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The contribution and importance of youth engagement in rural development

Young people have the energy, enthusiasm, and perspective to work and achieve something good and sustainable in the field of rural development.

In general in developing countries, rural youth after completing their education do not return to their homes to make an effective contribution to the development of rural areas, and communities where they live, but in most cases, they migrate to urban areas. This is because they face various obstacles such as lack of employment in rural areas, poor infrastructure, lack of prospects for their further career development, underdeveloped social life, economically weak and underdeveloped sector, various cost, inequality and exclusion, etc. But to face and solve these problems requires the commitment, support and motivation of young people to give their maximum contribution to the development of rural areas.

The engagement of young people in rural development should be one of the main goals of development policies of rural areas, and the development strategies of these areas should be based on this goal. The participation of young people in rural development should aim to help young people build their future in these areas by considering them as a multi-valued asset. This participation should be done through a creative process led by young people, which strengthens their ability to participate and lead sustainable rural development.

The involvement of young people in this development should be as practical and concrete as possible, so that young people face the reality and problems in this sector, in order to be as concrete as possible in giving their creative, innovative and sustainable solution. When young people are involved in a practical and operational level, rural development will certainly develop in a more effective and sustainable way. This would prove how useful and effective the development of this sector is for the economy as a whole and the opportunities it creates for young people and the population in general.

The importance and role of young people in the development of rural communities are very significant, because it serves as a good example for future generations in rural areas, gives hope and motivates these communities in general, also makes the development of this sector more sustainable and effective. Young people contribute to bringing improvements to infrastructure facilities and promoting empowerment opportunities among the rural youth to meet better living opportunities. They also contribute to the rise and development of social life in rural areas, making them more attractive to live. Young professionals are those who can make a very important contribution to the development of rural areas by interacting with rural youth, sharing information and their experiences in this regard. For this, it is important to develop a series of programs such as: health programs for people in rural areas, agricultural programs, community development programs in these areas, human resource development and capacity building programs, social programs dedicated to rural areas, trade and environmental protection, agro-industrial promotion etc. with youth involvement and government support.

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  • Albania
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COVID-19, lockdown and food safety

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) the global pandemic which officially started last year in China Wuhan, although they have been a lot of scandals regarding the pandemics and its origin, that is not the focus of this write-up.

According to WHO ‘’ Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses which may cause illness in animals or humans.  In humans, several coronaviruses are known to cause respiratory infections ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)’’. It is Obvious that this pandemic has affected things like movements, Jobs, Events, gatherings and so on. Above all, I will like to discuss how it has affected food safety and Security. 

I have seen a lot of questions online such as ‘’What is the risk of COVID-19 infection from food products?’’ ‘’As a food business operator, can I ask for guarantees from my suppliers regarding COVID-19?’’, and ‘’Is the agri-food industry taking measures to avoid the contamination of the food they produce or distribute?’’ to mention a few.  So has the EU commission answered all these questions for food safety? My focus in this blog piece is to elaborate a bit on the scarcity of food for the first 2 months where I live due to panic shopping.

A lot of things went wrong from February to March 2020 in terms of shopping. Many went hungry just because some people decided to clear the shop counters by over purchasing due to panic ( I was also a victim). Now after this period, some food products started appearing in the grocery stores again, a different kind of product actually, this gave people a different mindset that the food wasn’t healthy and that they were just shopping to meet their needs, but the qualities were quite poor because some were without packaging some were without label and so on. 

For food that was always available like the fresh hard bread which was always opened all year round (no packaging), and people have been buying them without thinking it was contaminated, people started taking notice and then the government made a law for those kinds of food to be well packaged and covered. Other necessary procedures were also put in place like people who work with food must wear hand gloves, use and availability of disinfectants at the entrance of every store and the practice of social distancing everywhere. 

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  • Czech Republic
  • Sharing Information and connecting people
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Welcoming YPARD Peru country representative: Marcelita Ponce de León

We are delighted to welcome the new YPARD Peru country representative, Marcelita Ponce de León.

Marcelita is a graduate with a Bachelor’s degree in Agronomic Engineering from the National Agrarian University La Molina. She began her professional career as an intern in government programs. This allowed her to have contact with different rural communities from cultures that promoted ancestral knowledge for the conservation of native cocoa species.

