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Lessons learned from webinar on publishing scientific articles

In a developing country like Nepal, students or early careers carry out different research activities but face numerous rejections and difficulties in publishing the journals.

Due to lack of proper understanding of elements of standard articles, review process and ethics; most of their research is left unpublished. By chance, if published, it will not get a good readership and chances for replication of study. 

To empower undergraduates, graduates and emerging researchers who intend to publish scientific articles of their research in reputed journals; Project AGRICRAFT, launched by YPARD Nepal, organized a webinar entitled “Publishing Scientific Articles: What Should You Know” on 7-8 November 2020 virtually. Forty participants from diverse backgrounds including agriculture, forestry environmental science actively participated and enthusiastically shared their queries during the webinar.

“Just when I was not clear on how to start reorganizing and editing my thesis for an article publication, I saw this webinar happening and it took me no time to eagerly register my name and hope for the selection. Indeed the session was very fruitful and cleared most of my confusion and paved a path for me towards scientific writing and publication in the suitable journal.” - Akreeti Thakur, participant

The webinar was made feasible with the presence of our resource persons Mr. Dinesh Panday, Ph.D. and Mr. Roshan Babu Ojha. Mr. Panday received his Ph.D. in 2020 from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, United States. Mr. Ojha, currently a Ph.D. candidate at the University of New England, is a soil scientist to the Soil Science Division, Nepal Agricultural Research Council (NARC) since 2015.

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IVSA Paklihawa – YPARD Nepal: One Health Webinar Series

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the One Health concept is defined as a collaborative, multisectoral, and interdisciplinary approach at the local, regional, national, and global levels to working towards the goal of achieving optimal health outcomes, recognizing the interconnection between people, animals, plants, and their shared environment.

This concept is the key to a safe and sustained future for all beings. For achieving the target, a global collaborative effort is a must. The One Health concept is gaining more recognition in the public health and animal health sectors. This concept initiated as the scientists showed the requirements of considering the health of every living species as a vital aspect for better human health. And eventually, with many efforts, the One Health Day was initiated to mark a date for remembering the importance of One Health on 3rd November every year globally.

The One Health webinar series was jointly organized by the International Veterinary Students’ Association (IVSA) Paklihawa and YPARD Nepal to celebrate the One Health Day 2020. The One Health Webinar Series took place from 2nd to 4th of November 2020 and six different national and international speakers all over the world were invited, who contributed as keynote speakers. This joint effort of IVSA Paklihawa and YPARD Nepal tried to cover all the aspects of One Health i.e., human health, animal health, plant health and the environmental health they share. The keynote speakers presented their insights on various fields of their expertise.

The objectives of the online event were to spread awareness about the One Health Concept, to provide the basic knowledge and necessities of One Health, to interconnect multisectoral disciplines related to One Health and to know the status, and local and global efforts to achieve the One Health concept. The “One Health Webinar Series” was conducted virtually using the StreamYard platform and was broadcasted live on Facebook and YouTube of IVSA Paklihawa and Facebook of YPARD Nepal.

The first day of the “One Health Webinar Series” was started with a welcome speech by Ms. Usha Khatri, SCOH coordinator, IVSA Paklihawa and the session was moderated by Ms. Kamana Kafle, Himalayan College of Agriculture Science and Technology (HICAST). On this very first day of “One Health Webinar Series”,  Dr. Rakesh Chand, Director at Center for One Health Research and Promotion (COHRP), Nepal and Mr. Abhishek Khadka, YPARD Nepal Country Representative, served as our guest speakers. Dr. Chand presented on the topic “Overview of One Health Concept in Nepal: Insect Trade and Their Role in Global Health”. And Mr. Khadka presented his presentation on “Climate Change and its Nexus with Food and Nutrition Security.” The session runtime was two hours including Questions and Answer (Q&A) sections from the audience.

