What is the purpose of this and what do you gain from it?
YPARD team believes that sharing experience enables:
informing on good practices and lessons learned
generating thoughts and ideas for optimizing activities
inspiring each other for more innovation and entrepreneurship
My journey into the field of agriculture was an accident. I was an academic refugee.
Growing up, based on my social background, I had only two views of agriculture; one, as a means of livelihood for villagers with little education (and large areas of land), and the other as a pastime for educated city folks with probable village backgrounds who need something to fill their downtime or who grow part of their food to augment their inadequate income.
Some weeks back, while trying to buy roasted corn from an open market seller during a long wait for an inter-city bus to fill up, I met an elderly cotton farmer who was overly impressed when I jokingly called myself a farmer.
I had been negotiating with the corn seller, who was apparently because of the young, urban professional image I projected to her trying to rip me off. At that point, as I am inclined to do in such situations, I jokingly declared myself a modern farmer and displayed the market price knowledge of what I wanted to buy. She was stunned.
I was raised in an urban family which was, until recently, without any relation to agriculture. Regardless, since I was very young I loved animals, and have known that Ill be in some way professionally related to them later in life.
In elementary school I used to say Ill be a veterinarian with my own ranch herding different animals. Later, when I hadnt started with veterinarian studies, the closest calling I found was in agriculture and animal science.
I have really enjoyed working with you all and I am sure that we will continue working together. YPARD has built me in many ways starting from the Science Forum 2011 and that acted as a springboard to most of the projects I am doing right now. I am still implementing strategic projects with CCAFS, ACIAR and CSIRO because of that single trip. It is only proper for me to allow YPARD to grow and enhance the capacity of fellow youths attain excellence in their agricultural fields of study.
Maxwell Mkondiwa, while stepping down as YPARD Malawi representative for further graduate studies in the US.
Over my stay in the university I found that there are opportunities in agriculture only if one is determined to get involved and specialize. I am a student studying agricultural engineering and I am in my penultimate year at federal university of technology Akure, Ondo State Nigeria. Over the years I had developed my interest in agriculture, that interest drove me to become the president of my university association, The Nigerian Institution of Agricultural Engineering Students.
At the university, in my second year, we experienced compulsory farm work, where we were made to go to the farm and do the various farming operations by hand, from land clearing to ploughing, ridging, planting and harvesting. Although then we saw it as punishment because we had to work under the scorching sun, today we had the university to thank, today I can boastfully say I can plant maize.
Seventy percent of employment in Africa comes from agriculture, so you can argue that, in Africa, agriculture and economy are synonymous. In effect, you cannot modernize the economy in Africa without starting with agriculture.
This quote, from Prof. Calestous Jumas The New Harvest, is yet another reminder of the crucial role that agriculture will play in propelling Africa out of poverty (Shields, Elist. 2013. Africa Policy Magazine, John F Kennedy School of Government: The Key to unlocking Africas Multi-Billion Dollar Agriculture Opportunity: Great Managers).
Johanna Gysin's message of handing over of YPARD Switzerland representative's position
Being the first YPARD country representative of Switzerland was a challenging task and a very interesting one! During my time as country representative I got a new perspective on the landscape of agriculture-related Institutes in Switzerland and all around the world. The position gave me the possibility to get into touch with people from other organizations and discuss with them on their views and experiences.
Stefan Lorenz, 28 from Austria learnt a lot of new methods of presenting and teambuilding from the Leadership Seminar for Rural Youth in Herrsching. These methods will be helpful for him in his job at the Rural Youth Organisation of Upper Austria. Stefan told us more about his organization emphasizing the power and support the organization has in rural regions of Austria.
Born and bred in the city, my only interaction with farming and livestock was when I visited my grandparents farm during vacations. My grandmother used to call me city mouse, because I wasnt a local from the village.
It was during these visits that I noticed some contrasts between the urban educational system I experienced and the one my cousins in the village had. In one vivid example, I remember thinking, I NEVER used a cutlass in basic school here its an admission requirement!
With a population of more than 28 million, Nepal is one of the poorest country in Asia. But it is enormously rich in terms of biodiversity and natural resources, and agriculture plays a very important role in the countrys economy. It is also very rich in another way: young people make up 40 percent of the population. The problem is that young people dont seem to be interested in agriculture.
In most developing countries of the world, Agriculture is regarded as a low class profession. Children often want to become engineers, Doctors, Lawyers, and so on, but only few want to become farmers. Even those who want to be farmers are mostly discouraged by their parents who fear they will not get a good job after school; this however wasnt the case with me as for several years I have been involved in one way or the other in farming.
Mohammadreza Davari, from Iran, tells us his story and reflects on his experience of Young Professional in Agriculture in Iran.
In September 2009, after 4 years study in Agronomy at Indian Agricultural Institute (IARI), I began my activities in different ways in the agricultural sector in Iran. I have been working as adviser in agricultural fields. I am also researcher and lecturer at the university.
"Never say never" is the phrase proclaimed with a laugh, by Aracely Castro, a Honduran young researcher specialized in agronomy, when asked where her passion and commitment for applied research come from.
Aracely began her journey as a researcher when she completed her undergraduate studies as an agronomist at the Panamerican School of Zamorano. "When I finished my thesis I said to myself: I will never work with basic grains and even less in research, I just want to dedicate myself to something perhaps more lucrative".
After flying for 19 hours transiting at two international airports (South Africa & Brazil), I arrived at my hotel at about 3.10am on the 25th of October 2012 having left Nigeria at 10pm on the 24th.It was my first time flying and I must say it was quite an experience. Dealings with the check-ins, immigration, and the Nigeria Drug Law Enforcement Agency at the Nigeria end of the trip was hmmm let me leave that for a separate blog post and for now lets focus on what I enjoyed from the conference.
I am one of the founding members of YPARD. I am also a promoter of the creation of YPARD European Unit hosted by the Bern University of Applied Sciences, School of Agricultural, Forestry and Food Sciences (HAFL), and its representation in EFARD, the European Forum in ARD (of which I am currently vice-chair). I join Oliver Oliveros when, in his testimonial, he says he is very proud of the successes YPARD has achieved by now.
As I briefly presented together with Courtney Paisley and Oliver at the YPARD pre-conference meeting at GCARD 2, and as clearly explained by Oliver in its testimonial, it took a while to YPARD to be officially recognised as an equal important stakeholder in high level ARD arena such as the GCARD Process.
I feel privileged to be among the founding members of YPARD. Prior to 2005, we could hardly see young professionals participating in global discussions in ARD. The EFARD event in Zurich in 2005 paved the way for the birth of YPARD.
The idea to put up the youth platform was not even formally discussed but was a result of informal chats among a few YPs during coffee breaks. A core group of YPs sought the advice and guidance of some senior professionals on how to move the platform forward.