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Entrepreneurship and gender-balanced involvement

Who is an entrepreneur? An entrepreneur is an individual who creates a new business, bearing most of the risks and enjoying most of the rewards.

Economists have never had a consistent definition of "entrepreneur" or "entrepreneurship" (the word "entrepreneur" comes from the French verb entreprendre, meaning "to undertake"). Though the concept of an entrepreneur existed and was known for centuries, the classical and neoclassical economists left entrepreneurs out of their formal models:

As we all know Gender inequality is part of the world’s sustainable development goals, as years go by the goal is becoming achievable as women are now been recognized, respected and treated equally in the social world. Women tend to balance their economic goals with their other goals such as helping others, contributing to society, or their personal enjoyment, that is why we become a threat to the community because the World fears that it would be taken over by women someday.

In the business world such as entrepreneurship, Normally there shouldn’t be any form our gender biases because a business can be owned by any gender, but yet women as seen as weak and unfit to function because, in the African perceptive, their place is in the house taking care of the kids and their husbands which is wrong because an average woman can handle her career and still run her home, yes we are that strong. 

Even though 50% of the world population is women we still do not owe up to 50% recognition wherever we find ourselves. Women go through a lot of harassment at work, at school, social events and so on. Men are more likely to see themselves capable of being an entrepreneur than a woman, phenomenon beginning with teen boys and girls. There is a great deal of research indicating female entrepreneurs still face prejudices and barriers due to gender and stereotype threat, which can cause women to have a lower entrepreneurial propensity than men. Further, a lack of women role models has been identified as a barrier for women who want to pursue careers that have been nontraditional for women and it is clear that enhancing the presence of role models will play an important part in encouraging female entrepreneurs.

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  • Czech Republic
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Digital forum: Sharing the YPARD perspective

We are proud to announce to the Young Professionals for Agricultural Development (YPARD) community that Laureene Reeves Ndagire, a member of YPARD Uganda has been listed as one of the speakers for the IFOAM – Organics International and the Global Landscapes Forum (GLF)’s Digital Forum: Food without Farmers.

Laureene is an eminent young professional in agriculture who has a deep understanding of both the rural and urban farming terrain. As a young farmer from Kayunga- Uganda, her name is synonymous to Farm Connect - a subscription-based share scheme of which she is the founder. Through this scheme, fresh fruits and vegetables are sourced from urban gardens and smallholder farmers and distributed to consumers within Kampala on a regular basis. She is currently working with 50 farmers who grow fresh vegetables, herbs, pineapples, pawpaw, bananas and other African indigenous vegetables.

Laureene holds a BA (Hons.) in Organizations, Work and Technology (OWT) and a Master's degree in Human Resources and Knowledge Management from the Lancaster University Management School (UK). Her experience in the agricultural sector presents her as an expert in agricultural markets, prices and value chain analysis. She is well known as an advocate for gender-inclusive value chain innovation platforms. By her active involvement in Agricultural and Rural Development Programs, Laureene has distinguished herself as a source of inspiration to many youths- particularly within the YPARD community.

About the digital forum: Food without Farmers

In the context of tackling the world’s current unsustainable agricultural model, the digital forum will discuss the perceived implications of the trend toward lab-grown food on smallholder farmers. The forum’s discussions will encompass sustainable food systems; incentivization for farmers; reducing the impact of unsustainable agriculture on biodiversity and livelihoods; how to equip farmers with the skills and knowledge they want and need, among others.

We would like to encourage you to register to participate in this interesting digital forum which comes off on 23rd April 2020 from 13:00 to 15:00 CEST. Follow this link to register.

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  • Uganda
  • Sharing Information and connecting people
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Rwandan agriculture: Is science the lasting panacea?

On 4th February 2020, the Young Professionals in Agriculture Development (YPARD Rwanda) in partnership with Alliance for Science Rwanda completed a one-day field learning experience.

