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Turning wine waste into profit: possibilities of the Moldovan wine industry

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.  

This project was aiming to assess the possibilities of local winemakers in terms of valorisation of their processing waste. Based on the preliminary data collection and interviews with stakeholders the briquetting technology has been assessed as the most appropriate technology for small-scale and medium-scale producers together with the use of small-scale biogas plants.

The project started with an in-depth study of waste management flows among the winery makers in Moldavia. Based on the study, the technology of briquetting press and wood shredder was implemented together with a small-scale biogas plant in two different wineries. Further on the implemented technology was tested based on specific inputs in the target location. As a follow-up, there was organized study visits from neighbouring communities and local winemakers to observe the technology. In addition, some of the project activities were also presented at the Ecological Festival in Moldova. At the end of the project, recommendations for further up-scaling and replication within the country were developed. Furthermore, one scientific paper was prepared for a scientific conference in Moldova and will be presented during the upcoming conference.

In addition, all the results will be further utilized in a scientific paper, which will provide better insight into the current situation in Moldova and further opportunities for development.

"Moldova is a country full of potential and there is a large amount to implement other important solutions to waste issues," says Marek Jelínek, a member of the Biogas Research Team, who worked on the site. "The hospitality of the people in Moldova is amazing. It is all the easier to work on such projects when people are so friendly and helpful" adds Ing. Charles Ogbu, a member of the Biogas Research Team, who also worked on the project in Moldova.

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Join us at TROPENTAG 2021!

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 sustainable future” and will take place on September 15 - 17, 2021. Due to the ongoing pandemic and resultant restrictions, Tropentag 2021 will be organised as a "hybrid" conference by the University of Hohenheim, Germany. This means that all pre-conference workshops (Tuesday, Sept. 14 afternoon, Wednesday, Sept. 15 morning) and post-conference workshops (Friday, Sept. 17 afternoon) will be held online. 

Especially in these uncertain times of COVID-19 where there is not much opportunity to engage and network, YPARD Europe in partnership with AGRINATURA and the AGRISCI-UA has decided to continue our long-standing tradition of organizing a pre tropentag conference workshop, even if online. 

Come and join us!

Our workshop titled “Communicating Science: How to effectively promote your work as a young researcher” will take place on Tuesday, 14/09/2021, 14:00–17:00 h (CEST) and seeks to provide concrete knowledge, skills, and best practices in science communication for young researchers in agrisciences and sustainable food systems.

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Announcing the YPARD/CASEE Conference 2021 scientific competition winners!

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 “CASEE Universities as laboratories for new paradigms in life sciences and related disciplines“. Each year YPARD  takes part in organizing competitions for young researchers and this year we joined forces with the CASEE Conference. 

To support the continued professional and personal growth of young professionals attending the CASEE Conference 2021 YPARD carried out a scientific competition which was tagged "Empowering young researchers of the Danube region in sustainable food systems" at the CASEE conference 2021. 

Within the conference, a YPARD committee selected the top three posters and top three oral presentations related to the sessions on sustainable food systems, a key focus area for YPARD. 

A special congratulations goes out to Alicja Ponder, Mihaela Iliescu, Rita Góralska-Walczak, Eva Ivanišová, Sanja Lazi? and Ioana-Mihaela Mih?lcioiu the six selected winners of the YPARD/CASEE Conference 2021 scientific competition!

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Degradation of trifloxystrobin in apples before storage

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. The top three posters and the top three oral presentations related to sustainable food systems were selected. 

Enjoy reading the abstract!

Authors: S. Lazic, D. Šunjka, D. Boskovic, S. Vukovic, A. Žuni?, A. Alavanja - University of Novi Sad, Serbia.

The storage of fresh apple fruits requires the application of fungicides before harvest, for the protection of causes rotting. In the controlled conditions in cold storage, fungicide residues may be stable for extended periods. For the control of the apple rot causing agent, a plant protection product based on trifloxystrobin (500 a.i./kg) was applied at the rate of 150 g/ha, with the consumption of 1000 l of water. The trial was set up at the locality Titel (Republic of Serbia), according to EPPO (2014) PP 1/018(3) method, 14 days before harvest. Apple fruit samples were collected one hour after application, and every second day for two weeks.
Samples (around 1 kg) were transferred to the laboratory and frozen to ?19 °C, to avoid their decay during storage. Trifloxystrobin residues were analyzed using high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC/DAD), with a C18 column, using mixtures of acetonitrile and acidified water as the mobile phase. Trifloxystrobin was detected and quantified at 230nm. For the extraction of trifloxystrobin, QuEChERS based method was applied. To ensure the quality of analytical results, the analytical method for the determination of trifloxystrobin residues in apple samples was validated. Obtained result for linearity (R2=0.999), recovery (99.23%), precision (RSD 0.23%) and limit of quantification (0.02mg/kg), completely fulfilled SANTE/12682/2019 criteria. The initial deposit of trifloxystrobin in apple fruits (0.33 mg/kg) was below the MRL (0.7 mg/kg). In the samples collected two and four days after the application, residues were 0.31 mg/kg and 0.22 mg/kg respectively. At the end of the pre-harvest interval of 14 days , the amount of the trifloxystrobin residues was 0.10 mg/kg. Based on these results, the calculated half-life of trifloxystrobin in apple samples was 4.33 days.

