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Welcoming the new YPARD Belgium communications focal point Ángela Patricia Guerrero Castillo

We are delighted to welcome the incoming YPARD Belgium communications focal point: Ángela Patricia Guerrero Castillo.

 Ángela is a graduate with a Master’s degree in Electronic Engineering from Escuela Colombiana de Ingeniería Julio Garavito and a Bachelor in Mechatronic Engineering from Universidad de San Buenaventura in Bogotá, Colombia. Currently, Ángela is a Ph.D. student in Precision Agriculture at Ghent University in Ghent, Belgium.

Ángela has been working on variable rate nitrogen fertilization by using cutting – edge technology with the aim to reduce environmental impacts while maintaining yield. Along these years working in agriculture, Ángela has focused her research in the automation of processes, the use of new technology for agricultural activities and the development of algorithms that improve quality in soil and crop properties measurement. Ángela started to work in the field of precision agriculture, using UAVs to capture photographs, used to generate orthomosaics, rebuild the terrain of the crop, and calculate vegetation indexes to make decisions about the crop. She has experience in fining-tune the UAVs, programming flight paths, taking photographs, calculating photographic parameters and processing images for analysis specifically on potato crops.

At the account of joining YPARD as a country representative, this is what Ángela had to say; “I have always been aware that our world is our home and that everything we do must be directed towards its preservation. In my life, my main goal has been to help people by using mechatronic devices in order to improve their quality of life. Over the years I have realized that agriculture is one of the most important human activities and that we must pay close attention to it in order for it to be sustainable. Being part of YPARD motivates me to continue working for the sustainability of activities within agriculture. It is important to have a collaborative and interdisciplinary environment that generates innovation and contributes to progress. I stress the importance of having a broad network of contacts to achieve impacts on our society and overall to realize that together we are more”.

If you are from or based in Belgium, and want to get involved in YPARD Belgium activities, please contact Ángela via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Enhancing the sustainability of agriculture and making it a noble profession

The East African Farmers Federation (EAFF) together with Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) held a two-day workshop on youth space in policy and financial inclusion.

This formed part of the ongoing project of “Scaling-Up Rural Youth Access to inclusive Financial Services for Entrepreneurship and employment”. The project is being implemented in 3 East African Countries: Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda. The workshop brought together around 80 youth farmers from Kenya, Rwanda, and Uganda and was held on 27th-28th November 2019 in Kampala, Uganda.

It is believed that youth account for a good number of the energetic workforce for Africa especially in advancing the continent's Agriculture Agenda and creating more jobs in this sector to host a significant proportion of youth in on-farm and off-farm jobs. It was discussed several times that unemployment in Africa is hitting a top roof and that modernization of agriculture and involving youth in this profession can significantly reduce the unemployment rate while building their economic independence and creating decent rural employment.

Engaging in agriculture activities at any level of the value chain requires a minimum of investment. One main challenge faced by youth in the sector is the access to financial services including deposits, credit, payments, money transfers, leasing or insurance. This challenge is due to a number of factors like physical accessibility, affordability, eligibility and legislative frameworks. Even though in many cases policy plays a critical role in these crucial challenges, the youth faces a problem of limited involvement in policy dialogue as well. Therefore, they do not have a space to voice their concern and possible solutions to youth-specific constraints.

Representing the Youth Engagement in Agriculture Network (YEAN), I participated in this 2-day workshop that was mainly attended by young people. The participants were given space to interact and share experience on how youth are given space to express their thoughts in policy dialogue in our respective countries; and how unlocking the bottlenecks that inhibit youth access to finance through a dialogue process that was engaging banks, government and development partners. The discussion was around specific topics including:

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  • Rwanda
  • Promote agriculture among young people
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The school farm curriculum

The school farm initiative is one of the new strategic plans of YPARD and FAO for the Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) region, the project’s framework will make use of a curriculum concept, to promote training sessions based on an integrated production system. 