This took place in Kigali- in Southern Province, Muhanga District in Shyogwe sector. The aim of this field learning experience was to help 30 young professionals in agriculture to understand the potential of science in changing agriculture's context from subsistence farming to commercial farming.

Among the attendees were agripreneurs, food and nutritionists, farmers, environmentalists, biotechnologists, graduates in science, researchers as well as science journalists among others. The participants were privileged to have among them the representatives from Rwanda Agriculture and Animals Resources Board (RAB)- a government body in charge of research and extension services, Youth Engagement in Agriculture Network-Rwanda (YEAN) and Rwanda Youth in Agribusiness Forum (RYAF).

The field learning experience started with a field tour to one of the successful youth-led agricultural enterprise known as Carl Group, which adds value to orange freshen sweet potatoes and transform it into pro-vitamin A bread and biscuits.

Regis Mugireneza, co-founder of Carl Group said that there are many opportunities in agriculture and young people can make a difference in case they are committed and thirst to transform their livelihoods.

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  • Rwanda
  • Promote agriculture among young people
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Biofertilizer: An entrepreneurial exploration

I dreamt of becoming an entrepreneur when I got admitted to the undergraduate level at the University of Rajshahi

Currently, I am undergoing my master’s studies in Horticulture at Sher-e-Bangla Agricultural University. My farm is located in Mirpur, Kushtia, in the South-Western zone of Bangladesh. The journey of my Entrepreneurship started in 2016. I wanted to become an entrepreneur since childhood. One of my grandfathers completed his graduation from Bangladesh Agricultural University. He became an entrepreneur by doing poultry farming. Seeing his success in poultry farming, I dreamt of becoming an agri-entrepreneur from my childhood.

During my undergraduate program, I resided in a hall of the University of Rajshahi. When the hall cleaning operative would not come over the weekend (Friday and Saturday), the waste produced a bad smell. This odour was irritating to the hall residents. So, one day an idea crossed into my mind. I thought that I could recycle these waste materials. I started to develop my innovative approach. Finally, I came up with three thoughts: i) Producing compost, ii) Making neem pesticide/ bio-pesticide and iii) Recycling polythene. 

I have started executing my plans at first by preparing compost at my farm premises in that year. I collected all types of wastage like kitchen wastage, excess and spoiled food, dust, etc. up to one month. Then I watered that when necessary and after some days I rearrange the compile. And within five months, it resulted in a valuable compost. After sometimes, I focused on biogas production and polythene recycling.

Our main problem is the excess use of chemical pesticides, which is the main culprit for our health-hazard. So, I decided to produce a pure neem pesticide. While preparing neem pesticide, I use neem leaf and many other bitter-tasting leaves and also garlic extract as ingredients. Farmers are quite satisfied by applying my produced neem pesticide.

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  • Bangladesh
  • Sharing Information and connecting people
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Of water, agroecology and the youth

Water is a resource of high demand used in agriculture and livestock, food washing, manufacturing and production industries, cleaning of structures, personal hygiene, etc. 

Water is a crucial resource for all human activities. Even though the importance of water cannot be overemphasized, it has been constantly polluted and the quality of such a valuable resource has been gradually disintegrated.

The industrial and agricultural sector, in many cases, uses the water bodies as a space for discharging waste from their activities. This waste constantly inoculates enormous quantities of chemical particles with a high load of polluting materials, such as nitrates, phosphates and pesticides. According to the report - water pollution from agriculture: a global review - agriculture along with animal husbandry represents one of the largest sectors using water resource. Two-thirds of the water used by humans is for agricultural purposes.

Wastewater is a major environmental problem. It irrationally contaminates ecosystems, drastically affects biodiversity (fauna and flora) including humans beings. The consequences of harmful policies and methods of exploration, inadequate governance, are often the main causes of decreasing the status of such a resource. This is a complex and multidimensional challenge.

