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Announcing the new YPARD representation in the EFARD management team

In a bid to ensure a diverse representation of young people in various executive meetings and committees YPARD has nominated Bledar Meta, YPARD Albania country representative as the new YPARD Representative in the new European Forum on Agricultural Research for Development (EFARD) management team.

What is the European Forum on Agricultural Research for Development (EFARD)?

EFARD is an umbrella network of European research and non- research stakeholders from the public and private European organisations and the European Commission. Its aim is to strengthen the contribution in poverty alleviation, food security, and sustainable development in developing countries by providing a platform for strategic dialogue among European stakeholders to promote research partnerships between European and Southern research communities. EFARD follows the principles of the Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR) and contributes to GFAR’s Global Plan of Action, in partnership with the other GFAR regional fora.

The EFARD management team is made up of 5-6 persons; the Chair, Vice-Chair and Executive Secretary and 2-3 other members representing a broad range of stakeholder groups and national for an of member countries. Aligning with the same mission, YPARD has been represented in the EFARD management team for several years, in fact, the 2016 EFARD Annual Technical and Business Meeting was hosted by the YPARD Europe Regional headquarters (Klick on the LINK to read all about this event).

The first YPARD representative was André Stucki a member of YPARD Switzerland and later Rahel Wyss, YPARD Switzerland country representative and recently by Kristina Kuznetsova the YPARD Ukraine country representative. We are now delighted to introduce Bledar as the new YPARDiand who will carry on with YPARD’s work with EFARD.

Get to know Bledar and his role in the EFARD management team

Bledar has completed his Bachelor studies at the Agricultural University of Tirana, Faculty of Economics and Agribusiness, at the Agribusiness Management branch. After graduating, he participated in various training courses, one of which was training for Enterprise Management in Vienna-Austria, at the Institute of Professional Training “WIFI Austria”. He graduated from Szent Istvan University in Gödöll?, Budapest-Hungary with a master's degree in Rural Development and Agribusiness.

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  • Albania
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Cooltivando: A youth-led initiative that empowers rural families

Cooltivando was founded in 2019, in the metropolitan region of Curitiba (South Brazil).

It supports small-holder, family farmers in the management of their produce. The first digital product we launched for validation was the so-called “Field Notebook” (Caderno de Campo, in Portuguese), a digital tool that aimed to support producers to record and keep track of all actions related to food production. However, the tool trials showed us that the producers found it a little difficult to operate. Therefore, we decided to reach out to them and hear more about their needs and understand what we could develop to make their lives in the field more comfortable and better.

After extensive field research, we have concluded that our region’s family farmers’ biggest struggle was access to markets. Hence, since then, we in Cooltivando have focused our entire team’s efforts on tackling that issue. We thus developed different ways and methodologies to facilitate direct sales to individual consumers and organizations, empowering farmers as the real protagonists of the selling process. In this context, in 2019, we kick-started a project to facilitate the direct sales of produce to hospitals.

Beyond amplifying market access, which we soon realized was not enough to guarantee local farms’ financial sustainability, we have also been steering our attention towards better understanding how to support small-holder farmers by promoting self-sufficiency, income generation, and sound production management.

In 2019, we were also accepted into the Fundação Econômica VIVO’s business incubator programme (Spain), through which we applied for funding and raised over BRL 20,000.00 in investments towards field research and product development. Thanks to that, we developed Cooltivando’s digital inclusion methodology (encompassing training and tools). We understand that new digital tools and training enable rural communities to manage their production in a more independent, efficient way.

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  • Brazil
  • Promote agriculture among young people
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Welcoming YPARD Costa Rica Country Representative: Manuela Gil Echeverria

YPARD is delighted to welcome Manuela Gil Echeverria as the new Country Representative for Costa Rica. 

Manuela is a passionate agronomist with a master’s degree in Sustainable Business Development, graduated from EARTH University in 2013 and CATIE in 2017. 

She currently works for EARTH University in the extension project unit called EARTH Futures where she is responsible for supporting smallholder farmers to better access markets and works on the empowerment of women, youth, and farmers in agriculture. 

In the last 7 years, she has worked in different areas such as organic food production, ornamental plant exports, and the Fairtrade Certification System as a certification analyst at the Latin American Office for FLOCERT. She also worked at PROCOMER, Costa Rica's trade promotion agency where her role was to impact value chains nationwide through the promotion of commercial linkages in the agricultural sector.

Since her studies, Manuela has always been interested in sustainable agricultural systems and is the reason for her to travel and get to know new communities. She had the opportunity to work at Kyusei Nature Farming Center, in Thailand where she was involved in different agricultural activities based on organic production. Manuela conducted her master's thesis research on value chains and inclusive businesses at Fazenda da Toca in Brazil where they practice big-scale agroforestry, organic egg production and sustainable education. 