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Youth as viable pillars of agribusiness growth in Nigeria

YPARD Nigeria hosted the Global Café across Nigeria in different locations in December of 2020. The South West episode held in Ibadan, Oyo State on the 19th of December 2020 in the University of Ibadan-Nigeria. The YPARD Café event which was themed Youth engagement in Agribusiness: Post-COVID-19 brought together 26 young professionals and agribusiness enthusiasts and was well attended with COVID-19 protocols in place. The discussions highlighted the challenges COVID-19 posed, opportunities for youth employability and innovation in agriculture and a path to socio-economic recovery for the nation.

Atinuke Lebile who is the Program Officer of YPARD Nigeria welcomed participants to the event and launched the event with an introductory expose on the activities of the global international organisation that YPARD is and the networking opportunities it provides.

A Keynote address on “Agribusiness and Youth” was delivered by Olaoluwa Farotimi, YPARD Osun state Representative. He spoke extensively on the role of youths in agribusiness, the innovations done by youths in the Agribusiness sector. Mr. Olaoluwa urged youths to be specific when choosing any area of agribusiness, understand the agricultural value chain, collaborate and also solve a particular problem in any niche of their choice. In conclusion, he shared some unexplored opportunities in the Agribusiness sector which youth can key into.

The panel session where guest speakers were invited to share their pre and post COVID -19 experiences was probably the highlight of the event. The line-up of panellists included:

Mr. Olorunfemi Dunsi- Expert on Precision and Integrated Agriculture.

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YPARD Nepal Café: Quality Management and Environment Management System

YPARD Nepal is organizing a training related to ISO (International Organization for Standardization) titled “Internal Auditor Training on Quality Management System (ISO 9001) and Environmental Management System (ISO 14001) as per ISO 19011 International Standards.” 

The internationally certified tutor with years of experience in ISO field will be delivering practical insights relating to industry application as well as Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME’s) quality operation. 

In order to make program more effective, delegates are expected to be highly motivated and curious to put forward the queries in case of any doubts until solved. The completion of the course will enable the delegates to implement ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 within any type of organization also, equipped with the required skills to conduct an internal audit within an organization. Interested delegates can find the form below for easy registration to access the session.

About tutors

Mr. Rabin Shrestha, Mr. Girish Pokhrel, and Mr. Abhishek Pokharel are the Founders of Globus Certification P. Ltd and has a Good exposure in ISO related Standard (Especially in ISO 9001:2015, ISO 22000:2005, ISO 14000:2015 and ISO 45000). Mr. Rabin Shrestha has an MBA - Marketing from Westcliff University, B.Tech (Food) from Tribhuvan University and PGDCA (Running) from Purbanchal University.

Similarly, Mr. Girish Pokhrel is also taking the MBA course from the same University after graduating with B. Tech (Food). He has over 3 years of experience in the manufacturing industry with additional 3 years’ experience in the ISO certification and training sector. 

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Join the Global YPARD Café in Yerevan, Armenia

The Armenian chapter of the Young Professionals for Agricultural Development (YPARD) is organizing a Global YPARD Café in Yerevan on 29 November 2020 at the IRIS Social Incubator Centre. The café aims to promote modern and clean agriculture and to ensure the sustainable income and financial security of our beneficiaries. This is an exceptional opportunity for the young professionals to develop new skills and capabilities, to be engaged in a highly professional network and to be informed on recent developments in order to remain competitive for developing agricultural fields in Armenia.

This is the best opportunity for the Armenian youth to become a part of the YPARD Armenia team, as well as to present their innovative projects and activities to the public.

Thus, the Global YPARD Café in Yerevan is being held in Armenia for the first time! To participate, you need to fill out the application form at: ( https://forms.gle/rqZPZrxTRcXgk8TFA )

There are 2 opportunities to participate:

  1. participate as a presenter and be chosen as one of the 5 success stories. Submit your success story at https://bit.ly/33awKy4
  2. participate as a Cafe? member by registering at https://bit.ly/33awKy4

The 5 selected projects will present their ideas and will have the opportunity to publish a blog on the global YPARD platform www.ypard.net.