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Antioxidant activity and mineral composition of selected kind of small berry fruits

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 top three posters and the top three oral presentations related to sustainable food systems were selected. 

Enjoy reading the abstract!

Authors: E. Ivanišová, D. ?urká?ová, ?. Harangozo &. A. Kolesárová - The Slovak University of Agriculture in Nitra , Slovak Republic, Nitra, Slovakia.

Small berries are consumed due to their attractive colour, special taste and are considered as one of the richest sources of bioactive compounds. The aim of the present study was to determine antioxidant activity (ABTS method), total polyphenol (using Folin-Ciocalteu reagent), flavonoid (aluminium chloride method), phenolic acid content (using Arnov ?s reagent) and chemical composition (AAS instrument) of cranberries
(Vaccinium vitis-idea L.) variety Sanna and Linea from local Slovak producer. Antioxidant activity ranged from 69.41 to 83.73 mg TEAC per g of dry matter (TEAC - Trolox equivalent antioxidant capacity). Total polyphenol content ranged from 20.46 to 26.56 GAE per g of dry matter (GAE - gallic acid equivalent); total flavonoid content from 2.06 to 2.67 QE per g of dry matter (QE - quercetin equivalent) and total phenolic
acid content from 15.65 to 18.45 CAE per g of dry matter (CAE - caffeic acid equivalent). The higher amount of antioxidant activity as well as phenolics was observed in variety Linea. The same tendency was observed among mineral compounds - in variety Linea was determined higher amount (mg/kg) of iron (26.10), manganese (151.80), zinc (7.50), copper (2.50), nickel (2.10) and cobalt (0.30) with compare to variety Sanna (Fe - 18.30; Mn - 99.80; Zn - 6.80; Cu - 1.40; Ni - 1.20 and Co - 0.20). The amount of cadmium, lead and mercury was not detected in observed samples, so our results reveal that the cranberries do not
represent in this study a potential health risk regarding the content of toxic elements. The consumption of small berries as a part of food mode of consumers due to health benefits is recommended.
This work was supported by the Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport of the Slovak Republic projects APVV-18-0312, VEGA 1/0266/20, the Operational Program Integrated Infrastructure within the
project: Demand-driven research for the sustainable and inovative food, Drive4SIFood 313011V336, cofinanced by the European Regional Development Fund, and AgroBioTech Research Centre built in accordance with the project Building ,,AgroBioTech" Research Centre ITMS 26220220180.

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Gender-Responsive Investments in Africa

Women play a vital role in Africa’s agricultural sector. As farmers, processors, and marketers of agricultural products, they contribute significantly to the continent’s 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 underrepresented; they are not treated as equals of their male counterparts in the sector—women farmers face the burden of unpaid work as well as lower wages compared to men.

According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), gender-related challenges faced by women in agriculture hinder women’s productivity, which reduces their contributions to the agricultural sector and the achievement of broader economic and social development goals. Similarly, a 2016 Africa Human Development Report suggests that gender inequality costs sub-Saharan Africa approximately $95 billion annually.

To enhance gender-responsive investments in African agriculture, the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) convened a dialogue themed “Gender-Responsive Investments in Africa’s Agriculture for Inclusive Food System” to discuss game-changing solutions that will enhance gender-responsive investments in agricultural research for inclusive food systems on the continent. This took place on the 4th of May 2021. It was hosted by FARA jointly with the sub-regional organizations (ASARECA, CCARDESA, CORAF, and AFAAS), in partnership with the African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD); as well as the Young Professionals for Agricultural Development (YPARD).

Among others, the objectives of the meeting were to identify and discuss the main gender issues in African agriculture and propose solutions to a gender-inclusive private sector engagement as well as contribute towards a framework for advocating for increased investment in gender-responsive approaches in agricultural research for development.