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  • Costa Rica
  • Sharing Information and connecting people
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100 solutions for 1 problem: feeding the hungry planet

As someone who has enough food to eat on their plate every day, the fact that over 820 million people around the world still suffer from different forms of hunger horrifies me. This concern increases since the global population continues to rapidly increase while arable land decreases.

To address this concern, Bayer Crop Science aims to empower the next generation of agricultural leaders by bringing together 100 young minds from 45 different countries for the Youth Ag Summit (YAS). After months of intensive preparations, the Summit was held in Brasilia, Brazil for three days in November 2019.

Brazil as the location for the Summit was one of my motivating factors to apply as a YAS delegate since it is home to the world’s largest tropical rain forest, the Amazon, and is a nation that proves its exemplary agricultural practices by being one of the biggest food exporters. My excitement doubled when I discovered that I would share my project idea among my fellow delegates, mentors and organizers. In May 2019, I became one step closer to helping eliminate world hunger when I secured a place among the 99 other young innovators chosen as a YAS delegate. I felt so lucky!

“Thrive for change” projects

Thrive for change is the highlight of the Summit where each delegate presents their individual ideas for a food-secure planet. The YAS delegates were divided into 10 different groups according to our areas of interest and introduced to their respective mentors. These groups worked together to brush up the individual delegate’s work for the final pitch presentation.

The “SIGA” group: Embracing the latest agricultural innovations

Synergic Innovation for Global Agriculture (SIGA) was the group that I was assigned to along with nine other delegates and two mentors. As the name suggests, we are a group of youths who are working on or have ideas related to agricultural innovation. I was amazed by how brilliant and noteworthy the ideas were that each of us had. From nitrogen-fixing bacteria in soil by Kalinka Gonzales (Brazil) to using robotics in agriculture by Hector Garcia (Mexico), everybody’s solutions to food security were intriguing. Sara Waqar’s (Pakistan) idea of empowering rural farmers by making funding more accessible and Andre Tomas Herman’s (Brazil) solution of scientific knowledge sharing in native languages were simple — yet impactful — project ideas.

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  • Nepal
  • Promote agriculture among young people
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Launching Global YPARD Café: call for project proposals

Young Professionals for Agricultural Development (YPARD) is organizing the first-ever Global YPARD Café from the 16th to 30th of November 2020. The YPARD Café within the YPARD Country Chapters has been a platform for discourse by Young Professionals on key youth issues in sustainable food systems. This has been an engagement, which highlights youth’s perspectives on the issues as well as the bottlenecks of youth’s contribution to sustainable food systems within the countries and the way forward.

Across the globe, the progressively changing times in the wake of the COVID-19 situation have compounded the challenges facing youth engagement in agriculture. It is against this background that YPARD seeks to hold the global forum dubbed the Global YPARD Café: Youth Engagement in Agribusiness Post-Covid 19. This is aimed at informing the focus of youth engagement in contemporary times through fostering interaction between youth and experts in agriculture and agribusiness about opportunities for enhancing youth employability and contributions to socio-economic recovery. Additionally, the café offers opportunities for young professionals to highlight emerging innovations within the intersection of income-generation opportunities and sustainable food systems, which can enable needed post-covid 19 recoveries in our society

Objectives and outputs:

The objective of the Global YPARD Café is to bring together Young Professionals and experts on youth engagement within the YPARD country chapters across the globe to dialogue on issues of youth interest agricultural interest. This is to position the youth themselves as influencers in the strategic direction of youth engagement in sustainable systems within the countries, in the region and on the continent at large. 

The Global YPARD Café will result in the following:  

  • Strengthen linkages and collaboration between local institutions and stakeholders of youth engagement in sustainable food systems,
  • Identification of policy-relevant advice to enable the scaling up of innovative employment opportunities in sustainable food systems value chain and
  • Highlight and promote best practices in agribusiness and other youth employment opportunities.

The expected outputs of the Global YPARD Café are:

  • Blog posts from the proceedings of each event (identifying innovative youth employment opportunities in the country, approaches to scale up innovative youth employment opportunities and key policy advises to strengthen covid-19 recovery through youth employment)
  • Live commentaries of the Café (someone live-tweeting using the country chapter/YPARD media channel)
  • Regional synthesis as a regional report on the proceedings of the events- also showcasing some success stories of young agricultural leaders featured on the events. This will later inform the development of a global knowledge product
  • Increased engagement on Country Chapter media pages
  • (Increase in the number of country-based Social media pages/ members registered with YPARD).

The YPARD Global Café is open to discussions on themes related to:  

  • Existing and innovative youth employment opportunities including agribusiness approaches and related challenges, opportunities for scaling up and relevant policy advise. agribusiness approaches and related challenges/ opportunities
  • Improvement of youth employability and skills for different forms of engagement and income-generation in the sustainable food systems value chain.

