The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) counts about 7000 agricultural scientists of which about 27% were young professionals (under 40 years of age) in 2009. Youth's share is going to increase to 48% by the end of the year 2013 making the ICAR the youngest in the world National Agricultural Research Systems (NARS) (data from ASTI (FAO)).
At this backdrop, with an objective to envisage the long term vision of the young professionals about the agricultural research in India, a workshop on Foresight and Future Pathways of Agricultural Research through Youth in India (FFPARTY) was organized at New Delhi during 1-2 March, 2013. In the workshop, about 300 participants from different ICAR institutes, State Agricultural Universities, Farming Communities etc participated.
In the workshop, during the technical session on Institutional Perspectives, the YPARD was introduced and YPARD India was re-launched. Actually, the seeds for the FFPARTY workshop were sown during the Second Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development (GCARD2) wherein YPARD India delegates held discussions with YPARD Global Coordination and a proposal was made to Dr. S. Ayyappan, Secretary, DARE and Director General, ICAR. Dr. S. Maria, ADG (IP&TM), ICAR, had taken a keen interest in organizing the event which was successfully coordinated by YPARD delegate Dr. Y.S. Saharawat, Senior Scientist, IARI.
For the workshop, Dr. R.S. Paroda, Chairman, TAAS, and Executive Secretary, APAARI, Dr. Thomas Lumpkin, Director General, CIMMYT, Prof. R.B. Singh, President, NAAS, and Dr. H.S. Gupta, Director, IARI and other dignitaries have attended and shared their vision for the Agricultural Research for Development (ARD) through youth in India.
During the workshop, deliberations were made on various agricultural disciplines viz., natural resource management, crop improvement and protection, horticulture, postharvest technology, livestock and fisheries sector, agriculture engineering, socio-economics and ICTs for identification of the research requirements and preparation of a road map for the ARD. The proceedings of the workshop are available in YPARD e-library.
Dr. Sharawat placed before the policy makers the YPARD argument that youth is an asset to an organization and there is the need to develop programs that engage youth and use their expertise. He assured that YPARD India would involve in the ICAR initiatives viz., ARYA (Attracting and Retaining Rural Youth in Agriculture), Students READY and Farmers First.
It is interesting to see that after the re-introduction of YPARD at the FFPARTY workshop, there were more expression of interests to join in YPARD, and registrations had increased on ypard.net. The YPARD India network is by far the biggest YPARD national network with 564 registered members on YPARD website (- YPARD Nigeria being the second biggest network with 359 online members). Join YPARD India Facebook group as well!