Dr. Yemi Akinbamijo, Executive Director of FARA, who welcomed participants to the meeting, said that women and youths are crucial in African agriculture, especially in the promotion of digital services and commercialization of research products. Hence, Dr. Akinbamijo called on stakeholders in African agriculture to advocate for gender-responsive investments in agriculture and the use of gender-smart approaches when engaging women and youth in agricultural research for development (AR4D). He noted that “FARA is playing an active role in strengthening the capacities of AR4D institutions in Africa and in gender mainstreaming towards achieving the sustainable development goals.”

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Passing on to a new YPARD leadership and management

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: Marina Venancio from Brazil and Jim Cano from the Philippines. Over the past year and a half as an SC member, Sebastian has proven to be a proactive and collaborative leader. He has made wonders as the public face of the YPARD SC in international webinar discussions. He also built partnerships and revived a coordinated team in Latin America and the Caribbean. I can’t wait to see his magic operate even more on a global level!  Marina and Jim were both country representatives at YPARD. They are multi-faceted professionals with extensive experience in international youth engagement for sustainable food systems. They bring strong networks in the international agricultural development arena and many different expertises from environmental law to agri-tech management, youth policy advocacy, etc.

The team is starting on a new page after an eventful past year:

  1. We surfed the wave of the Covid19 crisis and related budget cuts that struck many organizations. We were able to develop a 5year action plan for 2021-2025 and to build a strategic partnership that allows more operational flexibility.
  2. We regenerated the foundations for cohesive international community dynamics within the worldwide team. It started within the SC and expanded to the broader team. For instance, at a time of difficult decisions to make last year, we organized online meetings with the YPARD Team of country and regional chapters to inform them thoroughly about the situation, discuss and get their say on the future they want for YPARD. They were also solicited to elaborate the YPARD’s Diversity and Inclusion Manifesto, to ensure and affirm social justice in YPARD’s values and ways of working. Also, regular interviews were conducted with members, partners and regional units to make sure that their perspectives, successes, challenges and ideas are addressed and supported on a global strategic and managerial level. This was very well received from the team and their engagement was extremely encouraging.
  3. We recently recruited and coached new pillars in the Global Coordination Unit: Genna Tesdall as the YPARD Director and Glindys Virginia Luciano as the Network Engagement Coordinator. Genna and Glindys have both embraced the YPARD’s vision and reality in record time and it’s been a joy to work with them! You can read Genna’s very inspiring letter to the community and watch Glindys’ video
  4. We started to restore a culture of Organizational Knowledge Management to capture and leverage where we are coming from in terms of strategies and processes and enable us to be innovative without re-inventing the wheel. This is particularly key in an agile and dynamic structure, to ensure flawless transitions.  

What’s left as challenges have felt like a curse since my first involvement with YPARD exactly 10 years ago. Despite the evidence of incredibly talented young professionals doing loads of work to make a change for good, young people are not taken seriously. Would that be the cost for shaking the status quo a bit too hard - despite the need for radical change? Power dynamics and conflicting interests are strong, young people are yet taken too often as free labor, the sustainability of YPARD is thus still and again the bottleneck, and exchanging constructive feedback to make everyone prosper is yet a skill to acquire and/or perhaps a currency used to keep control. 

But what I see is hope. Yesterday’s great achievements are milestones on the road and it is a relief to know that the new leadership and management team – through the Global Coordination Unit and Steering Committee - hold the value of YPARD as a youth-led international network for sustainable food systems and that they will take the work forward with passion and willpower. The leadership’s strength is to live, protect and nurture the culture and legacy of YPARD as an energized community owning the network. They have affirmed their commitment to more collaboration and strengthened ties with the YPARD Team and partners all around the world, and for finding innovative solutions to ensure YPARD’s sustainability. 

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Welcoming a new YPARD Steering Committee member: Jim Leandro Cano

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 YPARD’s 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 the Capacity Building and Policy Officer for YPARD Asia Pacific, while also representing the Regional Unit at the High-Level Policy Dialogue organized by APAARRI that was in line with the GCARD3 Regional Consultations. Eventually, he also helped in bringing youth’s voice to the GCARD3 as he delivered a Keynote Speech highlighting how youth can be integrated across agrifood systems.

After that, he continued to represent YPARD in many other key agricultural conferences or participate in YPARD events such as the following:

  • Fourth International Agronomy Congress, New Delhi, India
  • Foresight Training, Beijing, China
  • Women’s Empowerment, E-commerce Development and Poverty Alleviation Training and Workshop, Beijing, China
  • YPARD Asia Pacific Regional Meetings
  • YPARD Strategic Planning and Fundraising Meeting, Prague, Czech Republic

In 2017, Jim was invited to join the Annual Meeting of the Global Forum for Rural Advisory Services (GFRAS). It was in this meeting that he and other young people at the conference (other YPARD members namely - Alpha Sennon and Marc Bappa) got the approval from the GFRAS Steering Committee to establish the GFRAS Youth Working Group. Fast forward to today, GFRAS and YPARD are now working closely.

