As members of YPARD, we were invited to take part in national consultations on integrating CGIAR sites on 19 February in Kinshasa organized by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), an active CGIAR center in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Participants were from the government: Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, the Ministry of Scientific and Technological Research, the National Seed Service, the National Institute for Agricultural Studies and Research; nongovernmental organizations; Donors: USAID, CTB, SNV, the private sector and groups of farmers.
These consultations took place in the context of the GCARD3 to positively influence the next phase of CGIAR research programs in the DRC.
In his welcoming speech, the representative of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries: Professor Lucien nyembo reaffirmed the commitment of the Congolese government to develop agriculture by focusing on creating agribusinesses while emphasizing the major role of research, a research that will not only look at agricultural production but also at production quality.
The areas of intervention
The participants all agreed on the idea that research has an important role to play in agricultural development and it is imperative to align the CGIAR program and the Congolese government work for all the potential synergies it has while still not yet on the same phase.
Participants set defined priority areas of interventions and modalities for collaboration and cooperation.
The place of the Youth
While issues related to youth in agriculture were not the focus of the discussions, they were the basis of our participation in this workshop.
The government of the Democratic Republic of Congo is not very involved in boosting youth and agricultural entrepreneurship and among the challenges faced by youth is their low involvement in political debates. This particularly explains the failure of some youth-dedicated initiatives which do not meet youth specific needs, which are often complex and varied.
With a predominantly young and unemployed population, agriculture appears as a response to youth unemployment in Democratic Republic of Congo and the only way to use this considerable potential. Unfortunately this youth is abandoned to its fate with very limited capacity for change.
To date, the initiatives in the field of youth entrepreneurship in the agricultural sector by the CGIAR through IITA are still at their beginnings and not communicated enough.
We sensitized the Assembly on the major role young people must play in agricultural development while insisting on the idea that modern information and communications technologies offer several perspectives on this.
We are convinced that today, to better meet the challenges of agriculture, governments should further work to define policies that accelerate the development by including the youth and young people must mobilize and gather to engage their Government to put in place policies in their favor.