It aims to combine scientific concepts and social capital to set up a socio-economic framework. Its dynamic will focus on satisfying the self-consumption needs of rural and urban communities, especially among marginalized populations, despite the failure to compete in a capitalist market system.

The world today is in need of food and clean energy, and that is precisely what we will promote in this program. Its overall aspect will focus on developing a wide range of topics and skills to transform current production systems, driving change towards more sustainable practices. 

Such an initiative will help the students to gain in-depth knowledge, as well as, achieve high levels of efficiency and integration through decent use of basic technology to bring specific innovations within the agricultural sector. This, in turn, will help in reducing improper and inappropriate use of some of the natural resources, which currently is in a state of exhaustion.

According to FAO studies, the monoculture system is recognized as one of the main causes of ecosystem deterioration. Its practices cause major damage to resources, which lead to problems such as loss of biodiversity, soil degradation, alteration of the hydrological cycle, landscape deterioration, etc. 

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  • Promote agriculture among young people
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Engaging youth farmers in policy dialogue and helping them access finance is creating sustainability and making agriculture a noble profession

The East African Farmers Federation (EAFF) together with Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) held a two days’ workshop on youth space in policy and financial inclusion as part of the ongoing project of “Scaling-Up Rural Youth Access to inclusive Financial Services for Entrepreneurship and employment”. The project is implemented in 3 East African Countries including Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda. The workshop brought together around 80 youth farmers from Kenya, Rwanda, and Uganda and was held on 27th-28th November 2019 in Kampala, Uganda

It is believed that youth account for a good number of energetic work force for Africa especially in advancing the continent’s Agriculture agenda and creating more jobs in this sector to host a significant number of youth in on farm and off farm jobs. It was discussed several times that unemployment in Africa is hitting a top roof and that modernization of agriculture and involving youth into this profession can significantly reduce the unemployment rate while building their economic independence and creating decent rural employment.

Engaging in agriculture activities at any level of the value chain requires a minimum of investment. One of the main challenge faced by youth is the access to financial services including deposits, credit, payments, money transfers, leasing or insurance due to a number of factors like physical accessibility, affordability, eligibility and legislative frameworks. Even tough in many cases policy plays a critical role in this crucial challenges, youth faces as well a problem of a limited involvement into policy dialogue. Therefore, they do not have a space to voice their concerns and possible solutions to youth-specific constraints.

On behalf of Youth Engagement in Agriculture Network (YEAN), I participated in this 2 days’ workshop that was mainly attended by young people. We were given the opportunity to interact and share experience on how youth are given space to express their thoughts in policy dialogue in our respective countries and how to unlock the bottlenecks that inhibit youth in accessing finance. The workshop was including also banks, government and development partners. Discussion were around specific topics including:

  • The role of youth in agribusiness and the solutions proposed to solve the challenges that they face
  • Youth in agribusiness and their engagement in policy dialogue
  • Financial inclusion for youth in agribusiness
  • A session of business peach

Vibrant sessions of panel discussions and Q&A made the workshop very colorful where participants expressed their views on the necessity of engaging youth in policy dialogue. Harrison Ndayambaje and Laura Nakigozi Octavia both poultry farmers from Uganda highlighted that banks give loan at high interest late, and startup agripreneurs cannot make profit with that money. However, the representative from government have mentioned that the government has piloted a youth fund with interest free loan whereby youth will pay only the principal amount. Stephen Muchiri the CEO of East African Farmers Federation pointed out that agriculture used to be taken as poor-man’s professional but it possess many opportunities when it comes to economic development. He added that EAFF is trying to bring onboard different actors to help young farmers build their capacity in accessing finance and policy dialogue. Elisabeth Nsimadala the President of EAFF appreciated the great collaboration with FAO and IFAD that has benefited a number of young farmers including 567 youth groups that were trained and equipped with financial literacy and got capacity building and 35 agripreneurs who accessed finance through this project.