In 2018, he was invited by the Private Sector Mechanism of the UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS) to participate in its 45th Annual Session. After engaging with other young people and youth networks, the Youth Alliance for Zero Hunger (formerly called as the RBA Youth Council) was birthed with which Jim was appointed by YPARD Global as the Focal Person. Today, he now sits as the Chair of the Youth Alliance and is working closely with the UN Food Agencies (aka Rome-based Agencies or RBAs) – FAO, IFAD, WFP, and CFS. The Youth Alliance also is taking an active role in the UN Food Systems Summit Youth Liaison Group among other initiatives. 

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Can kiwifruit grow in Romania? Results of the Romanian breeding program after 25 years of research onActinidia spp.

This abstract emerged as one of the outstanding research within the oral 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 top three posters and the top three oral presentations related to sustainable food systems were selected. 

Enjoy reading the abstract!

Authors: L. Iliescu1 , G. Peticil?1 , G. Zuccherelli2 , F. St?nic?1

  1. USAMV Bucure?ti, Romania, Bucharest, Romania
  2. Vitroplant Italia, Cesena, Italy

Domesticated from wild populations located on Yangtze River basin, kiwifruit is a recently developed crop and only within the last 70 years started to be commercialised. In Romania, kiwi is a new fruit specie and the creation, testing and introduction of winter hardy genotypes, adapted to the local harsh climate conditions represent a priority. The first kiwifruit orchards with Actinidia deliciosa and A. arguta were planted in Romania in 1993, at Ostrov (Constan?a County), on the border of the Danube River. In the same year, a common Italian-Romanian kiwifruit breeding program was initiated at the Faculty of Horticulture within the University of Agronomic Sciences and Veterinary Medicine of Bucharest. The experimental field with kiwifruit hybrid genotypes, was established on chernozem black soil in the Romanian plain, using some hybrid seedlings. The plants were grown under an organic orchard management, on a T-bar trellis system. The inter row surface was covered with a mixture of perennial grasses and mowed mechanically, and along the row, the soil was kept clean. Drip irrigation and micro spray irrigation system was provided. Since 1993, research has been carried out to determine the best methods of propagation, growing and kiwifruit orchard management. Genotypes phenology was studied every year in comparison with the climatic data. In parallel, physical and biochemical fruit characteristics were evaluated after ripening and during the storage. In time, several hybrid genotypes were obtained by free and controlled crossings between different cultivars of A. arguta: Francesca, Rosana, Jumbo, AA2, AA5, AA 6, AA 8 and the male ARM. The first flowers and fruits from A. arguta hybrid plants were produced in 2001 and selection has continued since then. After some years of observations and tests, eight elite female plant with interesting fruit characteristics were chosen for 28 propagation and testing under commercial orchard conditions. From this, three kiwiberry selections were registered: ‘Vip Green’ (R8P23), ‘Vip Red’ (R8P20) and ‘Green Delight’ (R8P1). Other intra and interspecific crossings using A. deliciosa and A. chinensis were made and from the initial hybrids, some selected genotypes as R0P13, R1P9, R1P8 and R1P12, have good fruit characteristics and yield. The new selections have to be registered as cultivars and can be successfully cultivated on commercial orchards and in private gardens. This paper presents few results of the Actinidia spp. Romanian breeding program. Some fruit quality characteristics of the new kiwi selections and hybrids as average weight, fruit shape index, pulp firmness, soluble solids, dry matter, acidity and ascorbic acid are detailed. After more than two decades of research, it was demonstrated that Actinidia deliciosa and A. chinensis can be grown in Romania in peach favourable areas, while A. arguta (kiwiberry or baby kiwi) can cover larger areas, suitable for plum cultivation.

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The content of bioactive compounds in raspberry fruit and leaves depending on the cultivation method

This abstract emerged as one of the outstanding research within the oral 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 top three posters and the top three oral presentations related to sustainable food systems were selected. 

Enjoy reading the abstract!

Authors: A. Ponder, E. Hallmann Warsaw University of Life Sciences, Poland, Warsaw, Poland.