According to the United Nations, more than 80 per cent of the world’s wastewater flows back into the environment without being treated. In some least-develop countries, this number exceeds 95 per cent. In the United States, for example, agricultural activities and livestock considered as the major source of contamination of rivers, streams, wetlands, lakes and groundwater.

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  • Italy
  • Promote agriculture among young people
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Communication for effective youth inclusion

Pius Hiwe, Youth-Leader Communications Champion, Young Professionals for Agricultural Development (YPARD), speaks about communication for effective youth inclusion at the SIANI Annual Meeting 2020 held in Sweden.

You can now watch the video and read the presentation script in a chronological sequence.

First slide

What does the communications officer of a youth network with over 18,000 registered young professionals in 70 countries across the globe have to say about: 

Youth communication and networking? 

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  • Sweden
  • Sharing Information and connecting people
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Agriculture of the future

The agricultural sector is facing a number of new issues that have come to life in the past decades. 

Our climate is changing, soils are eroding, the available production area is shrinking. We have to produce increasingly more ‘beautiful’ produce to meet consumer’s expectations without using crop protection compounds, and we have to adapt to a changing food pattern. How do we deal with this? 

Rise of precision agriculture.

The solution is innovation. Farmers have had to change their management strategy or be competed out of the market. A modern-day farmer is an entrepreneur, who has to keep learning and keep improving his business. This approach leads to the development of Precision Agriculture (PA). 

This is a production management strategy that is often discussed in complex terms, but in essence, is very simple: PA is the use of knowledge and technology to better distribute available resources. Its core principle is to apply the right input at the right place at the right time. 

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  • Belgium
  • Sharing Information and connecting people
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Climate change, the dying world

Climate change is a reality that is happening now, and that we can see its impact across the world.

Climate change is a very hot and trendy topic in the world now, but most people don’t even know the causes and effects on the environment. What do you think about when you hear climate change? Did anyone ever wonder why there is so much instability in the world’s weather recently? For me, personally, I have seen a lot of changes in the weather in the last few years which has become so scary but before I go too deep into my perspectives, I will like to explain what climate change is - at least as I see it. 

Climate change is any significant long-term change in the expected patterns of average weather of a region (or the whole Earth) over a significant period of time. Climate change is about abnormal variations to the climate and the effects of these variations on other parts of the Earth. While this temperature increase is more specifically referred to as global warming, climate change is the term currently favoured by science communicators, as it explicitly includes not only Earth's increasing global average temperature, but also the climate effects caused by this increase.

Climate change is a reality that is happening now, and that we can see its impact across the world. During the last few years, we humans have done more harm than good to the environment by releasing a large amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. Climate change is impacting human lives and health in a variety of ways. It threatens the essential ingredients of good health - clean air, safe drinking water, nutritious food supply, and safe shelter - and has the potential to undermine decades of progress in global health.

According to the World Health Organization, between 2030 and 2050, climate change is expected to cause approximately 250 000 additional deaths per year, from malnutrition, malaria, diarrhoea and heat stress alone. The direct damage costs to health are estimated to be between USD 2-4 billion per year by 2030. Let’s take the Australia bush fire incident for example, this reflects previous predictions of Australian science. Since 2008 and as recently as 2018, scientific bodies have warned that climate change will exacerbate existing conditions for fires and other climatic disasters in Australia. What used to be once-in-a-generation fires now re-appear within 10–15 years with increased ferocity, over longer seasons.

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  • Nigeria
  • Sharing Information and connecting people
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YPARD partage son expérience dans l'accompagnement des jeunes du secteur agropastoral

Le Laboratoire de Terrain (LT) est un espace et un évènement en même temps, ou? différentes parties prenantes (équipes techniques des projets, jeunes ruraux, champions locaux et partenaires) se rencontrent, pour finaliser la conception de leur propre pilote pour tester les outils qui pourraient leur permettre d’améliorer leur impact sur les jeunes ruraux.