The participants are chosen based on the following criteria:

  • exceptional experience,
  • innovative ideas,
  • impact on nature and climate change,
  • project/idea sustainability.

This is a great chance for young people to get familiar with the YPARD international platform, present their ideas and views in the field of agriculture and become a part of future programs and events.

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Combating food insecurity amid COVID-19

The novel coronavirus, also known as COVID-19 has taken the lives of hundreds of thousands of people globally to date. While we are dealing with this unprecedented pandemic, it is alarming that a higher number of people are and will be affected by a lack of food availability. Besides, political instability, natural disasters, unemployment and migration for ages have challenged Nepal to be sustainable and self- sufficient more than ever.

After the outbreak of COVID-19, the Government of Nepal regulated nationwide lockdown starting from 24 March to 21 July 2020. While this step could control the virus transmission, the restricted measures hurdled markets, industries, schools, businesses, offices and transportations. Among all, this containment hits the food-supply chain the hardest. The lockdown measures severely impacted smallholder Nepali farmers as they could not sell their productions to the consumers.

Moreover, it was distressing to see the deliberate dumping of tons of foods like fresh seasonal foods, eggs and gallons of milk due to misleading or lack of information on food safety during COVID-19. The COVID-19 also generated a loss of jobs and lesser income affecting about 30% of households in Nepal. According to the World Food Program Report 2020, 23% of households had inadequate food consumption and 7% of which had poor dietary diversity. 

Here, I summarize my view on some initiatives taken by the Government of Nepal and allied agencies or groups to combat COVID-19 in Nepal. The present situation is very unpredictable; however, we can make the situation better for vulnerable communities if we work together.

Government’s pandemic emergency response

The Government of Nepal could play a maximum role in ensuring safe and sufficient food for everybody in the country. The government should prioritize in making the food system as an “essential service” so that the starvation would not prevail over COVID-19. The current food relief package by Nepal Government is a very good initiative to address the low income and daily waged families. Besides, for the “sustainable food system,” the smart food trade agreements, food system management, proper financial chop offs, emergency funds and relief packages for smallholder farmers and agri/food –businesses industries some major concern. It is also crucial to spread awareness of food safety and nutrition during the pandemic. 

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How do we feed the world sustainably?

According to FAO, by 2050 the world’s population will reach 9.1 billion 34% higher than today thus. Nearly all this population will occur in developing countries. Therefore, there is a need to find solutions on how much more food can be grown sustainably to carter for the rising population. Researchers are trying to find solutions that can best address ways to ensure healthy diets for a burgeoning world population while improving the planet.  For this to be achieved it requires changes to farming and how we produce our food. However, suggestions made brings with its greater challenges than any of our thoughts- it requires greater sacrifices.

Agriculture already uses almost half of the world forestry. Consumes up to 90 per cent of the water used by humanity and it generates one-quarter of the annual global emissions that lead to global warming. Yet 820 million out of the 7 billion habitants living today are undernourished simply because they cannot afford or do not have access to an adequate diet. Therefore, there is a need to produce more food in a more sustainable way (avoiding deforestation and cut carbon emission for food production among other issues).

Many scientists have calculated that the world population cannot exceed 2 billion for it to be sustainable. But with an alarming rate of increasing world population requires us to manage our resources and food production more wisely as the population increase farming becomes more intensified to carter for the growing population. In this era, however, many considered organic farming as a sustainable way of farming, but it is used only 1 per cent of the world population. Organic farming focuses on sustainability and betterment of the environment. It is proposed as an alternative for conventional agriculture to encounter all the environmental problems that we are facing now. 