Participants of the Global YPARD Café are: 

  1. members of the YPARD network on the country levels
  2. partner youth networks and actors in the agricultural sector
  3. youth-focused organizations or networks

Expectations from participating Country Chapters:

Participating country chapters will be selected through a competitive process.

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  • Italy
  • Promote agriculture among young people
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SLU’s DeVilag Team Kicks Off its Training Programme

This is article was jointly written by Assem A. Hatab and  Ebba Engström.

Egypt's food and agricultural systems are increasingly facing serious environmental and socioeconomic challenges, which raise major concerns for sustainable development. Building more sustainable agricultural systems, which account for climate change developments and which can feed a growing population, has thus, gained increasing relevance to policy and policy practice in Egypt. To guide and facilitate an agricultural transformation process, structural reforms in higher education in Egypt are required to produce a workforce that has the capacity to build and strengthen the resilience of food- and agricultural systems.

In this respect, the EU co-funded Erasmus+ Project (DeVilag), titled "Steering Migration through Sustainable Development: Euro-Egyptian Program for Agriculture and Rural Development", aims to support the Egyptian rural community with qualified graduates, who can improve agricultural productivity and enable furthered sustainable food production. DeVilag is a collaborative project between European and Egyptian universities. The European universities are RWTH Aachen (RWTH) in Germany, the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) in Sweden, and the University of Nicosia (UNIC) in Cyprus. The Egyptian partner universities include Cairo University, Fayoum University, Heliopolis University and the American University in Cairo. More so, the project involves other relevant stakeholders and end-users in Egypt (Bibliotheca Alexandrina, Agricultural Research Center, Lotus for Organic Products, and ISIS for Food Industries LTD).

Within this project, the SLU team, represented by Dr. Assem Abu Hatab (Project Coordinator) and Ebba Engström (Project Officer) from the Institution of Economics, holds the responsibility of developing and implementing a capacity-building program to equip the teaching staff of DeVilag's Egyptian partner universities with knowledge and pedagogical skills. This should enable them to effectively address different dimensions of sustainable agricultural- and rural development, specifically as part of newly developed and modified courses that are part of the DeVilag project. The capacity-building programme is constituted by training workshops held by SLU, RWTH and UNIC- which were originally supposed to be completely hosted in-person at the given European institutions. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting mobility restrictions, the first set of workshops held by each institution have had to be split into an online- and an on-site component.

Between the 12th and 19th of August 2020, SLU hosted the online component of its first training workshop, which consisted of four webinar sessions. These webinar sessions were designed and held by contributors external to the DeVilag group, who are based at SLU, Wageningen University and Research, and the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD). Dr Linley Chiwona Karltun, Associate Professor at SLU, kicked off the sessions with her webinar on nutrition and food security, providing gender perspectives on the topic. The second session was held by Dr Julia Höhler from Wageningen University, who provided insight into the analysis and mapping of agri-food value chains, and was followed by Vivek Voora, Associate at the IISD, who gave his presentation on the role of global trade in the expansion of agricultural commodities. The set of sessions were finished off by SLU’s own Dr Enoch Owusu Sekyere, post-doctor at the Department of Economics, who discussed the topic of the economics of water and water use within agriculture. In total, 22 candidates who are to attend the on-site session in Sweden, as well as some additional participants, took part in the training programme.

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  • Egypt
  • Access to resources and capacity building
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Welcoming YPARD Mexico Country Representative: Horacio Rodríguez Vázquez

YPARD is delighted to welcome Horacio Rodríguez Vázquez as the new Country Representative for Mexico. 

Horacio is a graduate with a certificate in Systems Transformation from Stanford University, a Master’s degree in International Cooperation for Development from Instituto de Investigaciones Dr. José María Luis Mora and a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Engineering from Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey. He was recognized as Mexico’s Best National Agricultural Engineering Graduate in 2005 by the National Association of Engineering Schools and Faculties (ANFEI).

Horacio has 15 years of international development experience in sustainable agriculture and food security, with the past 10 dedicated to leading multi-stakeholder agriculture innovation platforms across Latin America and the Caribbean. 

He is currently Senior Manager of Operations and Impact at Scale at the International Potato Center (CIP). His responsibilities include the design of a regional strategy for Impact at Scale including through private sector engagement, governmental alliances and other partnerships; making sure all activities and projects in Latin America and the Caribbean incorporate a systems innovation approach that allows youth, women and indigenous peoples to take ownership as active agents in the innovation process.

Horacio joined CIP in 2019 after working 4 years at The Nature Conservancy (TNC) as Climate and Food Security Coordinator for Latin America. At TNC, Horacio coordinated multi-year, multi-country programs like the Mexico REDD+ Program, AgroLAC2025 and the Resilient Central America Program (ResCA), and provided support on the design and implementation of Green Growth Compacts in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala, and Mexico: public-private territorial agreements to comply with international commitments, such as the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and the 2030 Agenda.

