Empowering youth in agriculture comes with building a team of professionals who collectively think and advocate for the sustainable future of agriculture.
2016 marks the 10years of impactful existence of Young Professional for Agricultural Development (YPARD) across the globe. Placing young people at the center of decision making and policy is key to achieving the sustainable development goals and YPARD objectives.
Thematically, in 2016 YPARD has focused on celebrating 10 years of empowering youths in agriculture through events,campaigns and testimonials to appreciate all young professionals who are championing the course of agriculture in their various locations.
In the light of the anniversary celebration, YPARD Nigeria was hosted by one of the fastest growing agricultural company in Nigeria, AgriHub to join the list of other country chapters to celebrate the 10 years anniversary. A day of greet, meet and get inspired was organized with some young professionals in attendance.
The Starting Point
The Anniversary started with a brief of how YPARD came into existence and how it has grown to become a formidable platform of young professionals and a wind of change in the agricultural sector. The Country Representative, Olawale Ojo spoke about the success story of YPARD as a platform of young professionals that enables, informs and equips through its multi-stakeholder, transparency, participatory, subsidiarity, equality, inclusiveness, representation, accountability and comparative advantage principles.
The Anniversary Cake
In coherence, the participants believed that the sweetness of the cake and the inscription on the cake “empowering youth in agriculture” best described the sweetness of agriculture, particularly when young people are fully involved in the process. The idea of bake a cake was conceived as a means to bring into light, the 10years anniversary celebration.
Challenges of Youth in Agriculture: Sharing Solutions
One of the focus of YPARD is to ensure that young people identify their own problems and provide lasting solutions to such challenges. In view of this, young professionals at the 10years celebration shared their views on the seven challenges of agriculture identified by Ken Lohento of CTA to include: Education and training, Business support, Access to finance, Access to land, ICT and technology, Favorable agricultural policies.
Participants at the event identified key indicators such as interest, closeness to farmers and/or practical agricultural experts, discipline and restructuring of school curriculum and training to ensure that young people have access to practical agriculture rather than classroom education and training. The inclusiveness of young people in agriculture should be learning by doing. On the finance issues, it was said that most people failed to identify the purpose of obtaining a loan or grant, which invariably led to diversion into other non-agricultural investments. Participants also identified the importance of WhatsApp as an ICT tool that has helped in building groups of young professionals through information sharing on agriculture and the other trending issues in the sector.
Discussion was also on the lasting impact a uniform land policy could bring for young people in solving the problem of land acquisition. The case of farm settlements in some Southwestern states in Nigeria was cited as one of the most amazing initiative which should be revived to encourage young people to settle down in the agrarian rural communities and also, mitigate the rate of urban migration.
The Take Home
At the heart of every young professional at the event was the desire to continue to be a strong change agent to other young people in terms of developing practical farm programmes and advocacy initiatives that will help to empower young people in agriculture and champion the course of agriculture. The phrase at the end of the event was “everyone has a major strength that requires working together as a formidable young professional who has the understanding of agriculture and can develop strategic ways of achieving sustainable agriculture. That is, achievements of tangible results in agriculture requires working in clusters to ensure its sustainability.
In extension of the 10years anniversary, practical farm guide into snail and grasscutters farming were handed over to all the participants at the event. And in the same spirit of YPARD 10years celebration, one of the YPARD Nigeria Coordination Team member, Uke Praise organized a 7-day free agribusiness and agro-allied consultation for young people who are interested or already involved in agriculture. From the first day to the last day, an average of 2-3 people per day received free consultation services.
Other story about YPARD, Nigeria 10years anniversary event was published in one of Nigeria’s newspapers The Nation. Read the story here. We would also like to specially thank the AGRIHUB team who kindly made available their hall for the event. This is a clear example of partnerships that can occur among Young Professionals.
YPARD is a community of young professionals for agricultural development. Hence, participation and inclusiveness in the 10years anniversary is welcomed. Join the celebration here, either by baking a cake, telling your YPARD success story, organizing programs for young people and many more.