Call for Abstracts: International Conference on Mountains in the Changing World, 1-2 October, 2016, Nepal

Mountains are a part of global biodiversity repository and play a vital role in maintaining global ecosystems and supporting millions of people. In the mean time they are the most vulnerable to rapid environmental change.

MoChWoThe international conference on “Mountains in the Changing World” (#MoChWo) is organized by the Kathmandu Institute of Applied Sciences in ancient town of Kathmandu from 1-2 October, 2016. It aims to provide a forum for international/national scholars, researchers, policy maker and students with opportunity to share their research findings and knowledge related to various aspects of mountains.

The #MoChWo will focus on a broad range of topics related to mountain ecosystem and sustainable livelihood. The thematic areas are

  1. Disasters, resilience, and adaptation
  2. Biodiversity conservation
  3. Climate change
  4. Environmental pollution
  5. Forest management
  6. Soil, water and atmospheric research
  7. Agriculture and agro-ecology
  8. Sustainable livelihood
  9. Policy for mountain resources and livelihood

Abstracts for the conference can be submitted via its online submission system from 1 April to 15 August 2016. Please click here for details.

All conference participants are required to register. Early bird registration begins on 1 June and ends on 15 August. The regular registration is from 16 August to 20 September. Click here for more information.

Authors will have an opportunity to publish their full research papers in one of these journals: Conservation ScienceEnvironments and Sustainability, and accepted through regular peer review process.

Contact information

MoChWo2016 secretariat
Kathmandu Institute of Applied Sciences, PO Box 23002, Kathmandu, Nepal
Phone: +977-1-6924204
Email: conference@kias.org.np, Convener: Dr. Basant Giri (bgiri@kias.org.np)

Conference website: http://conference.kias.org.np/

#GCARD3: Together We Are Shaping the Future

Today, 5th April 2016,  Third Global Conference on Agricultural Research and Development (GCARD3) is formally opened at the Birchwood Hotel and O.R. Tambo Conference Centre in Boksburg, South Africa which will be continued for next 3 days.

The global event is hosting by the Agricultural Research Council (ARC) of South Africa, in support of Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR) and Consortium of International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), is expected to be an inclusive, participatory process and will be an opportunity to shape the future of global agricultural research.

History of GCARD

The Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development (GCARD) has been created to promote effective, targeted investment and build partnership, capacities and mutual accountabilities at all levels of the agricultural system so as to ensure that today’s agricultural research will meet the needs of the resource-poor end user.

As history, GCARD1 was held in March 2010 (France), resulted in the “GCARD Road Map”, a six-point plan for transforming agricultural research for development (ARD) around the world. In November 2012 (Uruguay) GCARD2 identified pathways to impact ARD, which led to 15 new commitments around partnership, capacity development and foresight. The GCARD3, which theme is “no one left behind: agri-food innovation and research for a sustainable world” kicks off a two-year global consultation process designed to help shape the strategy and future direction of international agriculture research and innovation.

National and Regional Consultations

During the year of 2015/2016, before to GCARD3, there were 20 national consultations meeting were coordinated by CGIAR centers with national partners. In Nepal, it was organized on 11th January, which objective was to share current CGIAR research activities to receive better insights of different research priorities of the stakeholders so as to run smoothly and have better impact on the research activities in Nepal. Similarly, GFAR and regional partners has organized 5 regional consultations meeting around the world.

Why GCARD3?

Sessions at the GCARD3 will reflect upon the outcomes of the national and regional dialogues with a view to bridging the gaps between the generation of new ideas and their impact in development and it will bring together stakeholders to confirm commitments to the 2030 agenda for sustainable development and to discuss emerging applications in agri-food research and innovation.

The outcome will be a clear understanding of what is needed to achieve sustainable agricultural development in which “no one is left behind”. The Program is based on five key themes

  1. Scaling up: from research to impact;
  2. Demonstrating results and attracting investment;
  3. Keeping science relevant and future-focused;
  4. Sustaining the business of farming, and
  5. Ensuring better rural futures

Mainstreaming of Youth

GCARD3 is also becoming a major a space for youth, out of 512 GCARD3 participants, 140 are youth (that is more than 25%). There’s youth representation in all core teams (panels, speakers) of virtually every theme and session to discussion on how youth-led initiatives and their supporters can join forces better and work collectively towards youth-in-agriculture empowerment for agricultural development.