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  • Mexico
  • Sharing Information and connecting people
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Welcoming YPARD Grenada country representative: Bevon Chadel Charles

We are delighted to welcome the YPARD Grenada representative, Bevon Chadel Charles

Bevon is a passionate agriculture enthusiast, farmer and active entrepreneur. She is CEO and Founder of Akata Farms an integrated self-sustainable farm located in Grenada. Akata Farms though in its early stages aims at strengthening Grenada's export capacity, to end hunger and develop a sustainable agricultural sector. Her interests not only lie in developing a robust entrepreneurial sphere in Grenada and the Caribbean but also creating solutions to the agriculture and manufacturing industries in her country. She believes Grenada has the opportunities to sustain its self while at the same time achieving its national sustainable development goals, ending hunger and poverty, growing rural communities that will, in turn, enhance the livelihoods of its people and maximizing global markets. ICT, innovations in hydroponics, freight farming, AI Technology, Protein engineering and Nanotechnology as it regards to improving agricultural production and food security are also some of the fields of research and implementation she is working on. 

Bevon apart from her intensive entrepreneurial and business development background also has an extensive education and training acumen. She studied international business and marketing at the St. George’s University (SGU) in Grenada, Social Sciences from TA. Marry show Community College (TAMC) and has several certifications in Sustainable Development, Finance, Communication, Agriculture and Land Management from Coursera. Her aptitude for personal development enabled her to be one of 14 Caribbean Entrepreneurs to be chosen for the Caribbean Youth Entrepreneur Programme

Bevon has worked closely with many organisations and entities to foster rapid change in addressing the agricultural sector in Grenada. 

“There need to be stronger agriculture cooperatives, a unified farmer’s network that encapsulate all stakeholders. To bridge the gap between youth and agriculture, there must be opportunities for growth and development. Farmers need access to lands, which must be accessible. They need available resources and funding and development of markets“. 

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  • Grenada
  • Sharing Information and connecting people
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Welcoming YPARD Tanzania representative: Peter Heri Mlay

We are delighted to welcome the new YPARD Tanzania representative Peter Heri Mlay.

Peter possesses professional agronomy skills which he acquired through experience in the field of agricultural development, academic and practical field training, as well as exposure to on-site research projects. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Agronomy from the Sokoine University of Agriculture.

He is currently working as a Technical Development Specialist with UPL (TZ) Ltd- a company in biotechnology in agriculture. Before joining UPL he has been working with Syngenta Tanzania as Technical Zone Lead. He is also co-founder of Ayegro Group Ltd, a company whose mission is to influence youth and women engagement in productive agriculture streamline. This is concerned with economic growth, fighting poverty and eradicating hunger in Tanzania. He is also secretary-general of National Sunflower Farmers Association of Tanzania (NASUFAT) and secretary of the Grape Farmers Platform in Tanzania.

He is also an active member of Sokoine University Graduate Entrepreneurs Cooperative (SUGECO). The main goal of SUGECO is to make a difference in the minds of the youth, communities, and graduates from higher learning institutions in support of enterprise development for self-employment, agribusiness development, job creation, community development, and economic prosperity.

Peter through his work in the sector disseminates information on agronomy skills to youth, policymakers, researchers, farmers, and other stakeholders through training and demonstrations approach. This is aimed at empowering young farmers to improve agricultural production in the country for poverty alleviation and social-economic development of the country.

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  • United Republic of Tanzania
  • Promote agriculture among young people
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Agriculture: Goverment Plans and Covid-19 effects in Nepal

Agriculture is the backbone of the country’s (Nepal) economy . It contributes 26.5 % to the national’s GDP and employs 77% of total population ( census 2068). Nepal , itself is a boon of nature. One can face various climatic condition on different region within the country. And the geographical structure of the country has both pros and cons in the agriculture sector. Agriculture system in Nepal is usually of two types i.e Substistence and commercial . About 75.9% population execute subsistence agriculture whereas only 24.1 % execute commercial agriculture.

Yearly Nepal cultivate Cereal crops like Rice , Maize , Wheat ,etc with other Cash crops , Lentils , fruits and vegetables. But the productivity of the country can’t satisfy the stomach of it’s citizen. According to MOAD ,in 2018/19 , the total production of Cereal crops was 1,06,85,550 metric ton , where Paddy, Maize and Wheat accounts to 56,10,011 ,27,13,635 ,20,05,665 metric ton respectively.Here, the productivity can’t meet the requirement of total population , as a result we are compelled to import agricultural goods in large amount. According to the statistical report , in the last fiscal year Rice , maize , maize and potato of total worth NRs. 73 billion were imported in Nepal. Due to the covid-19 pandemic all around the world , a huge amount of Nepalese from different part of world have got back to the country ; as a result the eating mouth are in increasing rate but the productivity rate is still in decreasing rate. In this fiscal year , Rice , Maize , Fruits , coffee ,tea and spices worth NRs. 22.23 billion , NRs. 14.75 billion , NRs. 20.74 billion and NRs. 11.75 billion respectively has been imported to the country.