In organic farming, there is no need to use fertilisers, pesticides, herbicides, and any other additives. It requires farmers to use natural ways of farming, this may reduce yields levels, but the farmers can sell the final product on a better price since the consumer believes the product is of good quality instead of that produced from the use of fertilisers. Organic farming cannot only produce quality food but improves the soil structure as the farmer minimize the chemical contents added into the soil. However, it difficult for the farmer to control the mineral content but in the soil, crop rotation can be used to reduce the building up of diseases into the soil and to strengthen the soil composition. For instance, crops such as peas help in nitrogen fixation making the soil more fertile as a result farmers rotate different crops on the same piece of land. Growing multiple crops is efficient and produce more yields than single crop, this system is used in organic farming methods. This system is about environmentally friendly it is chemical free but labour intensive.

Organic farming is not a perfect solution to a sustainable environment it has it on disadvantages it can lead to deforestation because it requires more land to stain the growing population. According to reported research to produce organic milk it requires 80% of land more than conventional farming which the world cannot afford. Some farms require more water than conventional farming which can lead to water scarcity, but overall organic farming is better than conventional farming, but we need to balance both the environment and the requirements of food production.

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COVID-19 and agriculture in Nepal

Farming in Nepal has been severely affected by the COVID-19 transmission, enforced lockdown and mandatory physical distancing. Farmers feel devastated as they are unable to harvest and market their products, which have led to a movement to dump milk, vegetables, fruits, chickens, and egg on the road.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development of Nepal has established a digital market and declared a 25 per cent subsidy on the transport of agricultural products, considering the COVID 2019 crisis. Similarly, an initiative of the “agriculture ambulance” brought in by Province-5 of Nepal for transportation and marketing of agricultural products can prove to be a real life-saver in this pandemic situation. Furthermore, the Government of Nepal has envisioned the preparedness and response plans to COVID-19 for the Fiscal Year 2020/2021.

Recently, the Agriculture and Forestry University (AFU), Chitwan, Nepal, has prepared guidelines for online teaching and declared to adopt such practices. It may be challenging in the Nepalese context, but students, faculties, and staff have expressed their commitment to continue teaching and learning amidst the obstacles.

Moreover, to prevent COVID-19 from spreading, AFU has been producing Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) based hand sanitizer and distributed it to farmers and traders of university neighbouring villages. To meet the challenge of short supply during the lockdown period, the AFU Farm Directorate, with the support of the Delivering Genetic Gain in Wheat Project funded by the Gates Foundation, is collecting improved seed of wheat and paddy, and selling them at a reasonable price to seed entrepreneurs.
The youth’ perspective

An assessment of the impact of COVID-19 on farming is urgently needed in Nepal to explain potential food crisis and propose solutions. Furthermore, the government should promote the use of local and improved seeds. If provinces can ensure marketing by investing in farmers’ seed production, the current seed dependency on imports would be reduced. 

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Building Back Better: Understanding the three R’s of Bushfires

The existing climate aberrations and shift in land use patterns have exacerbated numerous climate perils such as drought, heatwaves, floods, and wildfires. It is fair enough to say that these actions have brought nature to its tipping point and thus placing the species diversity at stake. Bushfires have made it to the headlines several times in recent years. The series of devastating bushfire events in Australia, California, and the Amazon Rainforest have made us realize how nature reciprocates when human administered actions rule the earth. The UN reports indicate that between 2005 and 2015, nearly 700,000 people have lost their lives to disasters worldwide.  

 

Bushfires are naturally occurring flames that burn through forests, bushland, and scrubland. The regions that are prone to bushfires hold a larger share of vegetation that is combustible. For instance, natural oils present in Eucalyptus support combustibility. Therefore, having a deeper understanding of the landscape and topography is essential to formulate a sound resilience plan.  

 

Now let us look into the three R's of bushfire - Relief, Recovery, and Resilience  

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Agriculture and food production of Nepal under COVID-19

Nepal is a country where the economy is dominated by agriculture. Out of its total population, around 60% are engaged in agriculture (NPC, 2017). Farming in Nepal is mostly subsistence where agricultural crops and livestock are integrated. Even though both organic and inorganic practices of farming are widely followed in Nepal, inorganic farming is predominant.