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Participants, Social Media Boot Camp (Photo: GCARD3-SMB)

i) Social Media Boot Camp

To support GCARD3, a 3 days long social media boot camp was organized to train a group of 75 social reporters from young social reporters, finalists of the Youth Agri-preneurs Project (YAP) and staffs from GFAR partner organizations, who have never worked together before so they can report live from the event. This is to ensure that they will be well equipped with the tools and skills to integrate thousands of people who cannot be at the conference into the onsite discussions.

ii) Global Youth Delegates

Among 96 applications, there are 14 young enthusiasts as GCARD3 Youth delegates to be the voice of the youth: to be part of the discussions online and onsite, to solicit their peers to contribute with their own input, and to particularly express those youth specific aspirations, challenges, needs and opportunities they see for the youth to be active agents of change for agricultural developments at all levels.

iii) Finalists of Youth Agri-preneurs Project (YAP)

About 2 months ago, YAP was announced as a pilot project targeting young agricultural entrepreneurs or agri-preneurs by GFAR, CGIAR and the Young Professionals for Agricultural Development (YPARD). Within three weeks, the organizer received 428 YAP proposals from youth around the globe. Through public voting and jury selection, later 6 proposals were announced as the finalists for the YAP. Each finalist will get a US$5,000 seed fund to facilitate the startup of their project, spread over the period of one year, and will be mentored by YPARD.

This blogpost is written by  Dinesh Panday, Communication officer at YPARD Asia and Pacific Coordination Unit.

Transforming Agriculture in Nepal

agriculture in nepal

Photo Credit: Sanot Adhikari

Written by: Dinesh Panday

In some years, the government declares the subsidy on quality seed to ensure food security through increased productivity but in the whole fiscal year there is neither mechanism developed nor execution.

Similarly, with regard to access to credit, the so called Agriculture Development Bank changed its policy to invest in non-agricultural portfolio and some other commercial bank like, Mega Bank which has alternative name for plough to power (to promote small scale business), but speaking truly it’s no more than slogan.

There are several instances of such nature. Weak policy formulation, implementation, monitoring, evaluation and revision system together with inconsistency in agriculture is an important issue which has created frustration among farm families and out migration of youth from rural areas.

Agriculture in Nepal is characterized by low productivity which is mainly due to predominance of traditional farming practices, heavy reliance on weather conditions and poor infrastructure development. Agriculture has been one of the pillars of the development since I was a child. On an average, in spite of two decades of investment, there is only decimal (about 3 percent) progress in Nepalese agriculture.

Government has been developing Agriculture Development Strategy (ADS) to replace Agricultural Perspective Plan (APP) from 2015 with the concept of agricultural transformation, but the transformation process is not getting momentum due to small uneconomic farm size, resource constraints, inadequate infrastructure development, lack of alternative employment opportunities, lack of technical knowledge and business skills among farmers and inadequate policy supports.

In this regard, here I am presenting some of the major ways to transform Nepalese agriculture to achieve much higher productivity, competitiveness, inclusiveness, and sustainability while making it more resilient to climate change impacts, which is also a road map of ADS.

Public Private Partnership

Coordination is one of the widely talked word and terminology in Nepal but it has failed almost all the time. The contribution of the private sector has been grossly overlooked. Hence, there is a need to create conducive environment which promote private sector involvement in agriculture. Moreover, it needs to enhance a favorable environment for a broad and pluralistic participation and resource coordination amongst all potential service providers and beneficiaries in partnership to adapt and modify technologies to best meet its farmer’s requirement. So we need more public and private research to work hand in hand for farmers.

 Value Chain Approach

High value-added agricultural products in order to have a high return help to open up new markets, and even build their own brand, and promote farm diversification. Nepal is already member of WTO and other organizations which increases the competition between domestic and foreign products and entrepreneurs to satisfy consumers from their products and services. The association of actors in agribusiness chains helps to realize economies of scale and gain market power of Nepalese agricultural products. This has been observed explicitly in poultry, dairy, tea, cardamom, ginger, and fresh vegetable sectors.

Commercialization and Competitive Advantage

Investment of resources, horizontal and vertical linkages between value chain actors, and policy supports help to commercialize certain sector of agriculture industry. The involvement of farmers and resources invested in these sectors and outputs generated from them provide competitive advantage for import substitution and export promotion. Commercialization of agriculture, being a national goal, has been receiving top priority in policies, plans, and programmes of the government. However, such efforts have been in project mode not in policy shift mode. Such projects which are currently in implementation include Project for Agricultural commercialization and Trade (PACT), High Value Agricultural Project (HVAP), etc.

Agricultural Mechanization

Our agriculture is heavily dependent on human and animal power which constitutes 78 percent of the total farm power, while mechanical sources contribute only 22 percent, also one of the factors responsible for high cost of production. Agricultural mechanization, which includes improvement of simple farm tools and implements like sickle and hoe to use of power tillers, harvesters, planters and seed drills etc., has become the need of the day where concept of collective farming or block farming could be appropriate to make huge plots. Recently, government officials have developed Contract Farming Guideline focusing on the import of modern farming machinery, including discounts on VAT and other taxes. All of these particularly automation and use of ICTs will also add glamour to farming and attract more youth in agriculture bychanging their perception into an exciting and innovative industry.