 

P.C. : Lisa Choyegal ( Extracted from:Nepali Times)

We are still dependent on manual work for growing crops. Our labour never pays off at the same rate. 39 % of the total Nepal’s population still lies below the poverty line. Purchasing the agricultural machinery as Rice transplantor ( cost NRs. 4 lakhs ) , Corn sheller (NRs. 22,000) etc is like a nightmare to us. In one hand, From getting a quality seed to the fertilizers , we have to look after the way of Government and the Government to it’s suppliers from Neibhouring countries. In this Fiscal year , fertilizers worth NRs. 1900 billion have been imported to the country but was not available at the requisite area on time.Due to delays in the monsoons and crop damage by army worms , shortage of fertilizers and fake seeds distribution paddy production has been reduced by 1.1 percent every year. In the other hand , Nepalese prefer to have spicy and tasty foods and believe that more oil makes food tastier. But there is low production of spices crops and oil crops inside the country. These are some of the reasons behind the increase in import rate of the country.

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Call for speakers: young professionals in agrobiodiversity preservation

Young people are the backbone of a nation and can explore the youth role in adaptive measures against a changing climate.

To promote youth engagement in biodiversity protection toward achieving the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, this Youth Daily Show led by Young Professionals for Agricultural Development (YPARD), in collaboration with the Youth in Landscapes Initiative (YIL), will discuss indigenous youth perspectives in agrobiodiversity preservation. This program is a side event of GLF Biodiversity Digital Conference: One World - One Health, October 28- 29, 2020.  

In this Youth Daily Show, we will explore the work that young indigenous people working in agriculture are doing toward preserving biodiversity. At the same time, this episode will find out what technologies and methods indigenous people around the world are applying to ensure a climate-resilient agricultural value chain development for more sustainable livelihoods.

We are looking for two young professionals from Asia and the Pacific region who are passionate about agrobiodiversity conservation and can constructively share their stories, experiences and tools with the audiences as a speaker for the virtual conference on Preserving Agrobiodiversity: Indigenous Youth (18-39 years) Perspectives on 28th October 2020. The application deadline is 8th October 2020 and selected applicants will be notified by 10th October 2020.

Requirements

  • Indigenous youth (preferred) working for biodiversity preservation
  • Young researcher/ scholars /activists/ advocate/ policymaker who is working in agrobiodiversity or agroecology
  • Must be a registered member on the YPARD website.

Key responsibilities

  • Be able to share their stories and experiences on the related field and be familiar with the existing issue of climate and agrobiodiversity
  • Must have a good command of English speaking
  • Willing to join/ lead the Agrobiodiversity Youth Task Force in the future.

Apply

Interested speakers who meet the above-mentioned requirements can send the following documents with the Subject: “Application for speaker- Preserving Agrobiodiversity” to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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  • China
  • Promote agriculture among young people
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Be the YPARD voice in the new EFARD Management Team!

We are searching for a proactive young voice to be heard in the new management team of The European Forum on Agricultural Research for Development (EFARD) for period 2020 - 2022. 

The European Forum on Agricultural Research for Development (EFARD) aims to strengthen her contribution in poverty alleviation, food security, and sustainable development in developing countries by providing a platform for strategic dialogue among European stakeholders in order to promote research partnerships between European and Southern research communities. EFARD follows the principles of the Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR) and contributes to GFAR’s Global Plan of Action, in partnership with the other GFAR regional fora.

EFARD management team is made up of 5-6 persons; the Chair, Vice Chair and Executive Secretary and 2-3 other members representing a broad range of stakeholder groups and national fora of member countries. Aligning with the same mission, YPARD has been represented in the EFARD management team for several years. The first YPARD representative was André Stucki a member of YPARD Switzerland and later Rahel Wyss, YPARD Switzerland country representative and finally Kristina Kuznetsova, YPARD Ukraine country representative. Also, on the occasion of 2016 Annual Technical and Business Meeting, five YPARD Europe delegates were invited to CZU, Prague (YPARD Europe hosting institution) to promote their aspirations as young professionals through interesting presentations and information exchange - Visit the link: https://bit.ly/3iYfody to read more about their participation in this event.

We are searching for a motivated YPARD Europe representative who would take on this role, starting from mid-October 2020. The selected candidate will represent YPARD’s mission and vision at EFARD´s meetings (an annual meeting in person) and would be occasionally able to provide feedback on some working documents. The delegate should be a pro-active individual with an enthusiastic spirit who can come up with new ideas and chart new courses. The travel costs for the annual meetings will be covered by EFARD/ YPARD. The estimated time which needs to be invested in the EFARD work is approximately 40 hours/ year (including the annual meeting). 