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Welcoming the new YPARD Belgium representative: Michael Ruggeri

We are delighted to welcome the YPARD Belgium Country Representative Michael Ruggeri.

 Michael holds a master’s degree in Rural and Agricultural Development from the University of East Anglia, preceded by another master’s degree in Environment and International Development from “La Sapienza” University.

Among other things, Michael has recently collaborated with FAO on the preparation of the State of the World’s Biodiversity for Food and Agriculture report, launched in February 2019. Before that, Michael had the chance to conduct a small piece of research in South Africa, in collaboration with the African and Climate Development Initiative, on the impact of climate change on food, energy and water resources in selected communities in the Cape province. 

As part of his dissertation research project, Michael also had the chance to study the impact of sustainable intensification on deforestation rates in an agriculture-forest frontier landscape in Zimbabwe under different scenarios. This required the use of modeling software, such as InVEST, which sparked his interest in scenario-building for evidence-based rural development planning and strategy definition. 

Over his studies and his working experiences, Michael also matured and nurtured other interests in several agriculture-related subjects, such as climate-smart agriculture, conservation agriculture, biodiversity conservation (ex-situ and in-situ), participatory rural development and much more. 

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Introducing the school farm program

Young Professionals for Agricultural Development, YPARD, together with Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is now set to develop a new strategic plan that focuses on the development of human capital particularly – the youth. 

It aims to design an efficient mechanism of intervention to solve some common challenges within the agricultural sector in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC).

This alternative plan will address challenges such as lack of coordination, lack of skills, inadequate information, and lack of resources, which makes it difficult for people in this region to access and make efficient use of resources that are needed to sustain themselves and improve their welfare. 

Finding a proposal for action is a complex task to achieve. Therefore, approaching the option of investing in human capital through educational programs (with a focus on youth in the agricultural sector) would be an efficient and optimistic alternative. In particular, education provides the capacity to learn, there is a body of evidence, which asserts that school policies have an enabling environment, which aims to provide dynamic tools to coordinate tangible responses to achieving this and making it a reality.

According to FAO, education is an ideal tool of intervention to coordinate responses to tackle complex factors in an entity. It offers adequate information and a variety of opportunities that could involve multiple sectors and partners. The approach is based on providing necessary and appropriate knowledge that aims to organize people’s awareness, which can help enhance the living conditions in habitat and ensure its sustainability.

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  • Italy
  • Promote agriculture among young people
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Asian-African Youth Festival 2019: All for one goal

In this year, a total of 352 youth representatives from 69 countries gathered in Beijing to attend and contribute to the 4th Asian-African Youth Festival 2019, Beijing, China from 15 to 19 October 2019. 

Youth representatives came from all alley of life, including politics, economic, sports, education, media, academia, and social organizations. There were 199 representatives from 34 Asian Countries.

The purpose of the Asia-African Youth Festival is to carry forward the spirit of “Solidarity, Friendship and Cooperation” form understanding and friendship among Asian-African Youths, support exchanges, and cooperation among Asian-African Youth Organizations, and promote the joint construction of an Asian-African community of shared future. This year the host of this event was Central Committee of the Communist Youth League of China (CCYLC), All-China Youth Federation (ACYF), Asian Youth Council and the organized by China Youth Centre for International Exchange.

The participants started their day by visiting the Asian- African Youth Friendship Campus in Grand Epoch City, engaging us with team building activities and roving around the culturally developed area. And the most illuminative part was to visit the Beijing Exhibition Centre, which was the informative section of the festival as we came to divulge detail about the history of China on the occasion of the 70th Anniversary of the Founding of the People’s Republic of China. During this session of the festival, we enjoyed a lot, met with new friends, know about the education, technology, culture, tradition, and history of China.