Capacity building and Farmer Outreach

The current prevailing simple mechanistic delivery system of training is not enough to support farming. Limited numbers of experts (JTA to officers) are trying hard to teach the huge number of farmers and generate appropriate technology. In the field, one front line extension worker has to look after more than 1300 farm families. More ever, major of our technology transfer materials are outdated and more recent publication are in doner agencies preference language than in Nepali.

There is also need to have better coordination among training providing institutions. Providing agribusiness or entrepreneurship training to remittance recipient households and returnee migrants can play vital role in commercializing agriculture at faster rate. Hence, the government should develop supportive policy for development of human resources to improve farmers’ livelihoods, support resource sustainability, ensure national food security and promote agribusiness and trade.

To conclude that it would not be wrong as Nepal’s agricultural policies are made without their serious engagement which was also stressed in recently held program called ‘Nepal Economic Summit 2014 – Destination Nepal for Investment.’ It is high time for the government of Nepal to look into these issues critically and get the policies implemented properly so that Nepal can once again entrench as an agriculturally self-sufficient country where farmers feel secure and embrace farming as means of business and not merely a way of living.

YAP Proposal #197: EduMala Mentoring Program (Dinesh Panday, Nepal)

YPARD Nepal needs your support as COMMENT on blogpost of “YAP Proposal #197: EduMala Mentoring Program (Nepal)” which is aiming to promote agriculture networking, mentoring and entrepreneurship. http://blog.gfar.net/2016/03/07/yap-proposal-197-edumala-mentoring-program-dinesh-panday-nepal/

To make your comment- Click the link, scroll down the post to bottom. Enter your comment, name and email. Then you are done! ‪#‎GCARD3‬‬‬‬‬‬ #YPARD #Nepal

THE GFAR BLOG

EduMala Mentoring Program

I am Dinesh Panday, a YPARD member as Nepal representative and Communication officer at YPARD Asia and Pacific Coordination Unit. I am 28 years old and currently pursuing PhD degree in Soil Science at University of Missouri- Columbia, United States.

The YPARD, where I am working, emphasizes the importance of youth to youth empowerment by networking and provides platform for information sharing and dissemination, as well as online and offline meetings and events. YPARD Nepal is a national chapter of YPARD, established in 2012 and currently 45 members are working as a national team including different agricultural development sectors.

We know that education is important, however, there are lots of things missing in education in terms of soft skills (like, interpersonal skills). If a young professional has lack of competency, we cannot think that s/he will be able to deliver right message to targeted audience or how others can be…

View original post 917 more words

YAP Proposal #23: “Tech4agri, the web series” (Keron Bascombe, Trinidad and Tobago)

THE GFAR BLOG

Tech4agri: the web series – A mobile story

How do we make agriculture as exciting as it really is? How can we generate and keep the interest the public on just how important it is? How do we facilitate learning among agriyouth of all kinds while simultaneously supporting them? I may have an answer to these questions.

Introducing Tech4agri, a blog that features technology and innovation in agriculture. We aim to support agripreneurs by providing an interesting and updated information service. Based in Trinidad and Tobago, of the Caribbean region we are looking to make the transition to social enterprise with our main project – Tech4agri: the webseries. So who runs this four year old, award winning blog?

Yours truly! I’m Keron a freelance blogger and agri journalist. My background is in agribusiness however I have forged my own career in journalism and communications. I hold great enthusiasm for…

View original post 1,431 more words

#GCARD3 communications – A call to the good, the willing and the innovators

1. If you are a professional communicator working within the GFAR network, with CGIAR, any of our partners, or a nonprofit organisation within our area of interest, join our core #GCARD3 communications team. You can contribute at will, or just watch and witness a great project coming to fruition, experimenting and learning as we go along.

2. If you are a social media enthusiast, and want to put your own skills and network to a good use, join our YPARD social media team, the habitat where we will coordinate the online support team.

THE GFAR BLOG

megaphone

Are you a professional communicator, or a social media enthusiast? Are you part of the GFAR network (the Global Forum on Agricultural Research) or CGIAR (the global agricultural research partnership), or one of its partners? Are you involved in a nonprofit organisation, institute or university working on any aspect of food security, agriculture, sustainable development, or eco-systems,…? Or a young social media enthusiast willing to put your skills into use for the greater good?

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What happens to soil in winter? Does everything die?

Soils Matter, Get the Scoop!