Organisé du 28 au 31 janvier 2020 à Kribi au Cameroun, ce laboratoire de terrain avait pour but de modéliser le business Coaching comme outil performant d’accompagnement des jeunes entrepreneurs agro-pastoraux».

Ce laboratoire de terrain intervient dans le cadre du projet Youth-Tools financé par le Fonds International pour le Développement Agricole (FIDA) et développé en partenariat entre PROCASUR et le PEA-jeunes au Cameroun.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/ypardcameroon/permalink/1736436496480403/

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Welcoming YPARD Eswatini Representative: Gcina Dlamini

YPARD is delighted to welcome Gcina Dlamini as the Country Representative of YPARD Eswatini.

Gcina holds a BSc in Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness Management from the University of Swaziland, a Certificate in Business and Entrepreneurship from UNISA, a certificate in Business and Entrepreneurship Development from Oklahoma State University and a Certificate in Leadership Change from Cambridge University. He is also a 2018 Mandela Washington Fellow. Gcina is also the co-founder and Managing Director of Smiling Through Investments (STIN) - an Agribusiness company that specializes in the legume seed business and bean value addition. Of late STIN has diversified into vegetable production which includes; lettuce, beetroot, green paper, carrot, butternut, sweet potatoes, strawberries. Under the able leadership of Gcina; STIN pioneered the first annual National Agribusiness Fair and School Festival in eSwatini; formerly Swaziland in 2015. With this initiative, about 500 young people familiarized themselves with numerous opportunities available through agribusiness and agri-prenuership.

Gcina is passionate about agribusiness because he strongly believes it provides a sustainable and scalable solution to food insecurity on the African continent. Gcina and friends founded STIN in 2013 as University students seeking to overcome challenges associated with growing unemployment in his country and to encourage young people to become wealth and job creators. STIN has gone on to win numerous awards and grants including the Coca Cola Kickstart grant of 20,000USD in 2016. Gcina and his team used the grant to set up Swaziland’s first seed processing plant; creating numerous job opportunities in the process. STIN has also been represented in high-level conferences such as the CCARDESA Youth in Agriculture Summit, held in Durban in August 2015. In 2018; STIN was among the select youth-led organizations that pitched their project ideas at Pitch Palace Commonwealth in London, April.

In 2017, Gcina and his business partners established Ignite Young Processionals – a peer to peer mentoring and coaching program designed for young people passionate about agriculture and agribusiness. Gcina uses this space to talk about his experience as an emerging successful agriprenuer. Gcina says by telling their story; Agriprenuer has helped many young people start their own businesses and have also challenged often unquestioned narratives that one has to study; graduate and become an employee. They have since redesigned and restructured Ignite Young Professionals to make the mentorship program more impact and scalable. For example, their mentoring program accepts only six project finalists from the University who then undergo a six weeks intensive mentorship program.

Gcina says his participation in the YALI BED training remains both a great and life-changing experience. It helped him continue to set high business goals for himself and gave him the determination to lead his company better and more profitably. His participation in the YALI training also opened many opportunities for him both at home and internationally. For example; in 2018; Gcina was selected a Mandela Washington Fellow in the US. He was also part of the Queens Young Leaders Program at Cambridge University in the same year.

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  • Swaziland
  • Promote agriculture among young people
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Call for applicants - YPARD Austria country representative

YPARD Austria is seeking a young, innovative and fresh spirited professional to take on the role of a Country Representative (CR) and continue its work on youth in agriculture!

Being a CR is a unique opportunity for you to be more active with fellow young professionals in agricultural and related fields in Austria as well as with the global YPARD network.