How to apply?

Does this sound like a suitable role for you? If so, please answer the following questions and send them to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by October 9th, 2020.

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  • Czech Republic
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Get involved with the Youth Alliance for Zero Hunger

Do you remember the youth-led group advocating for stronger youth participation, engagement, and involvement in the global agri-policy spaces? It was formerly known as Rome-based Agencies (RBA) Youth Council, but now has changed to the Youth Alliance for Zero Hunger.

The Youth Alliance for Zero Hunger is a youth-led, youth-governed group to act as a conduit for evidence, examples, perspectives, and voices of youth to progress the goals of zero hunger and sustainable development. The Youth Alliance initially developed from discussions during the 45th Annual Session of the UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS45) which tackled topics about how to “Attract, Engage, Recruit, and Retain Youth in Agriculture”. Since then, the direction has further developed into the engagement and employment of youth in agriculture and food systems.

Today, the Youth Alliance has members from YPARD, World Farmers Organization, Nuffield International, 4H International, Youth Ag Summit, and young people literally engaged in different sectors of the agri-food systems (e.g. business, finance, research, academia, digital agriculture). The Alliance works closely with the United Nations Food Agencies, also known as Rome-based Agencies (RBAs), namely: the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and World Food Programme (WFP).

There are a lot of exciting activities and programs that the Alliance will be conducting with different global agricultural organizations, including intergovernmental bodies! This blogpost aims to share these opportunities with fellow YPARDians by letting those of you who are interested to get involved in the Youth Alliance. To do so, please fill out this Google Form here.

I will get in touch with those who respond to this call, and we can coordinate with respective YPARD Regional Coordinators and our YPARD Global Director on how we can better mobilize ourselves in relation to the Youth Alliance’s activities. The times have changed! The world now recognizes how critical it is to engage and have the youth involved in achieving sustainable agri-food systems. YPARD has been here for a long time advocating for this very moment. Let’s work together and take action in shaping sustainable agri-food systems for the world!

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  • Italy
  • Promote agriculture among young people
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YPARD: renewed Steering Committee dynamics for deeper international community engagement

It’s been nearly 6 months since I was elected as the YPARD Chairperson. In line with my commitment to ensuring that YPARD remains and evolves as a space for collective action and accountability, my  Steering Committee (SC)’s colleagues and I are keen to share our key passed milestones and steps to come.

Reviving the YPARD SC momentum

A key objective we needed to start with was to build a cohesive and proactive steering committee. We are all fairly new in the position. It meant swiftly getting to know each other, building the team dynamics, and generating a strong and collective sense of ownership and leadership. We are proud to check this box! 

Achieving this is sometimes a challenge: we need to find mechanisms that help smart yet very busy volunteers to commit enough time to the cause. Here is our approach. We maintain frequent and regular communications through concise and action-oriented weekly digests that both celebrate what was done and state clearly what needs to be accomplished. We also meet through monthly online meetings and we constantly stay tuned with the YPARD Director, so that the team has all the needed background information to bring acute input and informed decisions. It also includes consulting and providing feedback to each other so that everyone is aware of the value of their input and how it contributes to the collective work. Finally, and this is work in progress, we create space for individual responsibility so that every SC member can take the lead in the areas they are the most comfortable with. This cocktail of simple practices boosts the team to stay motivated and grow!

Refining YPARD’s positioning in current contexts 

2020 was jostled by two main happenings on a global level: Covid19 and the fights for Social Justice. It generated a lot of internal exchanges within the YPARD SC on how YPARD should take part in the discussions. It struck us that while YPARD was born from a very diverse group of young people and has always held very clear principles of diversity, inclusion and justice for all in the way it thinks and works, we now need to explicitly and formally state its position and record it as part of YPARD’s institutional reference documents.

This is crucial not only for identifying our stance about injustice and inequity now and forever but also to ensure that every YPARD member knows their fundamental worth and right.  A group of SC members has taken the lead on this workstream and we shall share our manifesto and related documents on what this means in the context of YPARD’s work - as and with young professionals for sustainable food systems - in the coming weeks.

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  • Italy
  • Sharing Information and connecting people
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Tackling food waste in Brazil

Brazil left the hunger map (WFP) in 2014. 

However, the COVID-19 pandemic has really exposed the gap in the global food system this year. According to World Bank estimates some of their more pessimistic estimates state that up to 15,4 million Brazilians are going to plunge into extreme poverty by the end of 2020, which is equivalent to 13% of the population. In this context, among other population groups, the youth’s food security is especially threatened under the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a macro scenario of economic recession and food crisis, developing state policies to tackle the issue is crucial and urgent. In this context, the concept of zero waste, which is related to waste prevention, contributes to the development of innovative solutions for the issue. 