Raspberry fruits are a perfect source of polyphenols, including flavonols, anthocyanins. Some experiments have indicated that organic fruits contain more bioactive compounds than conventional fruits. The research presented in this paper was aimed at determining the impact of organic and conventional farm management, harvest time and cultivar on the content of bioactive compounds and selected nutrients in raspberry fruit and leaves. In this study compared the concentration of bioactive compounds in organic vs. conventional raspberries and to determine the effects of cultivar. Three cultivars of raspberry (‘Laszka’, ‘Glen Ample’ and ‘Glen Fine’) were harvested in summer time and one ‘Polka’ cv. was harvested in autumn time. The organic raspberry fruits contained significantly more polyphenols. The organic samples contained significantly more phenolic acid and flavonoids, including myrycetin, quercetin, luteolin and quercetin-3-O-rutinoside. Harvest time was an important factor in raspberry fruit quality. Moreover, the second aim of this experiment was to identify and determine the polyphenolic, chlorophylls and carotenoids in the leaves of selected raspberry cultivars and their in vitro activity. Organic leaves were characterized by a significantly higher content of polyphenols; moreover, the organic leaves were characterized by higher antioxidant activity than conventional ones. However, conventional raspberry leaves contained more carotenoids and chlorophylls. In addition, in this experiment was to compare the content of vitamin C, sugars and organic acids in organic vs. conventional raspberries and to determine the effects of cultivar on the contents of these compounds. 24 Fruits from four raspberry cultivars ('Laszka', 'Glen Ample', 'Glen Fine' and 'Tulameen') were collected in the summer and fruits of the 'Polka' cv. were collected in the autumn. The conventional raspberries grown in the first year of the experiment contained a significantly more vitamin C and dehydroascorbic acid content compared to organic raspberries. We observed an effect of the cultivar on the organic acids content in raspberry fruit. ‘Laszka’ cv. and ‘Glen Fine’ cv. fruits contained significantly more total organic acids and citric acid compared to the other experimental cultivars. However, the in the second year of the experiment ‘Tulameen’ cv. was characterized by the highest levels of total sugars and sucrose content. Due to the high content of biologically active compounds and high health-promoting potential, raspberry fruit and leaves should be part of a healthy diet. 

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Ensuring food security amid COVID-19

Currently, the world is facing the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic which started on 11 March 2020 in Wuhan, China and the coronavirus is no longer a “new normal.” The Government of Nepal has imposed a nationwide lockdown since 29 April 2021 and enforced its federal, regional and local level structures to respond to the crisis, fully cognizant of its vulnerabilities.

Nepal's food security situation is exacerbated not only by many domestic factors (e.g., weak policies and institutional arrangements, and poor governance) but also by the effects of COVID-19 these days. The COVID-19 has aggravated food security by restricting movement, closing all restaurants, production, markets, and malls except for emergency needs. Even though these are steps designed to slow the spread of the virus and alleviate potentially devastating economic and social effects in Nepal, and also reflect measures taken by most countries. 

Overall, the virus has made it difficult for already impoverished and marginalized groups to survive. People are facing great food price inflation at the retail level, owing to the lingering supply disruptions caused by the lockdown.

Amid the pandemic as the silver lining of crisis, some positive impressions are also observed. Hereby, I have discussed some of them, to sum up, my opinion.

Government’s action

After the emergence of the second wave, the Government of Nepal has focused more on vaccinating the citizens rather than distributing relief packages. Realizing the importance of food security, provincial and local governments are primarily concerned with increasing the local supply of food, now more to cultivate fallow lands (estimated to be 30%) with the participation of returning migrants.

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YPARD Nepal announces the World Food Safety photo contest 2021

Young Professionals for Agricultural Development (YPARD), Nepal is announcing an online “World Food Safety Photo Contest 2021" with the global theme "Safe food now for a healthy tomorrow". 

The World Food Safety Day 2021 began its celebration on 7th June 2018 to ensure food security with the action to prevent, detect and reduce the global burden of food-borne disease. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) report on foodborne illness, there are 600 million and 420,000 deaths due to the illness. Stepping in the third year of celebration, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and WHO aims to draw the attention of stakeholders, influencers and the public to maintain the safety of food in every stage of the food chain. Safeguarding food from production to plate, reducing the women and child mortality rate, sustaining human health and strengthening economies are its major concerns. 

On this occasion, the contest aims to draw the attention of the youths to the current food safety scenario and come up with a better view of visualizing strength, potential contribution and challenges on stabilizing food safety. The initial selection process of the photographs will be carried out by the jury members and then uploaded on YPARD Nepal’s Facebook group for online voting. The selected participants will be notified of their selection via email. 

The winning photographs will be awarded cash prizes (details below) and a certificate of appreciation. YPARD Nepal will also honor the two photos with a public choice award and individuals will receive NPR 1000 cash. 