Soil is essential to life. One reason is that soil protects plant roots, animals, and microbes from freezing in the winter. As air temperatures drop below 32F (0C), water within the top layers of the soil will eventually freeze. This is commonly known as the frost layer. So, while you think that once the ground is frozen, life stops in the soil, that’s very untrue. What’s going on under your feet is exciting stuff!

Feet on snowy ground The soil under your feet is still teeming with life, even in the frozen temperatures of winter.

The frost layer can be several feet deep, though many factors influence how far down it goes. If a lot of snow falls on the ground early in the winter, it can serve as a blanket for the soil underneath. Organic matter plays a role in insulating soil, holding in heat stored below ground during the warmer…

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#GCARD3: Global Event to be held in South Africa

The GFAR Secretariat is pleased to announce that the Global Event for the Third Global Conference on Agricultural Research and Development (GCARD3) will be hosted by the Agricultural Research Council (ARC) of South Africa, in Ekurhuleni near Johannesburg, from 5 to 8 April 2016.

Enthusiastic about the opportunity, the South African Minister for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Honourable Mr. Senzeni Zokwana remarked that, “it is a fitting tribute to the ARC’s global stature to be awarded the right to host the GCARD3 Global Event. This event is expected to be an inclusive, participatory process and will be an opportunity to shape the future of global agricultural research.”

The Global Event, organized by GFAR and the CGIAR, will follow directly on a series of national and regional consultations carried out through 2015-2016, and will be the third such global conference bringing together hundreds of representatives from across all agriculture sectors with a stake in the future of agri-food research and innovation.

This third GCARD Conference comes at a pivotal time for global agenda-setting on development action, as the Sustainable Development Goals demand a concerted effort to eradicate poverty and hunger by 2030–challenges that can be best met by ensuring sustainable food systems and by increasing investment in agriculture. The Conference will provide a forum for those involved in the GCARD process to further engage and make commitments on working together to make agri-food research and innovation systems stronger, more effective, and more sustainable.

Read the official media release on the GCARD3 Global Event.

Agriculture is in every SDG: Part 1

Skimming the eye across the colourful chart of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), it is easy to spot a couple which are intrinsically and directly linked to agriculture, but a closer look reveals that they are in fact all linked to agriculture. A healthy global agricultural sector underpins and supports so many aims of the SDGs that its development will be important for their overall success. As sustainable agriculture is essential for sustainable food systems and livelihoods, here is a breakdown of how agriculture, farming and nutrition fit into the first 7 goals

One Billion Hungry: Can We Feed the World?

By Alice Marks

Story-2-SDGsSkimming the eye across the colourful chart of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), it is easy to spot a couple which are intrinsically and directly linked to agriculture, but a closer look reveals that they are in fact all linked to agriculture. A healthy global agricultural sector underpins and supports so many aims of the SDGs that its development will be important for their overall success. As sustainable agriculture is essential for sustainable food systems and livelihoods, here is a breakdown of how agriculture, farming and nutrition fit into the first 7 goals

1. No Poverty

Over 70% of the world’s poorest people live in rural areas, and rely heavily on agriculture for their survival and livelihoods. According to the World Bank, evidence shows that GDP growth generated in agriculture has large benefits for the poor, and is at least twice as effective in reducing poverty…

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Raising Your Career Potentials- EduMala Mentoring Program

EduMala Mentoring ProgramHow do you feel when someone gives you a ride when you are walking on a lonely road?

You answer might be “it’s awesome!!!” Like that, EduMala is what YPARD Nepal has been developing to help you!

EduMala Mentoring Program, which is specially targeted to the undergraduate/ graduate level students from Nepal, who have no or less idea about online/offline platform and its benefits, but they are really interested to be a part of it. They have academic knowledge, but might be lacking of soft skills, including coordination, negotiation, management, and/or interpersonal communications etc.

Through this program, we are trying to provide those kind of skills using interactive videos, presentations, online forums to achieve our mentees expectations. Currently, we are offering 5 courses with 5 mentors for 5 weeks. Every day mentor will spend at least 30 minutes with mentees during his/her session. Mentors and their course title are given below:

Dinesh Panday- Written communications skills, youth opportunities and networks in agriculture and social media

Lok Raj Joshi- Scientific writing, tips on scientific article publishing, Proposal writing

Santosh Adhikari- Government youth promoting policies and facilities with focal person information and successful stories of young entrepreneurs

Abhishek Khadka- Food entrepreneur and food quality control

Ishwora Dhungana- Social event management and coordination with local and national agencies

We received 114 applications to join this program as mentee and finally, we divided this number in to 3 groups; first group with 34, and rest two groups with 40/40. The first session will be starting from 3rd January 2016. We are also trying to make our sessions more participatory and supportive by developing problem solving skills.

Video- EduMala Mentoring Program