The Government of Nepal has enforced lockdown since the last week of March 2020 to prevent spreading of the disease due to the current situation of the COVID-19. The pandemic has led to a drastic change in the economy of the country, affecting the lifestyle of people, health, education, markets, industries and tourism sector. 

The agriculture sector has faced the utmost effect with the unavailability of agricultural inputs like seed, fertilizers, pesticides, machineries, agricultural tools and lack of adequate labour management. Similarly, due to disturbance in the transportation system, harvested food products in some rural areas are going to waste due to a shortage of proper market facilities.

Nepal mainly depends upon imports from foreign countries to meet the demands of agricultural products. For instance, import of cereals stood at 13,343 tons in the first week of lockdown which has nearly doubled to 24,365 tons as of the eighth week of the lockdown. For the reduction of trade deficit situation, Nepal can primarily focus on the agriculture sector by moving towards food self-sufficiency which is defined as the extent to which a country can satisfy its own food needs from its domestic production without buying or importing.

Food self-sufficiency can be achieved from different level including individual level to the local level and then to the national level. Farmers from an individual level can make remarkable contributions to maintain the food self-sufficiency by adopting innovative techniques to increase production. Farmers can adopt climate-resilient agriculture, mechanized agriculture, permaculture, system of rice intensification (SRI) for increasing yield of rice production with fewer inputs, rainwater harvest and smart method of irrigation like drip irrigation in places where there is a scarcity of water. Bio-intensive agriculture can be followed which is an organic agricultural system that focuses on achieving maximum yield while increasing biodiversity and maintaining the fertility of the soil.

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Why are women so important to agriculture?

Education is the key to a successful society; If you educate a woman, you have an educated society.

Imagine a planet where farmers, particularly the rural African women, learn, know how to and produce highly nutritious food. This would considerably bring positive impacts on health, nutrition and additionally increase farmer’s income. Women play a significant role in society, in food security; they are the backbone of the rural economy, especially in the developing world.

I believe it is time to act on empowering the society especially women rather than to spend more time on policymaking while millions of people go to bed hungry. There is the need to go beyond policy initiates and place more focus on the ground action. FAO initiative action promotes gender equality as a fundamental human right and an essential means of achieving its development goals of sustainable rural development, food security and nutrition. FAO’s objective is to achieve equality between women and men in access to resources, services, production and in decision-making, to promote sustainable agricultural production, food security and rural development.

According to President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) during the opening plenary of the Committee on World Security (CFS); To ensure nutritious food accessible to everyone and transform rural areas to places where there is hope for the future. Empowering and investing in rural women was to be considered a way to go. Over the years, women have proved to be productive in rural livelihoods. In most developing countries, women are responsible for nutrition and food security at the household level. Yet, they are not well recognised instead they hold the smallest percentage of land.

On average, about 43% of the agricultural labour force in developing countries are women, according to research by the FAO Gender Department. Whilst 79% of these women largely depend on agriculture as their primary source of income. Most households are directed by women yet their access to productive resources is limited. On the other hand, the effects of climate change make all the customary responsibilities of the women uncertain and risky, yet they have no voice in decision making processes on policies regarding the environment.

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Agriculture and COVID-19: problems and opportunities

Agriculture is the backbone of the Nepals’ economy. 

About 60.4% of the total population of Nepal is dependent on agriculture contributing to 31.7% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). However, the agricultural sector is affected by various factors of low productivity, climate change, and lack of inputs and mechanization. 

In the current situational crisis of worldwide lockdown due to COVID-19, Nepal government has announced an enforced lockdown since 24th March 2020. This has aroused a worse situation in Nepal decreasing the country's GDP. The COVID-19 has affected the food supply chains and markets of Nepal. This has led to a direct effect on peoples’ day to day activities with disruption of consumption of nutritious and sufficient food. 

