Overwhelming, surprising, unexpected, humbling , exciting are some words that attempt to describe what I felt when I heard that I was chosen to be one of the youth innovators for the CFS incubator program. For now, I will narrow down to exciting especially after I arrived at Rome. I felt challenged and poised for action during and after the experience.
When the advert requesting youth innovators to record a three minutes video in a Committee on Food Security (CFS) hosted competition was announced, I did not take it serious. Why would i? CFS needed ten youths from all countries of the world, and my thinking was Africa should be the least in the list because I know its raging battle in attaining food security. But, two facts at the back of my mind urged me to apply;
- YPARD on whose facebook page I found the advert is a credible platform that is truly interested in agricultural among other engagements by and for youths.
- I am convinced beyond reasonable doubts that beekeeping has all the tools to reduce hunger, malnutrition and promote food security among other environmental world issues.
This drove me to sending my submission for the Youth Idea Incubator-a poorly recorded video- and I happened to be among the ten youths selected sometime in September. I began to contribute more on the YPARD Nigeria facebook group and offered a couple of youth manuals on how to farm snails and earn a sustainable livelihood from it. Given the area I come from, I could not practice the snail farming at all.
I was, and am particularly interested in the youth on the Nigerian page because it takes a lot of courage for an educated Nigerian youth to want to get his or her hands dirty.
Within very few hours after my arrival in Rome, I had to pitch my idea in just about 90secs. On that day I felt it was no longer a competition between the ten of us but an opportunity to make the voice of youths heard in matters pertaining to agriculture. I was very challenged and determined at all cost to seek for grants to turn my pitched idea into an actual project aimed at engaging youths in beekeeping.
After our pitches and a couple of plenary sessions and side events, I then understood what has made Africa quite backward in agriculture. I took on new challenges to;
- To engage professionals from various spheres of study on how they can contribute within the scope of their profession towards reducing hunger, malnutrition and promoting food security. We all must eat; hence well all should be involved.
- To socially encourage youths to take on agriculture at it’s very basic. I am rising faster in agriculture than my peers in other professions. Agriculture is highly profitable if well understood.
- To try as hard as I can to influence policy makers to improve on current policies which has been improving to legislations that promote youth in agriculture?
All thanks to YPARD. I would never have known of the opportunity if not for the platform. Also to #USAIDMARKETS2, #CFS, #Y4FSN and of course #ZeroHunger. And just like the UN Secretary General said at the EXPO Milano 2015, by 2030, hunger should not be heard of in the world, particularly among children.