Africa.

Deliberating on how to make the practice of agriculture more attractive to young people, a discussion was held on youth leadership in agriculture and agribusiness. This was to address the low involvement of youth in the sector resulting from the negative perception of agriculture by Sub-Saharan youth. In this session, youth professionals shared their success stories and spoke of their expectations of the government, the private sector and other stakeholders of agriculture and agribusiness.

Michael Opeyemi Ige- the Executive Director of Concerned Africans Youth Forum (CAYF), Grace Wanene and David Asiamah, the respective founders of Youth Agro-Environmental Initiative and Agro Mindset comprised the panel of youth that held the discussion. Also on the panel were Oludare Odusanya of IITA-Youth Agripreneurs, Georges Akinbode of AgriPro Focus’ Youth in Agribusiness and Kafui Kwesi Agbe, YPARD Ghana Representative.

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Attaining food sufficiency through implementable agricultural policy

From childhood, I have been hearing of policies across sectors of the economy but I found myself having  a special interest  in agriculture. Keeping abreast with the latest happenings in the agricultural sector is extremely difficult and often time not possible because of challenges with internet. I was born and raised on a farm: precisely, an agrarian community where almost everybody is involved in agriculture and only few know about agricultural policy, its discussion and implementation.

The more I grew in the agricultural space, the more I acknowledged and understood the need to have a robust policy that is workable and can be implemented to favor all actors especially smallholder farmers, youth and women.

Nigeria’s agricultural policy

Evolution has taken place severally on the agricultural policy in Nigeria but the fact remains that agriculture is a panacea for economic growth of the country, since nutrition is a must for every human as well as the industrial need.

Nigeria’s agricultural policy has changed greatly with different focus from surplus extraction, export-led production of key agricultural produce, attaining food security in the country, accessibility and affordability of inputs, agricultural modernization, strengthening of market linkages, collaborations and partnership. These are a few of the issues raised when discussing the agricultural policy.

It is no doubt that agriculture is the major employer of labour and contributor to the country’s GDP. But implementation of agricultural policies and interventions are slower than expatiated owing to changes in political wills and power.

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