People are compelled to buy vegetables in higher amounts. The income of the households who depend on daily wage has been decreased which tends to increase food insecurity of individuals. Similarly, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought significant effects on both production of agricultural products and its consumption due to shortage of agri-inputs. In addition, the lack of labour in the lockdown has affected the harvest of standing crops, sowing and transplanting of paddy that can reduce the products. Commercial farmers are also facing challenges to sell their products in the market and agricultural products are being wasted/destroyed and rotten on the field. 

COVID-19 pandemic has caused an irreparable loss of mankind all over the world. In the meantime, the pandemic has affected different sectors from health, education, agriculture, tourism, infrastructure etc. The poor and daily waged people are mostly affected and vulnerable in Nepal. The agricultural product industries are also affected as they are badly hampered by the availability of the labour who works on a daily basis. In such a crisis, it is utmost that an individual develops a resilient power to adapt to the changing context and conserve the existing food system during prolonged lockdown and disruptions of the food system. 

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Welcoming YPARD Peru country representative: Marcelita Ponce de León

We are delighted to welcome the new YPARD Peru country representative, Marcelita Ponce de León.

Marcelita is a graduate with a Bachelor’s degree in Agronomic Engineering from the National Agrarian University La Molina. She began her professional career as an intern in government programs. This allowed her to have contact with different rural communities from cultures that promoted ancestral knowledge for the conservation of native cocoa species.

Upon returning to Lima, Marcelita decided to study Business Administration at the Peruvian Institute of Business Administration to complement her formation as an Agronomist. Later, she had the opportunity to be selected by the United Nations Training Program called "Youth for the SDGs". This experience gave her the opportunity to be part of the Fund for Sustainable Access to Renewable Thermal Energy that the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture was executing in rural areas. Through this, she had the opportunity to research the introduction of floral species and the use of biofertilizers produced through anaerobic processes.

Then she worked as a technical facilitator at the Institute of Development and Environment that executes a program of Canadian cooperation – SUCO – which seeks to improve the quality of life of young people in rural areas in the region of Lima. The program name is “Agrarian training program and support for youth entrepreneurship in Peru”.

In 2019, Marcelita was chosen to represent YPARD Peruvian Chapter as a fellow of the Community Solutions professional exchange program from the United States Government. This experience allowed her to be an intern at Rural Action, a non-profit organization, where she could learn and share knowledge related to the production and marketing of fresh food in Ohio. At the same time, she obtained a diploma in Community Leadership with the support of the Community Leadership Institute and George Mason University.

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Highlights of Webinarthon: Stay home learn more

The government of Nepal initiated nationwide lockdown from March 24 as the preventive measure during the Corona Virus Outbreak. 

The duration of lockdown is uncertain as it was initially for 21 days but it’s hampering day to day activities like study, work and others. For students, it might be frustrating because the research works are directly affected but still, the lockdown was fruitful as YPARD Nepal facilitated a webinar. The webinar was jointly organized by YPARD Nepal, CliMates Nepal, IAAS Nepal and IVSA Nepal.

I happened to join this webinar from the notice published on YPARD Nepal group and I also invited many youths from different fields with the common motto of connecting to each other to learn and share knowledge. The session encompassed current affairs and its relation to different fields like veterinary, agriculture, food science and forestry by many dignified and respective personage in the respective field.

The webinar was scheduled from April 22 to April 26 followed by Q&A sessions every day. On the first day, there was an introduction to the different networks i.e. YPARD Nepal, IAAS Nepal, CliMates Nepal and IVSA Nepal along with the information on their interactions and opportunities. 

We got to know about their activities and interactions among different networks for the creation of possible opportunities and solution to different problems. Similarly, Day 2 was joined by Dr. Rebanta Kumar Bhattarai who is currently lecturing in Agriculture and Forestry University and Mr. Santosh Pokharel, an inspiring entrepreneur who runs a business in the dairy industry presented on “Impact of Corona on Animal Health and Consumption Pattern and Measures to prevent it” and “Impact of COVID-19 on Dairy Industry” respectively. 