  1. Winner: NPR 15,000 
  2. First Runner up: NPR 7000
  3. Second Runner up: NPR 3000 

How to enter?  

  • The participant must be a registered member on the YPARD website.
  • Each entry consists of an entry form and a participant can upload up to three photographs.
  • The photograph must be owned by the participant. Any copyright, as well as watermark issues on the photograph, would be subjected to automatic disqualification. After submission, copyright will remain with the participant and YPARD may use it in the future with proper credit to the participant. 
  • All photographs must be related to the competition’s theme and the caption must include the description of the photo as well as the location and year of the photo when it was taken.  
  • Photographs must be in digital format (.jpg, .jpeg or .png) format in high resolution.
  • All the photos must be renamed as: First Name Last Name Photo number (Example: Suvaa Sharma 2).
  • Photographs must not be more than three years old and must not previously have participated in any contest.

Who can participate?

Submissions are opened to all the young professionals (aged 18-39 years) from Nepal who are self-motivated towards global food safety.

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Welcoming the new YPARD LAC communications focal point: Hazell Flores

YPARD is delighted to welcome Hazell Flores as the new communications focal point for Latin America and the Caribbean. 

Hazell has recently been awarded the Hubert H. Humprey Fellowship to develop a professional exchange in Agriculture and Rural Development at Cornell University. She has a Bachelor in Social Communication from Universidad Centroamericana, Nicaragua and diplomas in Children´s Rights and Feminist Economy. 

Hazell has been working as a Relator and Donor Relations Officer at American Nicaraguan Foundation in the Agriculture and Rural Development Department, where she has been elaborating impact reports for donors for the last two years. She has worked as a journalist, and on institutional communication in the higher education industry. She collaborated with a specialized magazine on the coffee sector in Central America. 

At the account of joining YPARD as the LAC communications focal point, this is what Hazell had to say; “visiting the countryside in my trips to collect information for my reports made me realize how little we know about the agricultural sector in the cities. Taking things for granted has made us forget about the faces of those producing non-stop in order for us to have food on our plates, those constantly struggling. There is an urgent need to transform, and this is the moment to do so, I believe the youth is key to make it happen. I love telling stories, in all possible formats, and I hope this position helps us reach more places and give voice to all those stories waiting to be told, helping us and others change our perspectives in agriculture-related subjects”. 

Hazell sees a world with empowered youth taking the lead to transform our food systems. She is inspired by their strive and believes in the importance of YPARD as a provider of opportunities from professionals to professionals. She is really enthusiastic about being part of this family and hopes to share her knowledge and learn from all. 

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Welcoming the new YPARD Steering Committee Chair: Sebastian Pedraza Paez

YPARD is delighted to welcome Sebastian Pedraza Paez as the new steering committee chair.

Sebastian is a Colombian youth leader who has important experience in rural youth issues. is a graduate with Associate Degree in ICT from SENA, is currently finishing an Associate Degree in Music Production from Latin American professional audio foundation Cetear, and Bachelor’s Degree in Political science and public management from the International University of La Rioja, He has also carried out several studies in the development of projects and public policies.

Sebastian currently works in Apoyar Foundation in Colombia, where he is an advisor in the management and formulation of projects. was one of the co-founders, board member and communications leader of the national rural youth network in Colombia.

For more than 8 years he has participated in the formulation and implementation of different projects that contribute to social and rural development in different parts of Colombia and in some countries in Latin America.

One of these initiatives is the National Rural Youth Network of Colombia, an initiative that seeks to empower rural youth, through training processes, facilitating access to opportunities, initiating the creation of public policies, so that these generate initiatives, that allow them to remain in the rural areas, and generate development in their territories. Furthermore, within the network, with Asoje and the Ministry of Agriculture, he has participated in the design of training processes and empowerment of rural youth.

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Welcoming a new YPARD Steering Committee member: Marina Demaria Ven

MarinaWe are delighted to welcome Marina Demaria Ven

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  • Brazil
  • Sharing Information and connecting people
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Ensuring access to safe and nutritious food for all

Nigeria UN Food Systems Summit Youth Dialogue 2021 held a webinar with the theme “Discussions bothering Action Track 1-Ensuring Access to Safe and Nutritious Food for All” on the 27th April 2021, with a lot of experts, young farmers and agricultural professionals in attendance. The virtual event was coordinated by United Youth for Sustainable Globe (UYSG) Nigeria and a host of other organizers.

In anticipation of the UN Food Systems Summit (UNFSS) convened by the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, and planned to hold in September 2021, Nigeria has rolled out a series of National Food Systems Dialogues (NFSD) across the country convened by different change-makers. The 2-hour long Nigeria UN Food Systems 2021 Youth Dialogue paraded thought leaders and industry experts from a vast range of fields and participants from different parts of the country, and from outside the country. The goal of the dialogue was to discuss how Nigeria could attain “nutritious and safe food for all” a notion that is promulgated by the UN Food Systems Action Track 1.

