The Youth Agri-preneurs Project (YAP), which forms part of the highly anticipated GCARD3 Global Event scheduled to take place in in Johannesburg this week is calling for all stakeholders associated with the conference to work together and involve the young agripreneurs into the dynamics of the conference and assist with achieving some of the programme’s outlined sustainable development goals.
Given that GCARD3 is about re-aligning research with agricultural development needs, the Global Event, which will bring all global stakeholders such as researchers, practitioners and policy makers together needs to highlight the need for greater inclusive and inter-generational participation in order to lead the way in ensuring effective sustainable development.
The G-Card 3 Conference will be held at Birchwood Hotel, Boksburg from the 5th-8th of April 2016.
It is important to have the YAP program as part of the GCARD so that young Agri-preneurs can build a mutual understanding and solid collective actions with other GCARD stakeholders. The YAP was started in the run-up to the upcoming #GCARD3 global event with the call for youth-in-agriculture to send their project proposal online.
The movement is calling for greater youth and farmer representation as these segments in agricultural discussion and decision making processes are always often left behind and poorly represented at global development conferences.
“All stakeholders will come together to confirm their commitment towards the sustainable development goals; the event will also generate a better understanding of what is needed to achieve these. One thing for sure is that it needs us to all work together,” explains Marina Cherbonnier, the communications and knowledge manager of the Young Professionals for Agricultural Development (YPARD).
YAP fills the GAP, with well-equipped young Agri-preneurs so that they fully take part in research and policy discussions that will ultimately impact them, for the worst or the best. We also bring a more concrete and hands on touch to the global event, supporting the idea that there is no policy and research without on-the-ground action and no on-the-ground action without the support of policy and research, so that we indeed move from research to impact, we demonstrate result, we keep science relevant and ultimately ensure agriculture as a viable career path that ensures healthy rural livelihoods,” says Cherbonnier.
Greater youth representation a goal
YAP participants will make sure that young Agri-preneurs are represented at the global event, and by bringing their own experience, they will provide valuable insights into the global discussions and contribute the decisions for an agricultural research that serves sustainable development. By being present with their other young peers, junior researchers, young civil society representatives and others, they will build a new generation of people who understand the value and commit to the working together towards a same vision of a hunger-free and sustainable world through cohesive action.
In addition, YAP aimed to encourage young Agri-preneurs from all over the world, to think about their projects and formulate their ideas in a concrete proposal as well as use the organisations blog, as a platform where these entrepreneurs could showcase their projects, while encouraging feedback on their proposals through the comments on each business plan’s blog post.
“We want to show, to a wider audience, how many creative, inspiring and concrete ideas these young people have. We want to inspire young people to come out with their ideas, and use the power of social media to network and advocate for their projects, now and in the future. The GCARD3 Global event brings the platform and the communications power we need to bring these projects to the spotlight, to mobilize the needed audience of both youth and less youth agriculturalists and get them excited about it,” comments Cherbonnier.
Challenges with the proposals
One of the main challenges the organisers are currently grappling with is the unexpected high volume, and extraordinary quality and variety of the YAP projects. Over 116 000 people from all over the world read the proposals, and posted over 60 000 comments. Many are young people inspired and stimulated by the innovative ideas; others are seasoned professionals willing to help with advice and potential collaboration. Several donors saw the value of the program and sent their interest in sponsoring the YAP participants. While only a few could be selected for the current pilot project there will be follow-ups on the submitted proposals in the next few months.
“We will do our utmost best to assist the young Agri-preneurs in various ways, which we still need to explore. These young Agri-preneurs deserve our support. And this is not just us being the organizers of the project, but us, the global community. We do need to step up our support, to encourage, stimulate and enable these young agriculturalists and entrepreneurs. They truly are the future of the world’s agriculture and strive to provide food security for all, in a sustainable manner. We will, once again, do our best to work with the global community to further extend our support to youth working in agriculture,” concludes Peter Casier, the YAP coordinator.
The Youth Agri-preneurs Project (YAP) is a pilot project targeting young agricultural entrepreneurs or “Agri-preneurs”. The premise of the pilot project is a call to young people in agriculture to submit their ag-project ideas. The Agri-preneurs selected as the finalists get a US$5,000 seed fund to facilitate the startup of their project, spread over the period of one year. During one year, we will mentor these young Agri-preneurs within their project, linking them with seasoned researchers and practitioners, by integrating them in the YPARD (Young Professionals for Agricultural Development) mentoring program.
We will also train them on new ways to advocate and network using innovative communication and networking tools. The finalists are invited to attend the #GCARD3 global event in Johannesburg, where they will receive their first induction training and have the opportunity to network with agricultural specialists from all over the world. YAP was initiated by GFAR (the Global Forum on Agricultural Research), CGIAR (the Global Agricultural Research Partnership) and YPARD (the Young Professionals for Agricultural Development).
The YAP participants are 6 young Agri-preneurs with strong business models, from different regions of the world. They will attend the GCARD3 Global event, be granted a 5000USD grant and a seat in a YPARD mentoring program over a year.
But YAP is more than that: it is 428 enthusiast young professionals in agriculture who sent their YAP proposals and who keep receiving words of encouragement, support, advices and partnership requests from the online community.
- To view finalists’ profiles click here.