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Online game changer course in sustainability

“I will breathe no matter what; the question is whether the human will breathe or not. I leave this decision up to you” – the message to Humanity from Mother Earth, commonly known as COVID-19.

Thus, what will be our choice?

That was one of the questions we discussed during our small group meetings as part of the “Game Changer Course” organized by Pachamama Alliance. A not-for-profit organization based in the United States and Ecuador that works with indigenous people of the Amazon to preserve the rainforest and their way of life. Using insights from that work, Pachamama Alliance partners with people in the modern world who are dedicated to creating an environmentally sustainable, spiritually fulfilling, socially just human presence on this planet. The Game Changer course covers 8 modules about climate change, democracy, social justice, and so on. It touches both – personal, describing qualities of game changer and principles of spiritual leadership and systemic levels by presenting different movements that currently exist and explaining how everyone can be involved in and by underlining that the actual change is possible only due to the interconnection and combined actions.

One of these movements is drawdown, the point in time when greenhouse gases peak and begin to go down on a year to year basis. The community of scientists evaluated the impact of 100 solutions to reduce CO2 emission in order to reverse global warming. They also calculated the costs and benefits of its implementation and gave an approximate time-frame. You would be really surprised what came out as the results of the top solutions towards global warming reverse and the four levels on which these solutions can be implemented. Besides, you will also find a food calculator and understand how much CO2 release costs your dinner!

The course Game Changer is interactive, it contains a lot of videos by main players of the sector and materials for reading, useful websites, links to go deeper and curious facts for your delight. Besides the updated, synthetic and valuable materials, it offers the opportunity to connect with other participants during community life-calls and weekly small group meetings. During the group gatherings, you can share your ideas, discuss topical questions and, most important, meet people from across the globe, connect with them, enrich each other and dive into this journey of change together. The life gathering gives you an idea of what projects towards a more sustainable and justice world are performed in different countries, get insights, a-ha moments, feel inspired and optimistic about the change which is possible. 

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Chiya Guff: A tea talk

“Chiya Guff with an entrepreneur” is an interactive program designed to motivate all those youths who aspire to become an entrepreneur by conveying the persistent efforts of successful entrepreneurs. 

The first episode of this program with the collaborative support of YPARD Nepal and The Entrepreneurship Club (ERC) at Institute of Engineering Purwanchal Campus on 2nd February 2020. The chief guest of the program was Er. Sameer Shakya (Deputy Head, Department of Agricultural Engineering).

The guest speakers of the program Mr. Bibek Khatiwada the-CEO and Mr.Ramesh Thapa  Marketing head of the Nebula Food Production Pvt. Ltd respectively shared the journey they walked to be an entrepreneur.

Mr. Khatiwada's life experience was a source of inspiration for the participants. His self-confidence and his vision to be a successful entrepreneur make him a visionary. He started his entrepreneurship journey after graduating from B. Tech. in Food Technology.  The Nebula Food Production Pvt. Ltd is the result of the persistent effort of Mr. Khatiwada and his team. So far Nebula has a good market share. It has successfully opened its dealers in different parts of the country. From the eastern part of the country to the west, there is a good demand for their products. 

Mr. Khatiwada says,'' If you have a vision and will power you can achieve what you want in your life. The Nebula Food Company is a result of the specific and distinctive vision, hard works, teamwork, and patience.  He further added that patience is a virtue that leads to success. He said that " Our products had low demand during the starting periods. We even faced losses. Gradually we started gaining consumer trust for our products. We are generating good profit margins too.” He explained that success is possible if you faced and overcome the complicated ordeal.

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Welcoming a new YPARD Steering Committee member: Jorrit Kiewik

We are delighted to welcome a new steering committee member: Jorrit Kiewik.