Furthermore, the formal part of the festival appeared by the keynote speeches of He Junke, First Secretary of Secretariat of CYLC and Aytan Aliyeva, President of Great Silk Way International Youth Union. Continuing the program beginning with the session of “Asian- African Youth Entrepreneurship Forum” which deal with the panel discussion of New Opportunities and Practices for Asian and African Youth Entrepreneurship by the moderator of Liu Kai, Executive Director of International Department of All-China Youth Federation along with “Forge Partnership to Promote Youth Entrepreneurship” by Liu Fan, Associate Professor of the University of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. 

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Food security: The role of youth

I am Shah Khalid, a Ph.D. scholar in Agronomy at the University of Agriculture, Peshawar, Pakistan. 

I am very glad to share my story on my journey with YPARD Pakistan. Last month, I have received a call from Prof. Dr. Muhammad Arif, who told me about Ms. Shahla Salahuddin, YPARD Pakistan Country Representative. Ms. Salahuddin introduced a conference co-organized by YPARD to us and we (along with my team members, Ms. Nadia and Mr. Mujeeb Ur Rahman) decided to participate in the two days international conference on “Strategies for Ensuring Food Security in the Changing Climate” as YPARD delegates. 

The conference was organized at the University of Agriculture Peshawar, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan, from October 23 to 24, 2019. YPARD Pakistan was one of the collaborators of the conference. Participants, including speakers, from many national and international organizations like Pakistan Science Foundation, sustainable land management project-II Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Food and Agriculture Organization and YPARD came together to discussed one of the biggest challenges for the 21st century to ensure the global food supply. 

Young researchers, scientists and industry leaders announced their commitment to food security strategy as climate change. During this conference, we have promoted YPARD through posters, flyers and presentations to the conference participants, including students of Agriculture University Peshawar, who were coming from the various parts of the country. 

We conducted a questions and answers session with the audience about climate change, food security, food waste, and youth as key agents for change. We learned a lot about the current challenges of food security and the role of youth in food security through a discussion panel on the second day while YPARD members got the opportunity to sit with seniors and share about our program “the role of youth in solving challenges”. 

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Rethinking, reinventing and retooling the RNE (entry 2)

YPARD is currently collaborating with FAO to design and plan the best approach in tackling the agricultural sector challenges in the non-conflictual zones in the RNE (North Africa and Near East region).  Looking at the climate and natural resources available in those countries, we note that there are many challenges to overcome. 

We could cite countries like Algeria, Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Yemen… Agriculture in many RNE countries is contributing to small proportions of the national GDP and it relies on food import to satisfy its needs in terms of food consumption.

It is worth mentioning that, according to FAO, the GDP of most of those countries relies on oil export, which is not sustainable in the long term according to the report on “Economic Diversification in Oil-Exporting Arab Countries” prepared by a staff of the International Monetary Fund. Therefore, empowering the agricultural sector with the help of new practices, technologies and improved varieties will get them on track toward sustainable food systems. 

Empowerment through the education of future active citizens, explaining the importance of agriculture and its benefits. We believe that this form of motivation will drive more young people to get involved in this sector. Moreover, introducing improved varieties, innovative irrigation systems and practices. Those ideas could be introduced at an early age in schools, scout organizations familiarizing them with the agricultural sector while creating a positive idea about it.

YPARD has the possibility to engage in the educational process by assisting schools and community to share and disseminate agricultural sense and skills, which will take place through activities, curricula, games or even competitions keeping in mind that creativity is the key to great learning, especially among young people. 

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  • Italy
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Rethinking, reinventing and retooling the RNE (entry 1)

YPARD is currently working with FAO in order to design and plan the best approach to tackle the major challenges within the agricultural sector in RNE (North Africa and Near East region), especially as regards the youth. 

Priorities are to be set concerning the countries, which are mainly affected by these challenges such as Syria, Yemen, Sudan and Iraq. A baseline understanding looking at those countries’ current situation would give a glimpse on how to provide tailored interventions.

