“Enough of the jargon, enough of the hierarchies, enough of the competition amongst us. Let us collaborate and serve those who we claim to be serving ,” said Mark Holderness, Executive Secretary of Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR) as the High Level Policy Dialogue came to a close.
Is this a call for a constructive disruption in global agriculture’s status quo?
YES! And young people should be at the forefront of this cause. Institutions and organizations aim to serve farmers in their locality, but because of the various mandates, many of these existing entities are kept within their boxes. We need to shake up and disrupt this system for the better if we are to make agriculture sustainable.
The agriculture machinery around the globe must alter its mindset towards social transformation. It must become more farmer-centric in the sense that it must seek to address the declining number and aging population of farmers, as well as a lack of interest in agriculture by youth.
Dr Javed Rizvi, South Asia Regional Director of World Agroforestry Center (ICRAF) raised an important point in one of the parallel sessions. He asked, “Do we know the profile of our target audience for capacity development? How many of them are women? How many are youth?” Thinking along those lines, I would say that if we are to address the declining number and aging population of farmers, investing in young people strategically and relentlessly will yield high returns in the long run.
If we build the capacity of current farmers, who are in their 50s or 60s, such investment will not contribute to the global aim of sustainable agriculture. Do we expect these farmers to continue to be our primary producers in the next 15 to 20 years? No. We need youth and we need them now.
So how can we disrupt ancient systems for the better? Let young people see the vast opportunities in agriculture and its role in research, extension, business, policy, social transformation, and environmental issues.
The youth have the heart and the passion. We just need to be guided in where we direct that. Firing up passion among young people will be disruptive on its own, but will yield significant impacts when harnessed and guided by the older generation’s wisdom.
If we are to upset the status quo, then it’s time for senior actors in global agriculture to get out of their individual boxes and start working together. But most importantly, they need to start working hand-in-hand with youth to achieve sustainable agriculture.
Let us disrupt the system. Let us break down institutional barriers. Let us break through. Let us blend the wisdom of the old with the passion of the young.
Let our battle cry for sustainable agriculture be: IS THERE NO CAUSE?
Blogpost by Jim Cano – #GCARD3 Social Reporter, jim.cano7(at)gmail.com
Picture courtesy tOrange.us
This post is part of the live coverage during the #GCARD3 Regional Consultation for Asia and Pacific region. This post is written by one of our social reporters, and represents the author’s views only.