Jorrit Kiewik is the newest add-on to the YPARD Steering Committee team. Jorrit is a graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Entrepreneurship and is finalizing his master’s program in Communication, Health & Life Sciences at Wageningen University.

Jorrit has been working as the director of Slow Food Youth Network (SFYN) in The Netherlands for four years, prior to founding the SFYN Global Office. As the executive director, he is leading the team coordinating approximately 250 communities around the world. Jorrit grew up on a small-scale dairy farm in the eastern part of The Netherlands, which he and his family are currently is developing into a future proof farm with a closed circular system and focus on plant-based proteins. 

Previously he has been working for Het Portaal, a communication office working on sustainable communities, where he was community manager of “The Milk Story” an on- and offline platform targeted at the enhancement of sustainability within the dairy sector. With “The Milk Story”, Jorrit and his team won the Digital Communication Awards for ‘Best Blog 2015-2016’.

At the account of joining YPARD as an SC member, this is what Jorrit had to say;

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Future of maize: Introduce hybrid varieties

When you buy popcorn in a movie theatre, maize cobs from a street vendor and a meal which comes from processing maize as feed, we should be thankful to the farmers. 

They are men and women who battle against the unpredictable weather and invasive insects and bring food from the field to our fork. I have been hearing that agriculture is the government’s priority since I was a child. The 6th five-year plan (1980-1985) focussed on attaining food self-sufficiently in the hills, including maize, but still, there is not much progress. The productivity of maize, the main cereal crop after rice and a promising cash crop, started increasing slowly and constantly after 1985. From 1.5 tons per hectare in 1985, productivity reached 1.6 tons in 1990/91 and 2.6 tons in 2018/19.

A recently released statistical information by the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development (MoALD) shows that maize is grown on 954,000 hectares (25% of the total area of cereals), which was 758,000 ha in 1985.

In three decades of efforts, productivity has increased by around 1% every year. However, the overall demand for maize is expected to grow by 4-6% every year for the next 20 years. The major hindrance to growing more is an inefficient production system.

Maize is being used for feed, food, fuel and fibre. The increasing demand for maize comes from the growing need for poultry feed. Some 80% of maize consumption in Nepal is due to poultry and animal feed. The domestic production can meet only 30% of current demand. India exported 5 million tons of feed and maize seeds to Nepal in 2018/19.

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Regional consultative meeting on biodiversity mainstreaming

To increase awareness on the importance of biodiversity mainstreaming across the agriculture and allied sectors three days “Regional Consultative Meeting on Biodiversity Mainstreaming across Agricultural sectors - Asia and the Pacific” was held from 17 to 19 July 2019 in Bangkok, Thailand. 

The consultative meeting was co-organized by Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Secretariat, in collaboration with CBD, the Biodiversity-based Economy Development Office (BEDO), the Office of National Resources and Environment Policy and Planning (ONEP) and Government of Thailand. Altogether 150 participants joined the meeting, representing government officials, international agencies, NGOs, private sectors, academicians, research institutions and farmers’ organizations from countries across the region.

The programme was inaugurated by high-level segment participation of His Excellency Ohn Winn, Minister of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation, Myanmar highlighting on the integrated approach applied in the biodiversity mainstreaming. His Excellency Dasho Rinzin Dorji, Honorable Secretary for the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests of Bhutan presented a concept for Bhutan for Life having two hundred and eighty key performance for the next fourteen years. 

Similarly, His Excellency Ambassador Mohammad Hossein Emadi, Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the FAO shared that “food is the driver of the whole agricultural ecosystem.” He further elaborated that strong political will and commitment in national and international sectors are utmost and therefore, there was an urgency for new ways of synchronization and harmonization for action at national and international levels for biodiversity mainstreaming.

There were thematic plenary sessions in the consultative meeting covering the topics, highlighting post-2020 global biodiversity framework, biodiversity mainstreaming in practice, conservation and mainstreaming of biodiversity in fisheries and aquaculture sectors and mainstreaming biodiversity through Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS). 

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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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