Upon returning to Lima, Marcelita decided to study Business Administration at the Peruvian Institute of Business Administration to complement her formation as an Agronomist. Later, she had the opportunity to be selected by the United Nations Training Program called "Youth for the SDGs". This experience gave her the opportunity to be part of the Fund for Sustainable Access to Renewable Thermal Energy that the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture was executing in rural areas. Through this, she had the opportunity to research the introduction of floral species and the use of biofertilizers produced through anaerobic processes.

Then she worked as a technical facilitator at the Institute of Development and Environment that executes a program of Canadian cooperation – SUCO – which seeks to improve the quality of life of young people in rural areas in the region of Lima. The program name is “Agrarian training program and support for youth entrepreneurship in Peru”.

In 2019, Marcelita was chosen to represent YPARD Peruvian Chapter as a fellow of the Community Solutions professional exchange program from the United States Government. This experience allowed her to be an intern at Rural Action, a non-profit organization, where she could learn and share knowledge related to the production and marketing of fresh food in Ohio. At the same time, she obtained a diploma in Community Leadership with the support of the Community Leadership Institute and George Mason University.

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  • Peru
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COVID-19's web of neglect: the case of the waste pickers

Although they have been working towards sustainability before it was trending, waste pickers remain some of the most widely excluded people on the planet. 

The result of decades of marginalising by societies is revealed very plainly during this global pandemic. But before talking about COVID-19, let’s talk about them.

Who are waste pickers?

Waste pickers are informal workers who base their livelihoods on collecting, sorting, recycling, and selling materials thrown away by others. They often work with industrial and mixed household waste including food waste, at the bottom of value chains. Otherwise, these products would go to dumps, landfills, or incineration plants. 

Their activity generates environmental and social gains due to the increase in sustainable waste management and adding support to low-income families. These workers are also known as reclaimers, recyclers, salvagers, and waste collectors in English; cartoneros, clasificadores, minadores, and recicladores in Spanish; catadores de materiais recicláveis in Brazilian Portuguese; and zabaleen in Egyptian Arabic.

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  • Brazil
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EdenWorld TweetChat with the YPARD Director

What are the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on the world’s food system? This question sets the backdrop of a recent chat with EdenWorld (EW) and Dr. Yemi Adeyeye, the YPARD Director, on the theme – roles of young professionals in achieving sustainable agri-food system in a Post COVID-19 world.

EW: What makes an agri-food system sustainable? 

Yemi: In simple terms, #AgriFoodSystem relates to all components that contribute to putting food on the table (e.g. through the works of #farmers, extension agents and advisors, researchers, marketers, logistics…). Agri-food system is #sustainable when the different components of the system function in an integrated manner and advance these 3 dimensions of sustainability: social, economic and environmental dimensions.   

EW: In your own terms who are the young professionals?

Yemi: This is a good question. Any answer I give (or anyone else gives) is open to contestation. Here is how I see it. First, being a #youth and being a #YoungProfessional (YP) are not necessarily the same thing. To define youth is to focus primarily on age classification. Being a young professional is beyond that. To define a young professional, you focus primarily on the professional history of individuals. In this sense, a youth may not be a young professional and a young professional may not necessary be a youth. Nonetheless, it is more likely for individuals in these two groups to overlap.  For example, the #UN identifies youth as individuals within age 15 – 24. A 17-year old with no professional experience will not be a YP. It is very important to understand how these two groups are characterized in term of similarities and differences. This is particularly true for policy makers and agencies with responsibilities of designing interventions that interacts in many different ways with the lives of individuals within these groups. 

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  • Italy
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On COVID-19 and food security: A Brazilian youth’s perspective

Despite being one of the biggest food producers in the world, Brazil is a country with major social inequalities, political instability and a large food-insecure population. Within this context, many are the challenges and complex issues posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In terms of food chains and urban agriculture, as we know, “the bigger the food chain the bigger the risk”, because food has to travel and pass from hand to hand before arriving at our homes. That impacts the price, the risk of infection and also the quality of the food. Besides, here in Brazil, we are blessed with tropical weather and all the characteristics that allow urban agriculture, including planting fruit trees in towns and public parks. However, we still prefer to grow ornamental plants in public spaces; they are beautiful to see, but we cannot eat them. 