Panel sessions line-up included these Members:

  • Michael Sunbola (Founder, Lagos Food Bank initiative)
  • Azeez Akande (CEO, Community Actions for Food Security (CAFS))
  • Eric Nyikwagh (Country Representative, Young Professionals for Agricultural Development (YPARD) Nigeria)
  • Oluwatosin Ogunsola (Ondo State Coordinator, Impact Youth Sustainability (IYS Nigeria))
  • Waliyat Oloyede (Lecturer/Researcher, University of Ilorin & Founder, Tahmamuq Essentials)
  • Amidat Adigun (Founder, Lo'meedar Fresh & Management Consultant, Credit Analyst)

Moderators:

  • Ahmed Tiamiyu (State Coordinator, UYSG Lagos Chapter)
  • Jubril Adigun (Research Director, UYSG Lagos Chapter)

Following the introductions, the dialogue was sent in motion with an exposition from the founder of the Lagos Food Bank Initiative, Mr. Michael Sunbola that talked about how the initiative is solving the on-the-go provision of foods to disadvantaged communities. A salient point of Sunbola’s short exposé was to drive towards sustainability, that is how do we move from not only trying to solve long term needs to availability of food, but to address immediate needs of especially underserved groups of the country. For instance, he mentioned that the world (Nigeria not being an exemption) witnessed an unprecedented demand for immediate access to food during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

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  • Nigeria
  • Access to resources and capacity building
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From the director's desk

Hello YPARD! 

It is a huge honor to join your community. Thank you already for all the warm words of welcome. I aim to be a servant-leader, synthesizing the wishes of you all, my fellow members, into compromises that honor our mission and vision, sustaining the network and allowing it to grow. 

Why do I want to give my energy to YPARD? Because youth are so important for changing and leading global food systems. At the moment, youth have a limited voice in international policy dialogues and the forces which shape our food systems. If we are included, it is often as a token young face, but not with real decision-making power, and we rarely have a vote in international committees, even when these have representation from civil society. After we graduate from educational institutions, opportunities for education and access to information often become much more limited, although we are still at a time in our lives where we are thirsty to learn, grow and engender change. 

Networks like YPARD are filling this gap. YPARD is the only international agricultural network which focuses on youth even outside their time in formal educational institutions. The power of organizing young people cannot be understated. By creating leadership opportunities by youth for youth, we create practical learning experiences which cannot be gained in any classroom or seminar. YPARD is the freedom to launch a project because we have passion, and removes the prerequisite of years of practical experience. How does one ever get these years of practical experience if we are always too green and too young to start? Many of us are young professionals—experts in our own right. And when can we openly acknowledge that those with the most experience have exacerbated many social and environmental ills into crisis? Less experience in broken systems may let us break free of their faults.

Then there are the life-long international friendships, upon which international trust, collaboration, and cooperation are built. It is not an exaggeration to say that YPARD is not only a place to launch projects, learn and grow but a force for international peace. 

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Welcoming the incoming YPARD Director: Genna Tesdall

YPARD is delighted to welcome Genna Tesdall as the incoming YPARD Director.

She is a graduate of the global oriented Iowa State (2015) and Penn State Universities (2018) with an M.Sc. in Plant Pathology and International Agriculture and Development.

Before joining YPARD, she was the federal agricultural policy officer at the German Rural Youth Association (Bund der Deutschen Landjugend) (2020). As a Fulbright Researcher at the Humboldt University of Berlin (2018-19), she focused on youth involvement in agricultural policy and was the former president (2013-14) of the International Association of Agriculture and Related Sciences Students (IAAS). She currently resides in Berlin. 

On the occasion of joining YPARD as director, Genna explained her motivation for joining the YPARD team:

“Agriculture and food systems must sustain the environment and her people, and networks like YPARD are key to achieving these goals. No progress can happen justly without the democratic and informed engagement of youth. We are the leaders not only of tomorrow but today! To this end, I strive to be a servant-leader for YPARD in order to foster equality between generations (and all delimiters of privilege).”

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  • Czech Republic
  • Sharing Information and connecting people
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My journey to a fairy-tale land

As the crystal-like, feather-light, glimmering snowflakes touched my skin, and the rays of shimmering winter-sun peaked through the fluffy, grey curtain in the sky – I was certain that I had woken up in the middle of a fairytale dream.