Application Deadline: March 31st, 2020

As a country representative and in collaboration with a core group, you will have the chance to:

  • Create and coordinate activities that will allow you to work toward improving young people's perception of agriculture in Austria.
  • Help Young Professionals (YP’s) reach their full potential in agricultural development by being the voice of YPARD and representing the Austrian members of the community at a national and global scale.
  • Work on youth-related issues in agricultural development in Austria and link these efforts with regional initiatives.
  • Network and maintain relationships or partnerships with stakeholders and other youth organizations in the agricultural and allied sectors.
  • Have a great asset for your CV as YPARD is supported by GFAR, FAO, and many other partner organizations.
  • Connect and get to know other CR’s and YP’s - not just at the European level but also globally.
  • Have a link with YPARD partners (see the list of partners HERE).
  • Contribute to agricultural development in Europe.
  • Travel on behalf of YPARD.

Your assets

  • Willing to work on a volunteer basis (no remuneration available) other than support for your activities and participation at events
  • Between the age of 18 and not over 36-38 years
  • Ideally based in Austria, we strongly prefer people who have a link to the country, based in the country for long term or originally comes from the country (but still has a link with it)
  • Familiar with youth and agricultural development issues
  • Strong management, coordination and communication skills
  • Self-motivated and assertive with a results orientation

This is a voluntary position that will not interfere with your day to day activities. You will have full support from the YPARD Europe team in Prague (Stacy Hammond as the European Communications Officer and Libuška Valešová as the YPARD Europe coordinator).
Interested applicants are encouraged to send a one-page motivation letter and CV to 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 “YPARD Country Representative” until March 31st, 2020. If you have any questions, please contact us at the same e-mail address. We are looking forward to your application!

Picture credit: YPARD

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  • Austria
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Agriculture is not just food but the world around us - 2020 GFFA

The Global Forum for Food and Agriculture (GFFA) 2020, was held from 16 - 18.01.2020. under the title and focuses on Food for all! Trade for secure, diverse and sustainable nutrition.

“Agriculture is not just food but the world around us” I heard this phrase during my participation in GFFA 2020.

This Forum was organized and hosted by the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) in cooperation with the Berlin Senate and the GFFA Berlin e.V.

The Forum was a great opportunity for civil society representatives, for businesses and world political representatives, to exchange ideas, experiences and good examples, to increase understanding and cooperation between countries around the world, on the topics of current agricultural policy and addressing common challenges in the context of food security around the world.

At this Forum it was discussed how to develop trade internationally in a sustainable way, and beneficial to all, in order to provide safe and diversified food for all. How to find sustainable and innovative ways to produce food for everyone but at the same time protecting the environment.

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  • Albania
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Expanding horizons and knowledge sharing - my Fulbright experience

Fulbright has been operating as a successful program for many decades, it may sound familiar to many, worldwide. In this blog post, I share my personal experiences with the YPARD community, in the hope that some of you will be encouraged to apply. 

January 15, 2019 became a memorable day for me, because I received the email, beginning with the following sentence: “Congratulations! On behalf of the Fulbright Commission, I am pleased to inform you that you have been selected for a Fulbright Research Award…”.  After some rounds of selection and a personal interview, I was nominated to spend four months at Ohio State University in the Fall semester of 2019. 

The program was brought into life by Senator J. William Fulbright in 1946. The government of the United States supports exchange programs of foreign and US participants in many areas, including the sciences, arts, public service, government and business. The exchange visits aim to increase the mutual understanding between the people of the US and other countries.

With this scholarship, I got the chance to work together for a few months with one of the most prominent group of process system engineers at Ohio State University, which provided a unique professional experience.  

Process Systems Engineering (PSE) is not a commonly known term, so let me introduce it and especially its connection to agriculture and environment, shortly. Methods and tools of this field were originally developed and applied for the design and operation of traditional industrial processes. However, thinking about the rapid development of precision agriculture, it is obvious that these processes require also comprehensive engineering design and operation. Affordable sensors, cameras, etc. provide a huge amount of data, and their interpretation and utilization could support efficient and more sustainable production. However, the decisions about the development of agriculture, integrated with the ecosystem, need also the consideration of the material balances of the complex processes. It is the point, when the traditional and recently developed and proved methods and tools of PSE can be adopted and applied, effectively. Nevertheless, the application doesn’t stop here. Environmental processes (connecting soil, water and atmosphere with agriculture) also need a cleaner and more sustainable solutions (e.g. rational use of fertilizers to protect watershed areas). 