The Covid-19 crisis got us thinking about several problems regarding food and agriculture. In this text I will focus on four main points that captured my attention, namely: 

  1. The necessity to “think about” food and supply chains; 
  2. Food commercialization; 
  3. Young people in the crisis; 
  4. Food chains and urban agriculture.

First, we need to reignite the discussion about food itself.

In many ways, the Covid-19 situation made many people switch off the “autopilot” (e.g. going to the market, buying food) and start to think, maybe for the first time, about the questions that a lot of researchers have been discussing: will there be food available? From where should I buy my food? How does a healthy diet look like? How will I have the means to provide for myself and my family? In this context, the urgency to talk about food security, nutritional security and human rights is clear.

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  • Brazil
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YPARD: a youth movement experience for sustainable food systems?

How do you differentiate a movement from a community? How are

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  • France
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Sustainable solution to safe vegetable market in Sri Lanka

The Covid-19 has damaged entire market dynamic of the country. So therefore, Agriculture (vegetable) market is not exceptional from this challenge. There is no risk of food safety in Sri Lanka even in the future. But problem is transporting input into farmer’s fields and bringing back their production in to market.

Most of farmers are farming by targeting Sinhala and Tamil New Year of the Sri Lanka. Total cultivation area and the production also comparatively higher than the normal season. It is nearly 30% percent from the country average. Because that huge quantity of vegetable will come to the market and will cause to reduce the vegetable price in short-term. But immediately this condition will change after the New Year and will reduce vegetable supply to the market, price will increase in the month of May. Continuity of this condition will depend on how well we are solving the current distribution issue in vegetable market.

On the basis of production extent or the capacity where we have four categories of vegetable farmers

  1. Very small farmers- less than 1 Ac
  2. Small farmers -1Ac -5Ac of land extent
  3. Medium size farmer- 5Ac -10 Ac land extent
  4. Large scale farmers- more than 10 Ac

According to the Sri Lankan scenario, more than 60% of farmers are under very small category.  Very small and small farmers are contributing more than 90% of the total. Large scale farmers might be less than 1% of total vegetable farmer population in the country.

Vegetable collection and distribution of the country completely handled by the private sector. Government intervention on collection and distribution was negligible.

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Unlocking fresh opportunities in agriculture post-COVID

Agriculture is a proven path to social and economic prosperity in Nigeria. No region of Africa has developed a diverse, modern economy without first establishing a successful foundation in agriculture. This is going to be critically true for Nigeria where, today, close to 70% of the population is involved in agriculture as smallholder farmers working on parcels of land that are, on average, less than 2 hectares.

Although Government and private sector actors are devising appropriate responses to the challenges posed by Coronavirus pandemic for Nigeria's food systems. Agriculture has always been a risky business in much of Nigeria, but the health disaster is worsening the problem. This situation threatens to reduce average crop and livestock yields, while also increasing the risks of major seasonal losses. These production shocks also have repercussions along value chains, affecting the supply and prices of foods, the viability of many SMEs, and the welfare of many poor people.

Despite all these current challenges, there lies a lot of opportunities that the post-COVID era will usher us into. The new economy will have enormous opportunities because food production has dropped and the demand is huge to meet. Emerging value chains are gaining more attention; food systems are transforming; review of policies aimed at mitigating shocks on food security and food crisis; international organizations and institutions will roll-out more agricultural programs to support farmers and sustainable agricultural activities.

To position young members of the community to leverage these needs for business success, YPARD Nigeria under the Osun State chapter organized an online seminar themed "Post Covid-19: Opportunities in the Agricultural value chain" on 29th April 2020. The seminar lead facilitator was Mr. Olawale Ojo, the YPARD Nigeria Mentorship coordinator. Olawale emphasized the necessity of food for everyone, he gave an overall analysis of the impact of COVID-19 on the agricultural sector in Nigeria. The pandemic has affected the internal movement of agricultural produce, feed, inputs and processed commodities. There has been total closure of food companies, processing sites, food markets and restaurants. This scenario has caused a price hike and difficulty of access to quality food materials.