As a child, I dreamed of travelling the world, flying first-class, and dining in the finest restaurants around; little did I know that it would one day become a reality.

My story began 2 days after Christmas, as I was on my way home from a Sunday morning Church service, when there, in front of me, stood a guardian angel, certainly sent from above. After indulging in a mouthwatering lunch and receiving what seemed like an overflow of information, my mind was made up; Czech Republic would soon be the place that I would call home. I began my application process for a full-time Bachelor’s degree study in International Cooperation in Agriculture and Rural Development (ICARD), at the Czech University of Life Sciences, in the Faculty of Tropical AgriSciences, in January 2019. It was a comforting relief, knowing that I could study in English, even though I had already begun self-study of the beautiful, mysterious Czech language.

What had me convinced most about pursuing a career in this field – coming from a strong sales, marketing, and managerial background – was the interdisciplinary nature of the degree. The University’s authentic, historical background and unprecedented importance in the Agriculture industry within the Czech Republic was assurance enough that I would acquire valuable information in fields related not only to ‘life sciences’ but most importantly in agriculture. What stood out for me most is the multiple courses relating to rural development and poverty alleviation; courses highly relevant in making an impact in the lives and livelihoods of the rural people (9,928,163 of 14,645,460 (FAO 2019)) in my country. This was of paramount importance to me, as Zimbabwe depends greatly on agriculture, as a source of income/livelihood – with the majority of the working class (about 66.19% (World Bank 2019)) employed in the sector.

The application process was a bump-free experience, thanks to the Study and International Relations Departments, whose able, friendly, helpful staff were always hands-on and more than willing to assist in every way possible. Even though the procedure was a mentally strenuous one that demanded my full attention and commitment, as well as street-smarts, I was able to apply with only my High School certificates/transcripts, and an immaculately written motivation letter. This was a major plus for me, as other Universities have a wide range of other requirements, thus hindering greatly ones’ chances of having the opportunity to study their desired degrees across various disciplines. I was able to meet the deadline and fulfil all requirements (see the requested requirements HERE), in a thorough and timely manner. After submitting my application, together with all necessary documentation needed – the nail-biting wait began. I was overjoyed when after only a few weeks I received a positive response; time flew by so swiftly and before I knew it, it was time to travel to the Czech Embassy in the beautiful Republic of Zambia, for my VISA application. My 4-day-stay was an amazing one. I enjoyed every moment of it, with the highlight of my trip being able to get a chance to meet with my long-time friends and reminisce about the ‘good-old-days’. The Embassy staff was amazing and their service second to none. I received my VISA in less than 30-days, and without a shadow of a doubt, I was certain that, I would soon be soaring through the clouds – Prague bound.

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  • Promote agriculture among young people
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My YPARD online internship experience

The first YPARD encounter

It was just a normal school day in my class at the faculty of tropical agrisciences. With full concentration, continuous note-taking and a constant sip of my cup of green tea which was helping with the struggle to stay awake…Well I had just arrived from Africa, full of dreams, full of motivation, no winter or early dark night can stop me now, so it was either the class nap or my future…Hahaha. Okay back to the story. Just after the class with one of our amazing teachers in the faculty, we were told we had a guest. I was even more alert this time, then came this young lady, she was a representative of YPARD Europe operating from the Czech University of Life Sciences Prague (CULS) here in the Czech Republic. I was smitten. She spoke beautifully on the great benefits of being a part of the young professionals for agricultural development movement. The most interesting part about YPARD that caught my attention was the movement’s mission to enable and empower young people in agriculture to shape sustainable food systems.

She also mentioned that the YPARD movement was not a European movement only, it was a worldwide affair. I was equally amazed at how much impact young professional were making in Europe and even all over the world. Most of my classmates had lots of questions and most were answered, and I was really pleased while also strategically thinking of the nearest future.

The internship

In 2020, the pandemic struck, I had spoken to a few friends of mine about internship positions they might know of as this was a prerequisite to graduating from the faculty of tropical agrisciences. After much search, I was introduced to the communications and fund-raising officer of the YPARD movement in Europe (Stacy Hammond), who mentioned that my internship must be online because of the COVID-19 pandemic. I was not so pleased; how could I possibly cope with being an online intern, what could I possibly learn? But I kept an open mind.

In December 2020, I had my first meeting with Stacy Hammond. After the meeting, I was totally convinced I was in for a ride, majority of all the things she said went over my head, I had no clue, “write a blog, post on social media, find opportunities, interview.”

My internship kicked off in 2021. I had all the support; all my questions were answered every step of the way. Although my first task was a total disaster in my opinion, but I was greatly encouraged by the guidance I got from Stacy Hammond.

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