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  • Hungary
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2020 – The year of same goals but different approach

The last two years were very substantial for YPARD Serbia!

We put our feet on the ground, we spread the word on who we are and what we do and we made some friends and partners along the way. We are very proud of our position now and with the position of young farmers in Serbia.

The number of young farmers in the country is spreading, there is currently three YF association, the government is more present in issues of YF and there are more subsidies that the youth can use in agriculture. The problems are concretized and step by step we are reaching our goal and making circumstances better for the young to make living through agriculture. 

That's why I started to think about what kind of different approach YPARD Serbia can take to further contribute. What can we do to share a better image of agriculture among the youth? What can we do to show others that agriculture can be a solution for job and life?

Agriculture doesn't necessarily need to have just an economic side, but social as well. People living in villages are closer to each other and neighbours. Living on a farm makes you more prudent and thoughtful about food growing, nature and how your action can affect others around you. Let's say that farm life can give you physical and mental health, make you more compassionate and careful about the nature around you and human relationships. In other words, village life and agriculture make you a family-oriented person.

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  • Serbia
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YPARD Africa’s Diary

Reflecting on the year 2019, it is worth noting that the year came with great a pack of diverse experiences for members of the Young Professionals for Agricultural Development (YPARD) in Africa. As the curtain has been drawn on the year 2019, a walk down memory lane gives a clear picture of the goings-on in YPARD Africa upon which the prospects of the new year will be built.

New team members

In the past year, YPARD Africa introduced Phidel Haizel as the new Country Representative of YPARD Kenya. Haddy Cessay and Borice Efoua Aba’a were also introduced at the country representatives of the newly established chapters in Gambia and Gabon respectively.

The movement also welcomed Nelson Owoicho and Habimana Jean Claude as Communications Focal Persons for YPARD Nigeria and YPARD Rwanda respectively. This was in a bid to sustain cross-sectional relationships with our partners in both private and public sectors to give youth in their countries a stronger platform to promote agro-innovations and influence agricultural policy planning and implementation.

Youth as agents of technology adoption

60 youth from 20 African countries were selected through an essay competition to participate in the Continental Youth Workshop. This workshop was convened by the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) in collaboration with YPARD at FARA’s secretariat in Accra, Ghana in May 2019. The submissions made to the essay competition reflected the experiences that competitors amassed as a beneficiary of initiatives involving diverse agricultural institution in their respective countries or region. The workshop was in the context of FARA’s role as the Capacity Development and Technology Outreach Enabler Compact of the Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT), a program funded by the African Development Bank. The workshop was part of actions to initiate the development of a set of guidelines on strategic engagement and capacity development of youth, focused on agripreneurship and scaling of technologies for increased productivity. This was to strategically position youth themselves as problem solvers.

Considering agripreneurship development and the scaling of technologies for increased productivity, the youth participants organised the thematics for youth engagement under four clusters as follows: Application of science; Development of individual agripreneurship skills; Development of collective agripreneurship skills; Youth-led engagement initiatives. In the long run, the young participants were equipped with knowledge on their unique proposition to information platforms to better position them within the innovation platforms (IPs) as they further develop their skills. (Read more about this workshop at these links: 1; 2; 3; 4; 5 )

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  • Ghana
  • Access to resources and capacity building
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Welcome to 2020: Re-evaluate, renew and realign

It is the year 2020! Happy new year!

For YPARD, all hands are already on deck. Many young professionals are already back to the grind. It is an opportunity to start strong with increased potentials for better returns, as the new year transitions from days of public merriments and vacations to periods of evaluation - “what progress have I made this year?”  

Based on this maxim, “be real and adjust your strategy according to honest results”, popularized by Charles Colton, the YPARD GCU looked back into 2019. 
Some notable results of 2019 are:

We also faced some limitations in 2019, especially as it relates to managing YPARD GCU’s integration in the FAO’s institutional space while seeking operational autonomy remains a challenge. 