In the course of the seminar, participants to shared highlights about how they are coping in the lockdown period. Most participants said their business and livelihoods have been disrupted with low chances of it picking up soon. The major constraints stated by the participants were the suspension of transportation and logistics services and restriction of movements which slowed down their farm operations.

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  • Nigeria
  • Promote agriculture among young people
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Youth engagement in agriculture

According to FAO, the number of young people (aged 15 to 24) is expected to increase to 1.3 billion by 2050, accounting for almost 14% of the projected global population.

As we all know, the world is now getting more advanced in terms of modernization, use of technology, new practices and much more. Agriculture is going into dim light as most youths are not really interested in low wages or low-value income but in opportunities that would fetch them quick money, they also prefer to be self-employed these days. Nevertheless, we still have youth that are interested in agriculture though they are few, youth decisions to engage in work can be influenced by their environment. 

The involvement of youths in any sector signifies strength, performance, and attracts ability. pervading fresh blood into any system makes it more productive and dynamic. Youths have the capacity and desire to introduce new innovations in the system, adjust to change, take risks whenever necessary and adopt suitable risk managing strategies. This makes the system profitable and sustainable. Many youths these days encounter various challenges such as lack of capital, lack of basic agricultural amenities which are urgent needs. 

‘Personally I am not so interested in going to work on the farm, but I believe there are a lot of ways to support agriculture without working on a farm’  yes the youth today are more into the tech world like IT and Programming, this can also be channelled into agriculture. Taking agriculture to a whole different level is my Focus, agriculture can be technology-based too just like every other sector, the only disadvantage is the manual labour, most farmers might lose their jobs, yet there is a solution.

I believe the farmers can be trained and taught how to handle basic technical tools, the youth can come in, in this aspect, by training the farmers and teaching them how to use the know-how, we have different fields of agriculture that doesn’t necessarily involve the dirty aspect of the farm ( most youths do not fancy this), yes the world is changing and everyone is getting more civilized and educated, they would rather work in an office as a customer service agent than do a dirty job at the farm, nevertheless as I mentioned earlier, there are the different focus in the Agric world, you can work as a researcher, a consultant or an agricultural analyst, yes in the office but sometimes you might need to visit the farm for data collection.

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  • Czech Republic
  • Promote agriculture among young people
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Highlights of Webinarthon: Stay home learn more

The government of Nepal initiated nationwide lockdown from March 24 as the preventive measure during the Corona Virus Outbreak. 

The duration of lockdown is uncertain as it was initially for 21 days but it’s hampering day to day activities like study, work and others. For students, it might be frustrating because the research works are directly affected but still, the lockdown was fruitful as YPARD Nepal facilitated a webinar. The webinar was jointly organized by YPARD Nepal, CliMates Nepal, IAAS Nepal and IVSA Nepal.

I happened to join this webinar from the notice published on YPARD Nepal group and I also invited many youths from different fields with the common motto of connecting to each other to learn and share knowledge. The session encompassed current affairs and its relation to different fields like veterinary, agriculture, food science and forestry by many dignified and respective personage in the respective field.

The webinar was scheduled from April 22 to April 26 followed by Q&A sessions every day. On the first day, there was an introduction to the different networks i.e. YPARD Nepal, IAAS Nepal, CliMates Nepal and IVSA Nepal along with the information on their interactions and opportunities. 

We got to know about their activities and interactions among different networks for the creation of possible opportunities and solution to different problems. Similarly, Day 2 was joined by Dr. Rebanta Kumar Bhattarai who is currently lecturing in Agriculture and Forestry University and Mr. Santosh Pokharel, an inspiring entrepreneur who runs a business in the dairy industry presented on “Impact of Corona on Animal Health and Consumption Pattern and Measures to prevent it” and “Impact of COVID-19 on Dairy Industry” respectively. 

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  • Nepal
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Call for YPARD candidate on the Global Water Partnership Steering Committee

The GWP Steering Committee, at its meeting in December 2019, decided to create a permanent independent youth seat on the Committee, thereby ensuring full information and voting rights for a strong youth perspective.

