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GCARD3 and Beyond - Providing A Space for Youth

NakasiIt is no secret that there is a problem in Agriculture, today; there is the case of the aging farmer and the lack of youth involvement in the sector. When this is married to the steadily increasing global population and need for increased food supply, one can understand why this is a problem.  For years on end we have conducted research, wrote thought provoking pieces, held focus groups, brainstorming sessions, among other things, all in an effort to ascertain why young people aren’t rushing to get involved in Agriculture.  The benefits of a career in Agriculture have been laid out,  the opportunities available for personal and professional growth stated, the technological advances in the field have been presented to scores, yet in the grand scheme of things youth involvement is still at a minimal level.  Why is that?  What could possibly be the cause of such a scenario?  The answers are many and I am certain they have been well documented in other brilliantly written articles. 

I would however, like to propound that perhaps for a brief moment we shine a light on the young people who recognise the role they play in local, regional and global food security and nutrition development.  The young people who persevere and overcome obstacles placed in front of them, sometimes by the very system that calls for inclusivity and involvement.  Enter GCARD3.

GCARD3 Plus

GCARD3 provides such a space for recognition and empowerment, by building capacity and capability.  Through roles as facilitators, speakers, social reporters, technical reporters, mentees and agripreneur champions, young people are getting a seat at the table.  It is a win/win situation. “No one Left Behind: Agri-Food Innovation and Research for a Sustainable World” is the theme of this year’s Global Event.  A theme that is most time timely given the recently adopted Sustainable Development Goals. Focusing on five (5) thematic areas, this Global Event caters to the every need of the young professional who is eager to get personal and professional development.  These thematic areas are;

●       Scaling up: From research to impact

●       Demonstrating results and attracting investment

●       Keeping science relevant and future focused

●       Sustaining the business of farming, and

●       Ensuring better rural families

Beyond GCARD3, and one of the things I am particularly interested in, is the GCARD3 Pledge to Sustainable Development.  Coming from a developing country that is known as the bread basket of the Caribbean region because of our Agricultural potential, joining this global conservation on the future of agri-food research and innovation is an excellent opportunity to enhance my knowledge base, network with movers, shakers and young professionals in the field, contribute to this conversation and disseminate information presented to my various networks at home.

Social Media Reporting - Here to Stay

In 2014 and 2015 respectively, I participated in the Revolutionizing Finance for Agri-Value Chains Conference and the Caribbean and Pacific Agri-Food Forum as a Social Media Reporter.  Those opportunities provided me with valuable insight and knowledge in not only Social Media Reporting (as training was provided by the Organisers) and the topics covered at these Conferences.   They proved the importance of Social Media Reporting at such large scale conferences and the results generated by both teams were pretty impressive. Beyond that, I had the chance to connect with, learn from and learn about the works of young people, like myself, who are changing the face of Agriculture.  Rebranding it, if you will.

These young people have inspired me beyond measure, and while the number of youth involved in Agriculture is not where we want it to be, great stride has been made in encouraging participation.  More and more young people are responding to the call for their involvement, and they are doing so eagerly and challenging the status quo.  They are paving their own path and propelling forward with every setback.  These are the people who we must applaud.  They deserve it.  GCARD3, in bringing young people on board, is indeed ensuring that “no one is left behind”.

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