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Youth involvement at the GCARD3

Joshua during a radio interview as a student in agricultureGuess what?  Opportunities are present for the youth to be engaged in Agriculture! An event called Global Conference on Agricultural Research and Development (GCARD) will be taking place at Johannesburg, South Africa. It aims to greatly involve the youth to participate in the improvement of agriculture and innovation on food production systems to attain global food security; steps towards achieving Sustainable Development Goals.  Its goal is also to train the youth delegates on the impact and influence of social media platforms to amplify and make agricultural development interesting especially to other people. GCARD’s organizers, the Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR) focuses on its theme “No One Left Behind: Agri-food Innovation and Research for a sustainable World”. The key objective of the event is to dramatically intensify the impact of research and development towards keeping science relevant, and future-focused for the improvement of quality of life. By scaling up research, farming will be more business-oriented, enticing the youth to get involved in agriculture and consequently hastening the development of the agriculture as a field to empower the farmers.

As a project development officer engaged in biotechnology communication and extension of the Philippines’ agriculture department, I believe that all of GCARD 3’s key themes such as: 1. Scaling up: from research to impact; 2. Demonstrating results and attracting investment; 3. Keeping science relevant and future-focused; 4. Sustaining the business of farming, and 5. Ensuring better rural futures are very relevant across the globe.  Our farmers are aging and I believe that this is the right time to maximize the involvement and participation of the youth on revitalizing agriculture in our country. With proper guidance and institutional support, I believe the youth will be playing an important role towards achieving the new “green revolution” up to a global scale.

I envision that we, the youth, through our innovative and creative ideas will revolutionize agriculture. We will make it more engaging to everyone and make it a globally interesting. We want a purpose that will allow us to engage a wide audience for a greater cause, because we are aware that we are not just talking about the food we have on our table, we are also talking about the food of our children’s children.

That is why, we use various social media platforms; we are very observant and vigilant on the issues around us locally and internationally. We use the social media platforms to advance our right on access on information as well as advocating whatever cause we have. Agriculture is my advocacy. I want to help the farmers lift them out of poverty as well as the consumers to provide them a wide host of food choices.

Personally, I use social media to update my friends and colleagues on the recent developments from our research institutions as well as the advancement of agricultural technologies of other local and international organizations through their publications and brochures. And recently, before I was hired in a project in the Department of Agriculture (DA), I assisted in running a campaign through social media (Facebook, Twitter, Scribd and LinkedIn) of my student organization (The UP League of Agricultural Biotechnology Students) on its stand against the Supreme Court (SC) Writ Decision on Bt Eggplant and nullification of the DA Administrative Order 08 – the Philippine Biosafety Policy on GM Crops
< We gathered other student institutions and formations to support our stand. Along with these organizations, we commended our scientists for their time and efforts to provide us an alternative technology in eggplant production that will help our farmers reduce their synthetic pesticide use, maximize their yield and improve their income. We were also calling for review and reconsideration of the SC decision and reflect on probable overwhelming consequences for the affected sectors. The SC decision may disrupt the operations of the livestock and poultry industry because 70% of corn in the Philippines is GMO – the main source for animal feed production. My organization’s stand was also released and published to the local and national news media in the Philippines making my fellow youth more informed on this issue.

And that is the reason why I also joined on founding and chartering YPARD Philippines. Through the skills and knowledge I learned by studying my field, I want to use and hone it to help everyone understand agriculture, and invite them to become more involved in knowing our policy on food and agriculture. As the focal person for Policy Research, Advocacy and Membership, I wish for the youth to participate in the public consultations, hearings, symposia, conferences, and other projects and activities organized by government and non-government organizations related on the rules and regulation in our food production.

With our continuing cause on our food and agricultural development, I believe GCARD 3 will help me effectively run my campaigns as an advocate of global food security and increasing access to all agricultural technologies. Through the lecturers, mentors and brilliant co- participants in the event,  I believe that I will learn from them how  to connect with other people to more properly communicate my vision for agriculture and how we will make it coordinated through collaborations.

I believe we can only achieve maximum food security through systematic promotion and development of agriculture and its allied fields on a global scale.

This blog post is part of the GCARD3 Youth blogpost applications. The content, structure and grammar is at the discretion of the author only.