This step is unique among global water organisations and reflects the GWP’s commitment to creating space and opportunities for youth to engage in water governance and management - this is further outlined in GWP’s Youth Engagement Strategy and in GWP's overall 2020-2025 Strategy, Mobilising for a Water Secure World. The GWP is now launching a global call to identify candidates for the role. Please have a look at the Terms of Reference

YPARD has been an associated partner of the GWP through the Czech University of Lífe Sciences Prague (CZU) - YPARD Europe hosting institution - which has been an official GWP partner since November 2018. The GWP Steering Committee has asked that interested candidates must provide a Letter of support from a GWP Partner. Thus this Letter will be provided by CZU to the selected YPARD nominees. 

About the Youth Member to the GWP Steering Committee:  

Further creating space and opportunities for youth to engage in water governance and management is the overarching goal of GWP’s youth strategy (2015) and also stipulated by GWP’s new Strategy “Mobilizing for a Water Secure World”. Having invited a youth representative as an observer to Steering Committee meetings in the past years, the Steering Committee, at its meeting in December in 2019, decided to create a permanent seat for someone from the Youth committee, thereby ensuring full information and voting rights.

Requirements and what we need from you: 

  • Applicants must be active members of YPARD and have a profile which is in accordance with the GWP Terms of Reference
  • The YPARD applicants must send their resume and a short Cover Letter to Libuška Valešová, YPARD Europe coordinator at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with cc to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and the reference “GWP Youth” until May 13th, 2020.
  • YPARD will then evaluate your application and provide a nomination letter to the selected people. 
  • Applications for the Youth seat on the GWP Steering Committee must then be made through the GWP online system (same link as the Terms of Reference) by clicking "Apply for this Job" in the upper right corner.
  • All applications must be accompanied by a Resume, a Cover Letter and Letter of Support from a GWP Partner (YPARD)
  • All applications must be received no later than 20th May 2020.

Picture credit: GWP/CZU/YPARD

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  • Sweden
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Welcoming YPARD communications coordinator: Ingrid Oliveira

YPARD is delighted to welcome Ingrid Oliveira as the new Communications Coordinator. 

Ingrid is a graduate with a master’s degree in Peace and Conflict Transformation from the University of Basel, in Switzerland, and a bachelor’s in law from Universidade Federal de Sergipe, in her native country of Brazil. 

Ingrid has been working as a Communication Officer for GFRAS – Global Forum for Rural Advisory Services – since August 2018, where she also supports project design and implementation in the areas of agriculture and rural extension. As GFRAS and YPARD develop a closer partnership, she joins the YPARD ranks to support closer communication between the two networks, and combine efforts to enhance their ability to address global food security issues and work towards the SDGs.

In the field of agriculture and extension, Ingrid has worked supporting Country Fora to strengthen their capacities and better respond to the demands and needs on the ground, fighting hunger and improving livelihoods in the rural areas. She also works to enhance communication flows between all the different parts that make GFRAS a vibrant network and hopes to bring some of the same energy to YPARD.

Ingrid strongly believes innovation also happens when already existing ideas, methods, and mechanisms are shared and adapted to different local realities. Ensuring information can flow in organic and productive ways is also an effective means to support innovation. 

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  • Switzerland
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Online game changer course in sustainability

“I will breathe no matter what; the question is whether the human will breathe or not. I leave this decision up to you” – the message to Humanity from Mother Earth, commonly known as COVID-19.

Thus, what will be our choice?

That was one of the questions we discussed during our small group meetings as part of the “Game Changer Course” organized by Pachamama Alliance. A not-for-profit organization based in the United States and Ecuador that works with indigenous people of the Amazon to preserve the rainforest and their way of life. Using insights from that work, Pachamama Alliance partners with people in the modern world who are dedicated to creating an environmentally sustainable, spiritually fulfilling, socially just human presence on this planet. The Game Changer course covers 8 modules about climate change, democracy, social justice, and so on. It touches both – personal, describing qualities of game changer and principles of spiritual leadership and systemic levels by presenting different movements that currently exist and explaining how everyone can be involved in and by underlining that the actual change is possible only due to the interconnection and combined actions.

One of these movements is drawdown, the point in time when greenhouse gases peak and begin to go down on a year to year basis. The community of scientists evaluated the impact of 100 solutions to reduce CO2 emission in order to reverse global warming. They also calculated the costs and benefits of its implementation and gave an approximate time-frame. You would be really surprised what came out as the results of the top solutions towards global warming reverse and the four levels on which these solutions can be implemented. Besides, you will also find a food calculator and understand how much CO2 release costs your dinner!