Initially conceived by Zero Waste International Alliance as a lifestyle goal inspired on sustainable natural cycles, since 2018 zero waste has been defined as "the conservation of all resources by means of responsible production, consumption, reuse, and recovery of products, packaging, and materials without burning and with no discharges to land, water, or air that threaten the environment or human health."

Following the idea of zero waste, the Act No 14,016 was passed on June 23. It allows the donation of leftover food, which was until then forbidden in the country. Moreover, it directly addresses food waste by permitting the donation of surplus food for human consumption. See the details of this Act below:

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  • Brazil
  • Promote agriculture among young people
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Happy Youth Day from YPARD Africa

As youth all around the world celebrate the UN International Youth Day, it is a good time to reflect on the situation of youth across the globe and spread some hope.

A good understanding of the challenges the youth face as well as how they themselves creatively tackle these challenges form a good basis for the congratulatory and encouragement messages on this great day. It is with this understanding that YPARD Africa wishes all youth around the world and particularly in Africa a Happy Youth Day Celebration.

Reflections on the youth

Did you know that globally, for every adult that complains of not having a job, there are three young people crying the same cry? Are you aware that among every group of five young people, there is one who has no form of education or training- and even worse is unemployed? These are interesting facts you would discover from the International Labour Organization’s publication on Global Trends for Youth last year. These facts draw more attention to Africa since one out of every two people you meet here is likely to be below the age of 25.

Recognising that youth themselves are not a problem but part of the solution to their own challenges, YPARD stands out to present agriculture as a viable career option for youth and to empower them to make an impact in the sector through active involvement and contribution to strategic discussions.

Messages from YPARD Africa

To urge Young Professionals on to continue their great works in contributing to development in our communities especially in agriculture, some members of the YPARD Team from our country chapters have penned down some lines to wish our fellow youth a good celebration on this special day.

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  • Ghana
  • Promote agriculture among young people
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Fisheries and COVID-19 in Nepal

Corona pandemic has rapidly spread around the globe with extensive social and economic effects. Many countries followed unprecedented lockdown measures to contain its impact on public health and urged people to follow physical distancing, using mask and frequent washing/sanitizing hands. Despite such measures, its cases are skyrocketing and those measures also have significant impact on human activity, food and nutrition, security, jobs, mental health. It is estimated that the economic fallout of COVID-19 pandemic could plunge more than half a billion people into poverty, leading to food crisis with serious socio-economic consequences; will become inevitable.

Nepal, recently elevated to lower middle income economy, has not been left untouched by COVID-19. The first case of corona virus have been reported on 13 January, 2020 and till now it has risen to 21390 confirmed cases with 60 deaths. The government data shows that the cases, recently have been rising up to 300 daily cases (approx) after lifting the lockdown on 21 July.

Fisheries ( both capture and culture) has tremendous scope to feed the rising population. The culture of fish is called aquaculture, now produces over 100 million tonnes. In Nepal, it is one of the popular and fast growing sub-sector of agriculture. Presently it contributed 1.13% to total GDP and the production growth rate is 3.15%. The annual total fish production is 86544 metric tons and per capita fish consumption is 2.8 kg. Despite such huge growth rate, still fish from India and Bangladesh have been imported which suggests space for aquaculture to be self sufficient within the country in fish production.

Although COVID-19 doesn't affect fish, the fish sector is still subjected from indirect impacts of pandemic through disruption ins transportation, trade, labour and changing consumer demand. This have serious damaging effect on livelihood of farmers and also on food security. Many people involving in the supply chain of fish will bear loss and employee will lose their jobs. Fish business is rising in Nepal. COVID-19 have impacted fishers and vendor to rise the price of fish upto 400/kg, earlier it used to be 300/kg in average.

During the early detection of corona virus in Nepal, there was rumours that COVID-19 also spreads from eating meat and that meat eaters are more susceptible to the virus. There was also blind beliefs that only non-vegetarian will die of the virus. This decreases the consumption of fish, and those fish that were already in the market before government imposed lockdown, were selling at cheap price or are not getting any market. Even the farmers have to keep large quantities of live fish that need to fed for an indeterminate period, which increases the costs, expenditures and risk. The production also have affected by the difficulty in sourcing inputs and finding labours.

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The Cry of a Tree

other living organisms such as animals, trees also respond to stimuli. The Oxford English dictionary defines stimulus as something that produces a reaction in a human being, an animal or plant. This response can be seen in a plethora of phenomenon in nature such as plants growing towards light (phototropism), plants growing towards gravity (geotropism), plants growing towards an object/touch (thigmotropism) e.g. peas and granadilla plant species.

