This article was originally published on MyRepublica, which is an English medium daily news site in Nepal. Our YPARD Asia and Pacific, communications focal point, Dinesh Panday, PhD wrote this blog to highlight the importance of soils and how soil is important to smallholder farmers in Nepal. The World Soil Day (#WorldSoilDay) is held annually on 5...
By: Genna Tesdall, YPARD Director Dear YPARD members and partners, What a year for YPARD and our fellow persons. Many of us have survived natural disasters, political unrest, and lost loved ones to the pandemic. It's been a no less eventful year on the global stage of food and agriculture. Food security, environmental protection and restoration, hu...
The IV Rural School for Young People in Peru successfully took place this year between the months of May and August. This initiative aimed to provide its participants with knowledge on designing rural-agricultural projects that promote a more just, inclusive and sustainable food system. The IV Rural School for Young People, as well as the pre...
We are thrilled to announce to the YPARD community that we have a new staff member! Valentina Martínez-Salazar is the new digital communications officer for YPARD GCU. Valentina was onboarding over a week ago and has already been proven to be an integral part of the team. Valentina Martínez-Salazar is a Colombian Biologist graduated from Univ...
By: Genna Tesdall, YPARD Director Dear YPARD, The first five months in office have flown by. I already feel YPARD has been my home for much longer than these few short months. My heart is still with all of you who are experiencing challenges due to COVID-19, but also countless other natural and political disasters which are sweeping the w...
By: Michael Ruggeri, YPARD Belgium Country Representative Being part of YPARD means being part of a community spanning across continents and countries with very different needs and plans when it comes to agriculture and rural development. Still, what brings all YPARDians together is their willingness to do more by learning from their peers, sh...
This month, Glindys Virginia Luciano, YPARD Network Engagement Coordinator and Genna Tesdall, YPARD Director, were invited to write a guest blog post at GFAR, as part of their Partner's in Action campaign. We thank our partner GFAR for giving YPARD the opportunity to share our thoughts as youth. In the last several years, dialogue around...
We are calling all country representatives to take part in this new fantastic initiative at the global level headed by YPARD Belgium's country representative, Michael Ruggeri. The Virtual Coffee Chats initiative's objective is to provide YPARD CR from around the globe the opportunity to get to know each other better and exchange ideas.
Country representatives can express their interest by filling up the form here before June 25, 23:59 CET. Participants are then paired randomly each week over the course of 6 weeks.
The randomly paired couple will be put in touch at the end of every week and they will be free to decide what time / day better suits them (also taking into account their time zones). The meetings can take place via Zoom / Teams / WhatsApp or whichever platform individuals prefer.
Did you know that the leftover grape skins, seeds and stems from winemaking are called pomace? Have you ever wondered what happens to these leftovers after the grape has been squished of their juice? No? Well, the Biogas Research Team at the Faculty of Tropical AgriSciences in CZU Prague have surely thought about it and have launched an innovative project that puts to good use this pomace.
Youth really are the future of agriculture. GFAR is committed to youth through many projects we do. One of them is YAP, our Youth Agripreneurs Project, where we encouraged young agricultural entrepreneurs to submit their projects (early last year). Through “YAP”, our purpose was not only to find some genuine innovative projects we could sponsor, but also to provide young agripreneurs...
More than one month ago, Maracanã stadium celebrated the end of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Yes, those festive days brought many surprises, unforgettable – and painful – ones, especially for us Brazilians. By suffering, we learned that results come with commitment, planning, humility and good technique. Charisma and good will are great complements, but alone they are unable to...
YPARD has a long-standing collaboration with the Czech University of Life Sciences Prague (CZU). CZU has been hosting the YPARD Europe coordination unit since 2016 and has worked for a stronger youth focus and engagement in agriculture in the region. CZU also serves as a hosting place for the CASEE Secretariat. This year, CZU hosted the virtual CASEE 2021 conference entitled...
Each year YPARD partakes in the annual interdisciplinary conference on research in tropical and subtropical agriculture, natural resource management and rural development Tropentag with an interactive workshop. See details of the previous workshops here, here and here. This year the conference is organized by the University of Hohenheim, Germany under the topic Towards shifting paradigms in agriculture for a healthy and...
This abstract emerged as one of the outstanding research within the poster Session on Sustainable food systems and quality at the CASEE Scientific conference 2021. YPARD held a scientific competition that was tagged "Empowering young researchers of the Danube region in sustainable food systems" within the CASEE conference 2021. The competition aimed to support the continued professional and personal growth of young professionals attending the CASEE Conference. The...
his abstract emerged as one of the outstanding research within the poster Session on Sustainable food systems and quality at the CASEE Scientific conference 2021. YPARD held a scientific competition that was tagged "Empowering young researchers of the Danube region in sustainable food systems" within the CASEE conference 2021. The competition aimed to support the continued professional and personal growth of young professionals attending the CASEE Conference....
Lillian Beauttah was one of the six finalists of the GFAR and YPARD’s Youth Argripreneur Project, who co-founded the social enterprise Afrika Jilishe, whose aim is to increase the resilience and adaptive capabilities to climate change of nomadic pastoralists and other communities within the ASALs ( Arid and Semi-Arid Lands) by making use of high tech, low cost, and innovative solutions. Her YAP proposal is to build “The African Desert Greenhouse”, an artificial, closed ecosystem that creates viable crop growing conditions requiring a minimal amount of water. Lillian was also able to better engage in social media campaigning activities to ensure her project gained support. In addition, she has now has a mentor to help guide her during this upcoming period and make sure her project does succeed.
And now, it is 5 months later and she continues to relate her experience thus far…
What happens when you take a concept, add a generous amount of seed funding and a dash of well-targeted mentorship to it ?
Chaos…the organised variety, that is.