The new generation of farmers in the stated countries is lacking proper skills, assets, technologies and information due to the present political climate, civil unrest and continuous displacement. Thus, building solid foundations for them in terms of agricultural and nutritional education will indeed provide them with the knowhow to self-sustain themselves and have healthy food diets.

According to UNHCR, the average forced displacement period is seventeen years, which many refugees and IDPs (Internally Displaced Persons) spend entirely in camps. This accounts for the emergence of a new generation within this context.

Therefore, we perceive facilities to be installed around IDP camps as a study place, where they will follow different curriculums for various age groups that will be designed looking forward to efficient outcomes in current and future life.

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The Agri-Clinic strengthening Rural Knowledge Network

Farmers in rural areas are associated with inadequate technical knowledge on good agricultural production and post-harvest techniques that lead a cycle of poverty.

In addition to these, they lack access to sufficient veterinary services for their livestock. This results in economic losses due to disease and pest infestations.

To bridge the knowledge gap in these rural areas and strengthen rural knowledge network, the Young Professionals for Agricultural Development (YPARD) Ghana have instituted “YPARD Agri-Clinic”. The objectives of the initiative include: bridging the technological knowledge gap in rural areas of Ghana with young agricultural experts and agripreneurs from the YPARD community and creating an adequate network for marketing products of young rural farmers.

The maiden Agri-Clinic took place on Saturday, 21st September, 2019 at Aworoeso a rural community in the Ayensuano District of the Eastern region. YPARD members volunteered their time, resources and expertise to provide needed technical know-how in agriculture and agribusiness to members of the Aworoeso community.

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Harnessing opportunities in crop value chains for increased productivity

It was on a sunny Saturday on 2nd November 2019 when a group of 30 young agribusiness actors and farmers gathered under the auspices of Young Professionals for Agricultural Development (YPARD) Nigeria in Ibadan to host a café themed “Agricultural Crop Value Chain: The role of the Entrepreneur”.

The YPARD café provided a platform for members of the YPARD network to interact, connect and share valuable lessons to equip participants to become effective and informed agro-professionals. The avenue also encouraged feedback mechanism on how to grow YPARD Nigeria while young agricultural professionals who were panelists shared their success stories, networked with other youths and formed bonds on how to leverage opportunities to promote agribusiness growth in Nigeria.

The panel session was moderated by YPARD Oyo local representative, Showemimo Akinbowale then proceeded to introduce the theme of the event and explain fully the concept of the value chain. He said, "The basic characteristic of a value chain is market-focused collaboration; where different business enterprises and people working together to produce and market products and services effectively and efficiently by allowing businesses to respond to the marketplace through linking production, processing, logistics, service provision and marketing activities to meet market demands".

Akinbowale then introduced the speakers at the panel session which were; Mr. Mark Oluwafemi CEO, Markfem farms; Mr. Gbenga Owoeye, who is Operations Director at GOMADE Agro-allied and Miss Atinuke Lebile, Co-founder CATO foods. When asked to share highlights of their entrepreneurial journey and key lessons for the new generation youths, the panelists had this to say.

The first speaker Mr. Mark Oluwafemi CEO, Markfem farms a Vegetable farmer and Irrigation Expert shared his Start-up story and how youths can leverage their passion and network to start a career in agriculture. He further highlighted how some vegetables can be cared for from site preparation to harvesting, he stressed on the unexplored opportunities for youths in the cucumber value chain specifically highlighting strategic positioning of resale fruit stores to maximise the demand for fruits by the health industry.
The Second speaker Mr. Gbenga Owoeye, Operations Director at GOMADE Agro-allied Ltd, a Yam farmer and processor also shared his start-up story, he highlighted the Yam value chains along and how youths can leverage on this. A profound thought he shared was how any youth interested in venturing into a sector can draw up a list of all the combination of activities that combine to place a crop on the shelve and highlight that role which best suits him. He explained that everyone is not meant to be on the farm. He urged the participant to seek knowledge because agriculture is more than putting a seed into the ground. He also stressed that youths should have a financial backup before venturing into Agriculture.