For the purpose of being real and based on the results of 2019, the GCU will be reviewing our hosting arrangement. The goal is to build on past lessons for re-inventing a stronger and functional network. As we do this, we will be reaching out for the contribution of the larger YPARD community. We aim to ensure that necessary insights from the community perforate through the YPARD operational levels into this review process. 

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  • Italy
  • Sharing Information and connecting people
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Welcoming a new YPARD Steering Committee member: Marina Cherbonnier

We are delighted to welcome a new steering committee member: Marina Cherbonnier.

Marina is a graduate with a Master’s degree in Information and Communications Technologies for Development (ICT4D) from the University of Manchester, the UK, and a Master’s degree in Information and Documentation sciences from the UCO, Angers, France. She was also a Bachelor student in French and Classical (Greek and Latin) literature - in what seems another life! 

Marina has been leading and advising International Community and Networks for the past 10 years. Before joining CIVICUS: the global civil society alliance, as Member Engagement Specialist for 2 years, Marina was the Global Communications and Knowledge Manager at YPARD, for 6 years. 

At CIVICUS, Marina strengthened the community culture and spirit and the mainstreaming of members engagement within the organisation to walk the talk as a member-led alliance. This was only possible by working hand-in-hand with other staff members and members. It brought CIVICUS’ vision of togetherness to life and led to the design and implement impactful actions that connected, engaged and equipped members able to bring their own voices and competencies. This also revolved around refining stronger messages and establishing thorough feedback loops for members and partners to feel heard and their input to be strategically taken into account in CIVICUS’ planning. 

At YPARD, she gained a thorough experience in youth engagement in agricultural development, leadership, management and governance of a network as part of the global coordination unit - as they were only 2 full-time positions for a long time: the director and herself. She fully contributed to the strategic discussions with the steering committee, the financial and budget management, and the development of the network in a proactive, creative and innovative manner. This included guiding and working effectively with the then 60 national chapters and 4 regional units remotely. Building trust and a genuine sense of belonging around key co-defined strategic objectives, priorities and activities, as well as strong and timely internal and external communications, was key to this. 

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  • Italy
  • Sharing Information and connecting people
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Breaking through leadership: A practical perspective

Global Youth Leadership Program, an exclusive 2-day professional program that was held in Beijing on 9th and 10th November 2019. There were 65 youth participants, representing over 25 countries, gathered together to talk about various topics on character and leadership development, personal influence, speaking and communication skills, and social competence building. 

The guest speakers were international thought leaders and youth mentors coming from various backgrounds. They are Elaine Zhou, founder and CEO of CNEW International that holds leadership development program from Harvard Kennedy School, an inspirational speaker, leadership trainer, and coach with John Maxwell team; Saman Pouyanmehr, founder of Global Foundation of Young Entrepreneurs (GFYE); Jonas Wolf, APAC Director of AngelHack, mentor of Startup Grind in Beijing; FM Safiul Azam, Partnership Officer of YPARD Asia and Pacific and also worked with British Council Bangladesh as International Climate Champion; and Dr. Bi JieYing, the Regional Coordinator of YPARD Asia and Pacific.

The first day morning session was started off with the youth and entrepreneurial spirit in mind through the speech of Ms. Bi as she mentions how Young Professional for Agricultural Development’s (YPARD) vision is to enable and empower young people to innovate agricultural development and improve community livelihood sustainably. Showing the impact of their continued effort in annual leadership and communication skill enhancement activities, as well as, a long-term mentoring program specifically for agricultural development towards the youth is very inspiring. This is because, through all the hardships and perseverance of the YPARD members, they were able to achieve success than they had initially imagined and helped more communities than expected. 

