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Youth Voices: Making GCARD3 Count

Apeh OmedeYouth in agriculture and global development

Evidences abound attesting to the fact that young people play vital roles in, and are without doubt the future of agriculture and global development, hence, securing the future of food production for the growing human population. If not in any part of the world, this is true for the sub-Saharan African region, which I come from.

I believe that young people are the drivers of the use of modern technology in agriculture, which has been useful in improving access to market, input and subsequently improved productivity. Young people are advocates and influencers of policy makers to ensure inclusiveness, create a better environment and programs for the younger generation of farmers and development experts.

I believe that youth participation all along the value chain is vital to the growth of the agriculture-based economies of most developing countries – from agricultural research and development, to food production, storage and handling, to agro-processing, through to marketing and distribution in local, regional and international food markets.

Young people in agriculture present an unprecedented opportunity to deal with the constraints and challenges holding back improvements in agricultural productivity. Channelling the energy, strength, and dynamism of young people into productive, competitive and profitable agribusinesses (including food production) will boost agricultural productivity, ensure sustainable food production system, create jobs, and generate incomes. The impact of youth involvement and participation in agriculture and food systems will be seen in sustainable economic growth, and in the reduction of poverty and malnutrition across the continent.

A social media savy!

I am a social media enthusiast by all means. This is seen in my online activities across almost all social media platform. I run a Facebook page called “The Agro-Youth Centre” with over 1300 likes where I share and interact with young people across the globe and mostly from developing countries, and share opportunities for young people with interest in agricultural and rural development. There is also a Twitter handle “@AgroYouth Centre” with close to 1300 followers as well, serving the same purpose.

These are an offshoot of my wordpress blog (The Agro-Youth Centre) where blog on agriculture-related opportunities. I am also very proficient with other platforms and how to use programs such as storify, hootsuite, buffer, twitterfeed, Moz, as well as some content management systems. I have once had an opportunity to be trained at a workshop on “using new media to communicate science outcomes in the modern world”, with special focus on video story telling. All my social media activities and writing are in English language, as I have most proficiency in it, with interest to learn other languages in the future.

Having studied and still studying in an English speaking institution, I have good working verbal skills and would be well suited to follow the any training program to be provided as well the proceeding of GCARD3, which as a result would be able to contribute effectively to the event.

How would GCARD3 opportunity be utilized?

The lessons and experience from GCARD3 will play vital role in deepening my understanding on youth involvement in agriculture and global development, which will further position me to contribute to youth advocacy and policy development in my country and anywhere else I have the opportunity. I intend to produce reports and documents which I will share with my country’s youth development, agriculture and science and technology ministries so they can use such as reference points when developing policies relating to youth and agriculture. As my participation may focus mostly on one of the themes that interests me most because it relates directly to my everyday job, I hope to take lessons from GCARD3 that I can implement in my place of work.

My YPARD and I

I have been a member of YPARD for as long as 4 years now. I was actively involved in Nigeria’s local YPARD, where I led one of the events that held in a University in early 2013. I have also had the opportunity serve YPARD in the global coordinating unit as a web4knowlegde intern in 2014, an experience I really enjoyed because of the things I learned within that time. Having moved to Australia, I have also been actively involved with Researchers in Agriculture for International Development (RAID), a youth-led agriculture organisation, operating locally in Australia like YPARD.

Skilled enough for the challenge?

As a writer and researcher with over 5 years of experience, I have developed good reporting skills, evidenced in my list of research reports and publications. I was a part of PAEPARD/FARA workshop where I learned presentation and meeting facilitation skills. I have made verbal presentations at conferences both locally and internationally.

Key theme interest

Of course, the GCARD 5 key themes interest me because they are all great themes, but the one that stands out most to me is the ‘Scaling up: from research to impact’ theme. This is so because, as a researcher, I understand that there are hundreds of thousands of research outcomes all over the world and mostly in developing countries that are just lying in the shelves because they have not been implemented.

No matter how good a research is, if it is not taken to the farmer out there, so that they can learn and improve their livelihood, then the research is a waste of time. There is need to transfer research findings from the laboratories and our citadels of learning to the farm, and subsequently, we would be able to produce more food.

So what am I bringing on-board?

I will bring four strong values to the GCARD3 YPARD delegation. First, as a seasoned teacher and researcher, I have a good understanding of what the needs of young people in agriculture are and I am aware of recent advances in rural development and food security issues. I have experience as a youth leader in agriculture as I am currently serving a second term as the Asia-Pacific regional ambassador for Poultry Science Association Hatchery (student arm of Poultry Science association) where my role includes projecting the activities of the association and ensuring that students are properly engaged in such activities.

Secondly, I was a committee member for Farming Futures, an ENACTUS project aimed at increasing graduate employment in the agricultural sector in Australia. This project involved negotiating and collaborating with large agricultural firms to have graduates enrolled as trainees and provide them with workplace. Hence, I will bring my experience from participating in this project.

Also, as a former volunteer with YPARD, I have a good understanding of YPARD’s mission and working principles, hence would be able to project YPARD’s view whenever it is required at GCARD3. Finally, as a trained and experienced social media expert, I will use my skills to boost the social media campaign of the event and of YPARD’s participation as well.

What next?

So, if any young person out there with interest in agriculture and global development is ready, just as I am, then, let go make our voices heard once again, as we did at GCARD2 and altogether make GCARD3 count.

This blog post is part of the GCARD3 Youth blogpost applications. The content, structure and grammar is at the discretion of the author only.

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Wednesday, 21 February 2024

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