I am very excited about this opportunity presented through YPARD to attend the Third Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development (GCARD3) in South Africa to catalyse discussions on how to help our generation become stronger leaders for our industry. As an agricultural researcher I look forward to contribute to the theme Scaling up: From research to impact. My input will result to reshaping the future of agriculture food research and increase its development impact. The GCARD3 global event comes at a critical time after launching of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and youth in agriculture research have important role in fostering the SDGs. We need not only to perform research, but also to apply new knowledge and thinking to our policy making and agribusiness models. In the end it will come down to implementation or how we actually put new found ideas to work. Young people lead the pack as innovators and problem solvers; the importance of new unique approaches to sustainable agriculture is imperative. Both the role of youth in agriculture development and the role of agriculture in perpetuating attainment of the SDGs are paramount.
Substantial improvements of agricultural systems are necessary to attain the SDGs, as close scrutiny reveal all the goals are intrinsically linked with agriculture. However, current agricultural researches for development are generally not well suited to meet the necessary improvements in productivity and sustainability. For more effective application of research output, research producers and research consumers should not be considered as separate entity in the knowledge chain but as collaborating partners creating synergy. National Agricultural Research Institutes in Sub Saharan Africa have made significant strides in making research impactful, though a lot remains to be done. I firmly believe there is room for further growth, not least as a result of the industry’s robust traceability, rigorous production standards and top quality produce. This is a huge opportunity, and it is up to all of us - agricultural researchers, farmers, food manufacturers and government - to take action and make research impactful.
Being a mentee for YPARD, I recognize the importance of mentorship in moulding future agricultural researchers. The need of young farmers/researchers to solve complex challenges cannot be underemphasised, hence the need to have a representation at a global level. The immense soft skills such as public speaking I received through the mentorship program has made me more articulate. I now am keen to get a global forum after a period of training and development and voice the opinion of young researchers. GCARD3 global event will provide me with a platform to contribute to high level discussions and highlight the importance of including young researchers from planning to execution stage of research projects. I am also looking forward to share my experience and views from a Kenyan perspective relating to agricultural research to development impact and suggest key reforms that would bring about greater impact on major development needs in Africa.
This is an exciting time to be agricultural researcher and a farmer as new technologies and markets present unprecedented opportunities to grow. I urge the youth in the sector to stand up and be counted as stakeholders in the sector. I am a farmer and agri-food researcher because when someone refers me as such that causes me to stand straighter and feel proud. I am a farmer and agri-food researcher because I know in my heart, that no other profession will fit me as well. I am a farmer and agri-food researcher because I choose to accept the title. To all of you who are farmer/ranchers/growers… welcome! May your career choice bring you joy for 100 years and let us all contribute to inclusive growth of the industry. And in the spirit of on-going learning let us all meet at GCARD3 global event to help perpetuate attainment of the SDGs. For without agriculture, none of the goals can be achieved!