The course Game Changer is interactive, it contains a lot of videos by main players of the sector and materials for reading, useful websites, links to go deeper and curious facts for your delight. Besides the updated, synthetic and valuable materials, it offers the opportunity to connect with other participants during community life-calls and weekly small group meetings. During the group gatherings, you can share your ideas, discuss topical questions and, most important, meet people from across the globe, connect with them, enrich each other and dive into this journey of change together. The life gathering gives you an idea of what projects towards a more sustainable and justice world are performed in different countries, get insights, a-ha moments, feel inspired and optimistic about the change which is possible. 

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  • United States of America
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Chiya Guff: A tea talk

“Chiya Guff with an entrepreneur” is an interactive program designed to motivate all those youths who aspire to become an entrepreneur by conveying the persistent efforts of successful entrepreneurs. 

The first episode of this program with the collaborative support of YPARD Nepal and The Entrepreneurship Club (ERC) at Institute of Engineering Purwanchal Campus on 2nd February 2020. The chief guest of the program was Er. Sameer Shakya (Deputy Head, Department of Agricultural Engineering).

The guest speakers of the program Mr. Bibek Khatiwada the-CEO and Mr.Ramesh Thapa  Marketing head of the Nebula Food Production Pvt. Ltd respectively shared the journey they walked to be an entrepreneur.

Mr. Khatiwada's life experience was a source of inspiration for the participants. His self-confidence and his vision to be a successful entrepreneur make him a visionary. He started his entrepreneurship journey after graduating from B. Tech. in Food Technology.  The Nebula Food Production Pvt. Ltd is the result of the persistent effort of Mr. Khatiwada and his team. So far Nebula has a good market share. It has successfully opened its dealers in different parts of the country. From the eastern part of the country to the west, there is a good demand for their products. 

Mr. Khatiwada says,'' If you have a vision and will power you can achieve what you want in your life. The Nebula Food Company is a result of the specific and distinctive vision, hard works, teamwork, and patience.  He further added that patience is a virtue that leads to success. He said that " Our products had low demand during the starting periods. We even faced losses. Gradually we started gaining consumer trust for our products. We are generating good profit margins too.” He explained that success is possible if you faced and overcome the complicated ordeal.

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  • Nepal
  • Promote agriculture among young people
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GFRAS - YPARD call for stories

How are the local agricultural sector and rural advisory services coping with COVID-19?

GFRAS has recently conducted a survey on what kind of COVID-19 information our constituency would like us to provide. The absolute top interest lied on understanding the impact of COVID-19 on food value chains, and possible mitigation strategies. We have also seen more than 1,000 unique hits on our COVID-19 website section which shows that this information is in clear demand. 

This is very encouraging and needs a swift response. We, therefore, suggest immediately launching a competition for relevant stories from the field on how the local agricultural sector in general and the rural advisory service, in particular, are coping with COVID-19.

This is part of GFRAS’ response to COVID-19 under LMP requested by IFAD. What we are looking for are novel stories on local solutions that enable the agricultural sector to operate under the current partial or full lock-down of society. We would especially encourage young people to share local success stories.

The competition is very straight forward and will assess those who can, within ten days, write or record the most compelling stories. Suggestions for stories are to be submitted to the regional network either as written text, preferably with pictures, as short videos, or in other ways appropriate for mass communication via a website and social media. The (sub-)regional networks will form the selection committee and will select the winners within 48 hours of the submission deadline, in order to publish and promote the stories while they are still fresh and up to date.

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  • Italy
  • Promote agriculture among young people
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Welcoming the new YPARD Steering Committee Chair: Marina Cherbonnier

We are delighted to announce Marina Cherbonnier as the newly elected YPARD Steering Committee Chair. 

Marina is an international network and community engagement specialist with extended experience in agricultural-related development. You can learn more about her on this introduction blog post published when she joined the Steering Committee last January. 