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  • Nigeria
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Welcoming YPARD project intern: Wendel Georges

We are delighted to welcome the YPARD project support intern Wendel Georges

Wendel is originally from Haiti but have had the privilege to live his past six years in Costa Rica, where he gained first his bachelor degree in Agriculture and Natural Resource Management at Escuela de Agricultura de la Región Tropical Húmeda (EARTH), and just recently he graduated with a Master’s degree in Development Practice at The Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Centre (CATIE). 

Being a recent graduate and a young professional, he has had held many activities, which formed his career path in youth engagement. Wendel continues to apply his skills, knowledge, and passion in many projects gaining tangible experience in environmental, sustainable practice, resilient climate management, and social development in the past few years.

He has previously worked at the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), Haiti, where he facilitated training on beans crop yield for smallholder farmers affected by Hurricane Matthew. Also, while working at HEIFER International, he implemented an operating plan for an efficient system of irrigation and drainage to improve rice crop yield. Apart from this, he also has experience working as a field engineer at Smash Papyrus, Port-au-Prince, where he carried out an experiment on Sorghum crop yield growth.

On the engagement front, he dedicated his passion for illustrating an inter- and multi-disciplinary understanding of emerging issues in the context of rural agriculture development and natural resources governance, to improve the sector policies and practices. Currently, as a YPARD member, Wendel is seeking to leverage the synergy between the network and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to face challenges in Latin America and the Caribbean region LAC in an initiative that will focus on youth within agroecological practices. Such a plan will foster broad alternatives for young professional’s engagement to harness opportunities for the desired goal. 

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Welcoming YPARD project intern: Gabriel Yves Badr

We are delighted to welcome the YPARD project support intern Gabriel Yves Badr.

Gabriel is an Agricultural Engineering student with a Minor in Politics. He is currently rounding up his final year project entitled “Agriculture, Syria’s economic hope” in order to obtain his diploma of Agricultural Engineering along with a minor in Middle Eastern Studies from the Holy Spirit University of Kaslik. He is also familiar with tenure right on natural resources and water resources management and policy.

Gabriel got involved in different fields as landscaping, intern engineer at HawaChicken, which is the lead company in the poultry sector in Lebanon, and at OneHealthLab, an animal health laboratory as Field Engineer where he mainly gathered information and samples for experiments, studies and analysis for a tailored response to each client’s challenge. 

He was also socially committed to the scout group and group and district secretary responsible for archiving, reporting, and plan, execute and control within a group the organization process activity and continuity. Moreover, the work also consisted on continuously planning fundraising activities to ensure the group survival.

Currently, as a YPARD member, Gabriel is working in collaboration with UNFAO to address and best tackle the challenges faced in the Near East and North Africa (NENA) region. The focus is on implementing agroecology while involving youth. Agroecology is a scientific discipline, a set of practices and a social movement, which studies how different components of the agroecosystem interact. As a set of practices that seeks sustainable farming systems that optimize and stabilize yields.

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  • Italy
  • Sharing Information and connecting people
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YPARD interns on a mission: Youth in agroecology

Agroecology is a scientific discipline that involves a set of practices and a social movement. 

Indeed, it seeks sustainable farming systems to optimize and stabilize yield and tackles a multifunctional role for agriculture, promotes social justice and culture and strengthens the economic viability of rural areas.

The new project involving youth in agroecology will be implemented through the collaboration between UNFAO and YPARD with the active involvement of the two new YPARD project support interns – Gabriel Yves Badr and Wendel Georges. The project will be implemented in the Near East and North Africa region (NENA) and Latin America and the Caribbean region (LAC).

FAO’s framework of ten elements on agroecology is derived from the common principles articulated for agroecology. Different elements may come in place in various configurations, with a strong blend of social, economic and environmental aspects. 

