This conference seeks to engage various researchers in the academia from different parts of the world on the best way forward to actively bolster youth engagement in agriculture and agrifood systems. My critical observation was that there was fewer presence of the targeted audience, youth, thus any casual observation will infer that it was strictly an academic exercise. Nevertheless, the two main youth networks represented-the Global Youth Innovation Network (GYIN) and the Young Professionals in Agriculture and Research Development (YPARD) youth representatives- made several inputs during the discussions. Deliberations on the theme-Young People engagement in the agrifood sector– was very much on point and I really gained so much insight and knowledge in the intellectual discourse. With respect to the online participation, yours truly, was always tweeting on the hashtag (#ypf2012) making my inputs well known on behalf of the Global Youth Innovation Network and on behalf of other youth networks such as CTA-ARDYIS. I also had the opportunity to interact on individual basis with some of the participants and made known my opinion and expectations from the conference. The organization of the conference in my opinion has been of the highest international standards and I wish to congratulate the organizers (ISSER and IDS) for exhibiting such professionalism and timeliness in staging such an event. Kudos!!
There were 9 panel discussions during the event for which each participant could freely opt to register to participate in. I chose Panel 1– Aspirations and Attitudes Toward Agriculture; Panel 6– Entrepreneurship and Employment and Panel 9– Engaging Young People. I chose these panel topics because my interest and focus lie in those areas.
Available on the Box.net widget for your free download, you will find short reports for the 2-day written by the program organizers. Also available for my ardent readers are the presentations made by some of the participants along with their papers submitted. This is to keep yourself updated on what was discussed at the conference. (Copyright is the Authors and the organizers if you wish to use those presentations and papers).
Thanks and enjoy reading!!
GAINS FROM FAC CONFERENCE:
I have gained a lot from this conference knowledge-wise and my perception of establishing an appropriate linkage between the Research community (academia) and the agricultural field is now being structured appropriately. I’m now very much aware that youth engagement in the agricultural value chain requires considerable research redefined to contemporary levels to meet changing trends. Added to this, I have learnt that youth should be involved in policy issues from design to evaluation and for this to happen, awareness should be created for youth to know their rights and their inclusion in such policy discourse. To conclude, I wish to end with the statement from one of the participants: Youth are very passionate, and innovative and these attributes need to be harnessed to improve the agrifood sector.