6 months post-GCARD 3 and the desert greenhouse that I made my YAP proposal about is finally taking shape. Here’s a brief look into its genesis.
There would be no use building the greenhouse if we had no potential customers lined up. Our thoughts on who would make the best early adopters were centred around;
Whether the school was within a drought prone region – to be a candidate, the school would have to either be within an already established feeding program or suffer from the fluctuation of food prices within periods of drought.
Distance from Nairobi and accessibility – a closer site would allow us to make regular visits during the trial period.
Whether the school incorporated Agricultural and Business studies within its curriculum – having the greenhouse would be a unique value addition even to the students’ studies.
Whether the school is within a fenced compound – this contributes heavily to the security factor.
On visiting Merrueshi School in Kajiado County, not only was our criteria met, but the school’s patron, chairman and headmaster were generous with information and genuinely seemed interested in our approach to climate smart agriculture.
With a potential school partnership secured we moved on to the next stage, one that I thought would be everything but mind-numbingly difficult—securing land to set up a prototype. Our criteria for appropriate land included;
Within Nairobi environs or close outskirts – the build and subsequent monitoring would require us to make daily trips.
Water (preferably piped) and electrical amenities available – One might wonder why we preferred to work with those already available when our final models would be completely off the grid? We felt that it would be easier to move from the known to the unknown in terms of factors for success then reverse engineer our results in terms of water requirements (thus how big a reservoir our final model would require) and electrical capacity (how many solar panels our final model would require).
Affordability – with regards to lease per season for a 6.0m x 11.0m plot
Accessibility – daily travel in what is not a particularly high car especially during the rainy season should be possible
Climatic conditions – similar to those of arid and semi arid conditions
We hadn’t anticipated that two months in we’d still be on the search for the ideal plot of land and that accessibility would have played such a huge role. From extremely poor road conditions to perfect conditions up until it rains, we saw it all. Early in we’d seen the opportunity of leasing our greenhouses from institutions that were no longer in use but as it turns out they weren’t willing to lease out to outsiders. We then pivoted into the option of leasing land from schools in Nairobi using the same criterion we’d previously established for a partner school. We packaged this proposal as a co-curricular activity to further engage students in schools with Business and Agriculture student clubs with the added benefit of the school’s self-sufficiency on the food production front.
To our utter disappointment the most ideally located school already had a greenhouse and weren’t willing to let us use a portion of their field for another. A factor that we never expected was the rigourous nature of the Kenyan Education System that dictates school management. In the event that our trying to engage students in this as as co-curricular activity or even the construction process of the greenhouse itself might in any way hamper the final year students’ studies, schools would not even consider our project.
Finally at the end of our rope, we settled on pursuing a lead from an unlikely source. This plot of land was located an hour to forty five minutes out of Nairobi in the up and coming town of Kitengela. Not exactly ideal due to distance and evening traffic that would certainly be against us, but at this point in time we were out of options.
Best decision we ever made.
The property’s owner was hugely welcoming and willing to allow us to make use of his land and amenities without any cost due to his commitment to see the youth in interesting ventures succeed.
This we broke down into;
Phase 1: Structural – The greenhouse structure and hydroponic shelf mechanism
Phase 2: Electrical – LED lighting and sensory technology
Phase 3: Mechanical – The hydroponic system and irrigation system
Initially the idea was to build the structure and design the sensory tech from scratch but a few months into the entrepreneurship game, I understood that that was a poor idea. Why? My mind had been opened up to the power of ‘ Outsourcing’ whose cousin ‘ Do it All’ is actually a factor that has led to the downfall of many ‘once -an-enterprise(s)’
Identifying an expert for the two respective structural builds was not as difficult as I’d expected. What made this exercise difficult was the unfamiliar design and exact specifications that I was proposing to the builders.
My method to get us all on the same boat was simple but I feel effective. It encompassed running through the following with the builders and material suppliers;
Design – has this been fully comprehended and what amendments from their expertise would they propose?
Materials – approximate cost, quantity and variety
Transport – cost of this to site (only after you incur charges for your own construction does this factor of production become very evident )
Labour – number of men required
Rate – per man ( once again only after you run your own construction site does it hit you that this rate should also include a meal and water )
Time frame – number of days
Currently we’re done with the first phase and making the necessary preparations to embark on the second and third that would require us to import most of the materials.
The three months of the build have taught me not only the value of patience with yourself and others in the day’s failures but also the beauty and joy that comes when you crawl into bed tired and a bit dusty after a day of building your empire.
Blogpost by Lillian Beauttah – limobachi(at)gmail.com – one of six finalists in the Youth Agripreneurs Project, a pilot project targeting young agricultural entrepreneurs (“agripreneurs”), co-organized by GFAR and YPARD. The YAP Finalists launched their projects during the #GCARD3 Global Conference in Johannesburg, South Africa, 5-8 April 2016. Read Lillian’s original YAP proposal here.
Women play a vital role in Africas agricultural sector. As farmers, processors, and marketers of agricultural products, they contribute significantly to the continents economic development. However, they continue to face a lot of challenges such as lack of access to agricultural inputs, finance, land, information, and agricultural technologies. Although women provide 70 percent of agricultural labour on the continent, they remain...
After a year as the YPARD Steering Committee (SC)s chairperson, I am now stepping down with an incredible team taking over! I am proud of what we have accomplished over the past year and the foundations it creates for the new leadership and management to thrive! Meet the new SC Chairperson Sebastian Pedraza and two additional members in the SC team:...
We are delighted to welcome Jim Leandro Cano as a new YPARD Steering Committee Member! Jim has been in the youth-in-ag advocacy space since he came on board as YPARDs Country Representative for the Philippines in 2015. Since then, he has contributed in many ways to the YPARD global network, both at the country and international level. He also served as...