We will continue our network’s vision and mission by using our coverage around the countries and familiarity in the respective regions. YPARDians equipped with their diverse skills and knowledge of the cultural context and communities is expected to contribute to the successful implementation of the project. Priorities are to be set in both regions due to the need for early intervention in countries facing certain challenges such as Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Iraq and Haiti. 

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  • Italy
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Politics: What’s the young got to do with it?

It was a great opportunity participating and representing YPARD at the symposium of “the future of youth’s political participation” in Strasbourg France, organized by the European Union and the Council of Europe. 

Introductions and conversations were held including all participants along with the questions and answers sessions describing the actual state of youth in politics and the improvements that should be further tackled to promote youth’s involvement and efficiency. 

Participants took part in parallel conversations focussing on the different ways young people participate into politics; interventions by people coming from different backgrounds were given, allowing a broader understanding of the methods used to get youth involved in politics depending on each country’s context, social development and openness. 

During the parallel conversations, some participants presented their point of view concerning the political participation of youth. We witnessed different opinions as some stated that the youth coming from poor economic backgrounds were the first cluster to be tackled ( as it applies very much in their country and found very relevant to the change needed) and this could be done through the gathering of young people and educating them on how to effectively imply change. 

On another hand, developed countries showed to have already attained certain levels of political participation having youth councils and being part of bigger communities, in addition to taking part in relevant meetings with the current political staff. The main point that all participants agreed on was that “youth should be an integral part of politics”.

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A brewing crisis in Assam’s tea sector

Assam is one of the states of India which is located in the northeast region. It is a tea grown area.  Assam tea industry is at the peak of crises and on the verge of economic distress.  

Presently, Assam Tea is not economically profitable as it used to be earlier on account of rising production costs and stagnant prices of the production. The cost of production of tea is been growing by a compounded annual rate of 10% for the last 10 years while the tea prices increasing by a compounded annual rate of 6% only. 

It drastically reduces the profit margin. Assam and West Bengal produce nearly 80% of India’s tea, and so this situation would impact not only India but tea consumers globally. Recently, Assam govt. has announced a hike in tea workers wage rate to counter crises but it is no solution, it's beyond that, it needs aggregate effort at the micro and macro level.

Why the crisis in the tea industry?  

It has been observed that there are specific reasons which cause the problem to the Tea industry, such as:

  • Indian tea especially Assam tea has been rejected by the global player because of the high content of nitrogen and pesticide residue.  When there is a shortfall of green leave, tea gardens procure from small tea farmers which they don’t adopt any quality standards, use excessive fertilizers and manures to boost production.
  • Increase the cost of labour is reducing the profit margin of growers and producers massively.  Labour cost is almost 60% of production cost. 
  • Workers are having health issues. State government states that sanitation and health facilities in some tea plantations are poor because of which they are having tuberculosis, anaemia, hypertension and leprosy.
  • Tea workers who are agricultural labourer are hit most in these crises because they don’t have another alternative source of income with limited skills set.
  • Closing down of small tea gardens which are taken over by big corporate.

Proposed solutions 

Assam Tea industry is playing a significant role in State. It is imperative to find solutions in present crises. 

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  • India
  • Sharing Information and connecting people
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Scoring GOALS: My journey in the fight against global hunger

The sustainable development goals (SDGs) are global index to measure national development in areas such as economic growth, environmental issues, human capital development, food security and health, and many more.

The Goal Keepers initiative is one of the index established by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation established to track progress on SDGs and support implementation through policies and activities directed towards achieving the global goals.

Similarly, organizations, institutions, agencies and individuals are gearing efforts towards achieving SDGs, especially goal 1, ‘No Poverty’ and goal 2, ‘Zero Hunger’. I am a passionate advocate of agricultural transformation, food security, no poverty and youth in agriculture. Over the past nine years, I have shared the same similarity and passion with my mentor – Dr. Akinwumi Adesina.