When asked about her vision as a steering committee chair and how this would mainstream into her mission, Marina shared about YPARD’s niche as an international pluri-disciplinary and multi-stakeholders network. She also talked about her key priorities as YPARD’s chair: living to YPARD’s vision and its community work while continuously learning and adapting to changing realities and ensuring the sustainability of the network. She stressed that in a time of covid19 and climate crisis, and even more in the time that will follow, YPARD’s international network of young professionals for sustainable food systems and the way it works is what the world needs!

Here is what Marina said:

“Reviving YPARD’s essence and potential as an international community and network is crucial. What it means is that beyond sprouting amazing yet ad-hoc projects in different corners of the world, we will focus on our niche: making sure that the dots – young people, information, partners, projects – are connected, across disciplines, countries and regions of the world and that collective efforts at different levels are maximized, to meet our common vision.

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  • France
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Welcoming a new YPARD Steering Committee member: Jorrit Kiewik

We are delighted to welcome a new steering committee member: Jorrit Kiewik.

Jorrit Kiewik is the newest add-on to the YPARD Steering Committee team. Jorrit is a graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Entrepreneurship and is finalizing his master’s program in Communication, Health & Life Sciences at Wageningen University.

Jorrit has been working as the director of Slow Food Youth Network (SFYN) in The Netherlands for four years, prior to founding the SFYN Global Office. As the executive director, he is leading the team coordinating approximately 250 communities around the world. Jorrit grew up on a small-scale dairy farm in the eastern part of The Netherlands, which he and his family are currently is developing into a future proof farm with a closed circular system and focus on plant-based proteins. 

Previously he has been working for Het Portaal, a communication office working on sustainable communities, where he was community manager of “The Milk Story” an on- and offline platform targeted at the enhancement of sustainability within the dairy sector. With “The Milk Story”, Jorrit and his team won the Digital Communication Awards for ‘Best Blog 2015-2016’.

At the account of joining YPARD as an SC member, this is what Jorrit had to say;

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  • Netherlands
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Food: A universal friend

In my perspective, food is not just about quenching hunger pangs or the act of barely consuming crop and animal products. It spreads across other aspects of food that defines us as human beings rather than just viewing food as a means of survival.

The melody that food transmits to me represents culture, traditions and above all love. No matter what part of this globe you come from, you are bound to have a totally unique experience into the culture of another country through food. A case in point is the growing popularity of the Nigerian jollof rice.

One of the fond memories we cherish so much are family meals, and the cohesion it brought among loved ones. Food conveys symbolic value during life events such as marriage festivities, recreational hangouts, societal occasions and family celebrations.

A basic necessity that permeates our affective and psychomotor systems is what we consume. We are assertive with the kinds of food we choose to eat since this reflects our personal identity, cultural orientation and respect for religious or health considerations.

The standard of food that children receive is determined by what their parents or caregivers offer them. Adults are more responsible for their food preferences since they determine what they eat and share to family members, friends or even strangers. Quality food is one of the essentials of human life aside regular exercise, sound sleep and peace of mind. Good food improves intelligence, boosts our immunity, supply with us strength and nourish our bodies.

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GFRAS and YPARD: The dawn of a strategic alliance

There is no question the current global food system is under ever-growing pressure which means meeting the foundation SDGs - SDG 1 and 2 on poverty and hunger - are challenged. YPARD and GFRAS believe that combining efforts can yield better results.

Pressure in the global food systems can be linked to a multitude of factors: the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, increasing strains on water and land use, loss of biodiversity, accelerating changing climate, rapidly spreading pests and more, have made farmers’ lives increasingly insecure and challenging. 

We can’t fix it with research alone as there is a wide gap between agricultural research produced and what reaches the end-user. The missing link is not so much ‘lack of technologies’ as it is the ‘lack of ability to get knowledge technologies to the users in a useful and affordable format’. Increased investment in innovations in extension and rural advisory services seems to be an appropriate answer to this challenge.

Today, around 85% of youth live in developing countries, places where agriculture is still the backbone of the economy, the largest employer and the main source of income for a majority of poor people. The picture is changing, rapid urbanisation leads to a decline in the rural population, especially with young people moving to cities in order to seek jobs and better livelihood opportunities. 

While most young people in a developing country desire to find occupation outside farming, there are still significant numbers of highly dedicated young people that need support in their pursuit for an agriculture-based livelihood, with its many, often unseen avenues. 

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