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Pick me! Pick me!! Pick me!!!

RashidahPick me… Pick me… Pick me… so says the oranges that makes the yummy, refreshing and enticing fruit juices we all love and savour for. But do we ever think about what makes the oranges to be? Am sure many would say, well…no. Then I frown and look back to that aged man or woman who tills day and night, always on the alert for the variation in weather conditions using their own traditional methods to know how to make the best use of the season to provide us with the juicy fruits all year round and his or her beautiful name is; a FARMER.

Then you check the age of these farmers and realize that the ageing rate of farmers is rapidly growing. Reported by the guardian of February, 2014; worldwide, the average age of farmers is about 60, including the developing countries and many amongst them are women and poorly educated. Older farmers are less likely to introduce new, transformative production techniques.

Here, we the youths are found wanton. Do we want a generation or a future where hunger is an impediment to our well-being? A future where famine, malnutrition and despondency is the order of the day when the aged population passes on? We need to ask ourselves and am quite sure the answer will be a big NO NO. Then, the solution lies in our hands, in our ability to structure the “life of abundance” we so desire. Our active roles in agriculture will so impact heavily on global development.

We all might not necessary be on the farm; tilling , planting and harvesting but we can make these processes easier ad also actively participate in the agricultural value change to make agriculture really work for us. Structuring technology into its advancement, making it climate- smart and of course trendier to engage in.

I believe strongly that the global conference on agricultural research for development (GCARD3) will play a vital role in helping us stimulate our inner self, mentor and inspire in steering us back to embrace agriculture. Personally, I strongly enjoy the part of the value chain where through social platforms, I can motivate and encourage the other people in the value chain showcase their activities, get ambience and find solutions to issues that comes up. Also, making their work easier by facilitating ways to make them have a platform where all those in the agribusiness share ideas, solutions and benefit from each other. So also, making agriculture cool and trendy to encourage more youths to consider participating in.

One of the themes that I am particularly interested in is, Scaling up; from research to impact. Research is an integral aspect of agriculture, where better practices can be studied, implemented and the impacts of these research work will be positively felt. No improvement can be felt in the sector without research work especially now that we have to find ways to adapt to climate change.

Knowledge gained from GCARD3 will be tuned towards, first of all, self-actualization and abilities because one cannot succinctly give what you do not have. It will be an avenue for me to update and upgrade my knowledge in agricultural research on different spheres which will then be actively put into capacity building for youths in my country. As much as this has started on the Ypard, Nigeria platform, it will add more value to helping youths in Nigeria, find their bearing in the little ways I can and this I believe will go a long way.

Furthermore, engaging in talks with other members that will be present will help in exchanging notes, ideas and also listening to those with better experiences in shaping our local content to encourage other youths towards agriculture. Building on these will also boost self-confidence and give a source of motivation in assisting agripreneurs in other chosen areas of commitment towards agriculture.

Social media platforms serves as a tool in making agriculture trendy for youths, encouraging their inner self to not only knowing but practicing and using it to proffer solutions to the economy, people and Nigeria as a country.

Rashidah is a biochemistry graduate and currently pursuing her M.Sc. Public Health, she has so much interest and passion for agriculture and is using her social media skills in encouraging youths to embrace agriculture. She is currently a member of the National coordinating team and communications officer fo YPARD, Nigeria. She is a citizen of Nigeria and works in Nigeria.

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