Dr. Akinwumi Adesina is the former Minister of Agriculture in my native country, Nigeria and current president of the African Development Bank. He won the prestigious World Food Prize in 2017 and the Sunhak Peace Prize in 2019. Dr. Adesina pledged the prize monies and a few matching donations totaling $1.1 million to the creation of the World Hunger Fighters Foundation (WHFF) with the aim of empowering young food innovators for a hunger-free world. The establishment of the foundation and the call for the first cohort of the Borlaug-Adesina Fellowship marked the beginning of my mission and vision to meet Dr. Adesina.

The beginning

In July 2019, the WHHF announced the call for applications for the first cohort of the Borlaug-Adesina Fellowship. Over one thousand three hundred (1,300) applications were received from 39 countries in Africa, totaling 5 regions of Sub-Sahara Africa. The application process was rigorous. I carefully prepared my application for the fellowship given the credibility of having the name of the two most powerful hunger fighters in the world, Dr. Norman Borlaug and Dr. Akinwumi Adesina.

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  • Nigeria
  • Access to resources and capacity building
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YPARD Armenia and YPARD Ukraine meet up highlights: business ideas for rural development

During my visit to Armenia, I met with Anna, YPARD representative for Armenia at her lovely venture, located some 40 km from Yerevan.

Anna leads a socially responsible enterprise that produces dried fruits. She works closely with about 300 families in a region, from whom she buys raw material. Annas’ business has created 30 workplaces for villagers, especially women, while their husbands are working abroad, mostly in Russia. Anna and I, we both work in the same field - value chain development for small fruit and vegetable producers, it felt like we know each other for a long time, and had a lot to discuss, compare and learn. 

Let us share with the YPARD community a brief from our discussion, as it is relevant for other, especially post-soviet countries.

Anna, her ideas and impact on the community

Dried fruits are special delight in many countries, especially Kavkaz mountains and the Middle East, they are consumed daily as a snack together with a tea or coffee and offered to guests.

Anna shows me around her production facilities, where fresh pears, peaches, plums, apricots, apples are turned into dried delights that are possible to store and consume all year round. Some of the sets are produced completely sugar-free and some with added sugar, so that the consumer has a choice. The production process lasts for several weeks.  Drying is done in a special glass chamber and uses energy from the sun.

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  • Armenia
  • Sharing Information and connecting people
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Gaining skills, sharing knowledge and building networks

This was the motto of the International Seminar for leaders of rural youth work in "Herrsching am ammersee" in Bavaria, Munich-Germany 2019.

Almost 80 young professionals from almost 50 countries around the world attended this seminar, where they shared with each other their knowledge and experiences. At the same time, they worked together to gain Leadership knowledge and skills. They also discussed some of the future challenges of rural development, the possible solutions and the contribution that young people should give in this direction. It was a pleasure for me to be part of this seminar, from which I acquire a lot of knowledge and I learned by listening to the other’s experiences, by attending workshops, excursions, and varied programs. 

"Give and Take"

…Our interactions with others hold the key to success…, says Adam Grant in his book Give and Take.

Something like that I saw happening in this seminar, where new professional give and take with each other in many aspects. I saw them sharing their experiences and listening to the experiences of others, they shared the information they had and received information from others, give their views on various issues and challenges and get opinions from others about the same things, etc. Also at this seminar, I saw the creation of professional links between participants of mutual interest, numerous friendships, email address and phone numbers exchanges for any possible future collaboration, but also to stay in touch with each other, to share opinions, ideas, and knowledge in the future.

YPARD at Herrsching International Seminar 2019

YPARD Albania and YPARD Ghana were present at this seminar and were represented respectively by representatives of both countries, Bledar Meta for Albania and Kafui Agbe for Ghana, we both hold a presentation for YPARD. 

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  • Germany
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