As a famous aphorism goes “Hurt me and I will cry, cut me and I will bleed”. When trees are starved of water and other favourable conditions required for growth, they suffer and make a noise. Unfortunately, because it is an ultrasonic sound, too high for us to hear, it goes unheard. Thanks to researchers! They have found a way of understanding these cries for help. This is not the only time that trees cry, they also cry when scared or subjected to harsh conditions such as fire.

According to scientists Jack Schultz and Ian Baldwin, who have been studying communication between plants since 1983, trees are not lethargic things that stand around waiting to be eaten, nested in or cut down for charcoal or timber like mukula trees (Pterocarpus angolensis). Trees are like slow animals; the only thing they cannot do is run away from danger when attacked.

Scientists are now investigating the possibility that root-to-root alerts could transform a forest into an organic control board. Considering that entire forests are all interconnected by networks of fungi, maybe plants are using fungi the way we use the internet and sending acoustic signals through this web.

Since creation trees are surrounded by biotic or natural enemies such as bacteria, fungi, nematodes, mites, insects, mammals and other herbivorous animals. Additionally, extreme weather and wildfires can also act as abiotic enemies. However, in his wisdom that surpasses human understanding God has provided special mechanisms through which trees survive these attacks. In defence, trees usually form what is called abscission layers on young active leaves following infection by bacteria, fungi or even a virus. Layers of cells surround the infected spots immediately after infection; these cells swell up and get lignified. The cells then become unsupported & eventually a gap is formed between the infected cells and the healthy cells at the site of infection. Protection is provided by preventing further of the pathogen (Kim and Kim, 2002). Other mechanisms most tree species use for protection is the exudation of gums around the injuries following infection by pathogens. The gums make an impenetrable barrier which encloses the pathogen completely. This, in turn, means that the pathogen starves and later dies.

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  • Zambia
  • Sharing Information and connecting people
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YPARD Rwanda- A Voice on Youth Engagement in Youth Employment

The Youth Employment Funders Group (YEFG) with funding from Citi Foundation has released a call for proposals to develop a white paper and roadmap that would provide a common understanding of youth engagement in the context of youth employment policies, programs and strategies. It will also include a roadmap for funders that outlines recommendations for meaningfully engaging youth in the various phases of their youth employment programs and when designing the policy or strategy for their youth employment initiatives.

It is in this context YPARD Rwanda participated in providing expertise and knowledge on how youth in East and West Africa benefit from youth employment initiatives. The chapter also shared some knowledge on the challenges that youth still face on their quest to achieving their dreams.

Rwanda is a landlocked country in the Great Rift Valley where the African Great Lakes meet in East Africa. The country with Kigali as its capital city remains one of the smallest countries on the African.

According to the National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda, over 50% of the Rwandan population is under 20 years old and above 80% of young people in Rwanda live in rural areas.

The rate of unemployment among Rwandans dropped to 14.5 per cent in February this year, down from 16 per cent in February 2019, according to figures from the National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda.

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  • Rwanda
  • Promote agriculture among young people
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YPARD partners with SEARCA to unlock youth engagement opportunities

At the beginning of July 2020, the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) and YPARD entered a partnership represented by each organizations’ directors, Dr. Glenn Gregorio and Dr. Yemi Adeyeye, respectively. 

The partnership aims to capitalize on the network and expertise of each organization to work together on creating opportunities for youth to be engaged in agriculture, rural development, and across food systems.

In the past, there have been areas of indirect engagement between both organizations, where YPARD Philippines and YPARD Bangladesh were involved in certain activities of the Strengthened Agricultural Advisory Services (SAAS) which was a joint project of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), SEARCA, and the Global Forum for Rural Advisory Services (GFRAS); along with GFRAS’ sub-regional networks: Asia-Pacific Islands Rural Advisory Services (APIRAS), Pacific Islands Rural Advisory Services (PIRAS) and Agriculture Extension Network in South Asia (AESA). 

It was through this introduction by SEARCA that YPARD members were able to link up with GFRAS and eventually created a GFRAS Youth Working Group, as well as the identification of the now YPARD Solomon Islands Country Representative. Even then without a formal partnership, we have seen a glimpse of the benefits and the exponential potential impact when organizations, such as SEARCA and YPARD, work together. 

The YPARD-SEARCA partnership comes in the most opportune time when SEARCA has launched its 11th Five-Year Plan, where there is an emphasis on youth engagement under the Y4AGRI Program. In the spirit of being youth-led in its efforts, even the partnership preparation itself was led by youth counterparts from both organizations: Jim Cano, the YPARD Philippines Country Representative and YPARD Asia Pacific Capacity Building and Policy Officer; as well as Sonny Pasiona, the SEARCA Youth Focal Person. It must be acknowledged also that the negotiations for this partnership would not have happened without the enthusiasm of SEARCA’s Partnerships Technical Officer – Dr. Romeo Labios.

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  • Philippines
  • Sharing Information and connecting people
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