During the 2-day event, one of the most interesting sessions was Conflict Management and Decision Making from Mr. Azam where we grouped ourselves into a team of 7 people and everyone had 10 minutes to share one project idea. Although the catch of this activity is that every member of the team had to shell out 20yuan, so the winner who has the best idea will receive 140yuan then use the fund to start the project.  Although the amount is not a big value, the activity helped us analyze our standing, learned basic negotiation and make a strategic decision. 

While I was listening to the ideas of my group and the ideas of the winners from other teams, I was motivated because we were not discussing small-scale and short-term projects, yet we were sharing about how our past experiences make us want to solve the pressing current issues in our respective countries. We had a healthy conversation wherein we shared thoughts on possible action steps to diminish poverty level, increase access to education, help children with special needs, and more. You may be wondering how would we solve all these big issues with this little amount of money? We can practically do nothing impactful, however, so long as we are sparked our interest to take the first action step. One small step is still considered a step closer to our goal.

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  • China
  • Sharing Information and connecting people
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Future of maize: Introduce hybrid varieties

When you buy popcorn in a movie theatre, maize cobs from a street vendor and a meal which comes from processing maize as feed, we should be thankful to the farmers. 

They are men and women who battle against the unpredictable weather and invasive insects and bring food from the field to our fork. I have been hearing that agriculture is the government’s priority since I was a child. The 6th five-year plan (1980-1985) focussed on attaining food self-sufficiently in the hills, including maize, but still, there is not much progress. The productivity of maize, the main cereal crop after rice and a promising cash crop, started increasing slowly and constantly after 1985. From 1.5 tons per hectare in 1985, productivity reached 1.6 tons in 1990/91 and 2.6 tons in 2018/19.

A recently released statistical information by the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development (MoALD) shows that maize is grown on 954,000 hectares (25% of the total area of cereals), which was 758,000 ha in 1985.

In three decades of efforts, productivity has increased by around 1% every year. However, the overall demand for maize is expected to grow by 4-6% every year for the next 20 years. The major hindrance to growing more is an inefficient production system.

Maize is being used for feed, food, fuel and fibre. The increasing demand for maize comes from the growing need for poultry feed. Some 80% of maize consumption in Nepal is due to poultry and animal feed. The domestic production can meet only 30% of current demand. India exported 5 million tons of feed and maize seeds to Nepal in 2018/19.

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Regional consultative meeting on biodiversity mainstreaming

To increase awareness on the importance of biodiversity mainstreaming across the agriculture and allied sectors three days “Regional Consultative Meeting on Biodiversity Mainstreaming across Agricultural sectors - Asia and the Pacific” was held from 17 to 19 July 2019 in Bangkok, Thailand. 

The consultative meeting was co-organized by Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Secretariat, in collaboration with CBD, the Biodiversity-based Economy Development Office (BEDO), the Office of National Resources and Environment Policy and Planning (ONEP) and Government of Thailand. Altogether 150 participants joined the meeting, representing government officials, international agencies, NGOs, private sectors, academicians, research institutions and farmers’ organizations from countries across the region.

The programme was inaugurated by high-level segment participation of His Excellency Ohn Winn, Minister of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation, Myanmar highlighting on the integrated approach applied in the biodiversity mainstreaming. His Excellency Dasho Rinzin Dorji, Honorable Secretary for the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests of Bhutan presented a concept for Bhutan for Life having two hundred and eighty key performance for the next fourteen years. 

Similarly, His Excellency Ambassador Mohammad Hossein Emadi, Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the FAO shared that “food is the driver of the whole agricultural ecosystem.” He further elaborated that strong political will and commitment in national and international sectors are utmost and therefore, there was an urgency for new ways of synchronization and harmonization for action at national and international levels for biodiversity mainstreaming.

There were thematic plenary sessions in the consultative meeting covering the topics, highlighting post-2020 global biodiversity framework, biodiversity mainstreaming in practice, conservation and mainstreaming of biodiversity in fisheries and aquaculture sectors and mainstreaming biodiversity through Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS). 

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