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Meet YPARD mentor: Justus Ochieng

Justus Ochieng hails from the Kenya’s Nyanza region. A region well known for its huge fish production, his parents were farmers and his interest in agriculture was instigated during his childhood. He saw both the good and bad in agriculture - he saw some rich farmers effectively farming and making huge profits and others who were too poor to even afford seeds to plant. He therefore decided that he was going to help improve the way farming was done in his village.Justus lives by the mantra: “In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure”. His desire for success has made him self-starter always going for opportunities and not waiting for them to come his way.Justus became an agricultural economist and has now acquired over five years experience in agricultural research, impact evaluation, value chain, poverty and food security analysis and climate change in Eastern and Central Africa. He is currently a research fellow with the Tegemeo Institute of Agricultural Policy and Development currently working on rural livelihoods and climate change as well as youth and agriculture. He’s striving to make agriculture a career of choice for the youth.Justus has travelled widely and worked in many organisations “and now it’s time to give back to the community”, he says.PositionAgricultural Economist, Tegemeo Institute of Agricultural Policy and DevelopmentCountryKenyaMenteeDuncan Cheruiyot, graduate research student, Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation (KALRO)He has a lot of experience and wisdom accrued from his work in across the region to share with the young people keen on learning from him. Justus also adds that he has documented his work in scientific papers, journals and books to reach people indirectly. People can learn from him by reading these works.Justus Ochieng is not new to the concept of mentoring. He says that he has been informally mentoring young people for a long time but the YPARD program provides a great opportunity to formalize his mentoring activities.“This program will provide a good platform to mentor others and help them grow in their profession and contribute towards agricultural development in Africa,” he says.He looks forward to developing himself in the process of developing others through this program. By mentoring the young people he will understand them better and the problems facing them. This will put him in a better place to offer sustainable solutions.To all the youth out there; “Your own resolution to succeed is very important in transforming your life. I encourage you to follow Maya Angelou’s advice that “if you don’t like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude”.