Tag Archives: Agriculture

Youth and Agricultural Biotechnologies

corn-soybean-farm_-dinesh-pandayAgriculture, Biotechnology and Youth

In the 1850’s, Louis Pasteur discovered fermentation process which implicates involvement of microbes, this is called the initiation of biotechnology in soil microbiology. Later when direct extraction and characterization of microbial DNA from environmental sample became possible around time period of 1900’s-2000’s, then the concept of soil has been changing which include not only unconsolidated material present on Earth surface but also ‘dynamic’ natural body.

Soil, water and its biological environment is a critical component of sustainable agriculture. The increasing human population is placing greater pressure on these resources and threatening our ability to produce sufficient food, feed, fiber and fuel. However, the beauty of sustainable agriculture, which takes advantage of traditional agricultural techniques, as well as the most recent technological advances.

The current global trends of young generations are not being integrated in to agriculture and farming, leaving food production in the hands of elderly. But, it is vital that these younger leaders and future decision makers understand the critical role of agricultural science innovation in addressing the world’s most pressing problems. They can be attracted by sharing of promising practices and strategies that can engage agriculture and biotechnology.

Role of Global Communities for Agricultural Biotechnologies

The question arises that how can prepare those young professionals for active roles of leadership and service to address critical needs and ensure the sustainability of agriculture? Broadly, it needs changes or improvement on educational curriculum, global continuum experiences, and diverse set of partners, coordination, collaboration and outreach.

Researchers at agricultural universities are constantly exploring better ways to raise food. There is compelling evidence that modern biotechnology applications such as tissue culture can greatly enhance productivity by generating large quantities of disease-free, clean planting material. Youth with a first degree in agriculture or biological sciences should be encouraged and facilitated to establish such some low-cost tissue-culture business facilities at community level.

The global community (like, YPARD) can impact on understanding the knowledge level of agriculture and biotechnology among the students/ researchers by organizing webinar, seminar through the use of presentations, discussions and hands-on activities. In addition, agriculture needs young professional who have an understanding of international agriculture issues and an enthusiasm for engaging in these issues on a global scale and hence by joining such a global community is always advantage.

Policy needed for Better Inclusion of Agricultural Biotechnologies

Biotechnology companies are investing billions of dollars in consolidations to ensure access to these rapidly growing markets, and in further research and development. However, the world of the rural poor, of small-scale, resource poor subsistence farmers in developing countries are still out of circles from the world of biotechnology. Hence, governments, scientists, non-governmental organizations, donors will have to consider the development of innovative mechanisms for the transfer of biotechnologies in developing country agriculture. At the students (young professionals) level, there is need of education, empowerment and motivation for young people to lead agricultural activities for improved and sustainable food production. It must focus on preparing the next generation scientists by enhancing youth development.

Personal Views of Dinesh Panday, PhD scholar in Soil Fertility at University of Nebraska-Lincoln, e-mail: dpanday2@unl.edu  

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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.

#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.

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

 

Call for Application: Clinton International Summer School 2015

nepalese youth opportunitiesDeadline: May 1, 2015
Age: 20 to 26 years
Location: Northern Ireland, UK.
Time: June 22 to 26, 2015

The 2015 Clinton International Summer School, in partnership with the INCORE Summer School at Ulster University. is a one-week intensive scholarship program for university students from post-conflict and developing regions. The curriculum is designed to promote entrepreneurship, leadership and community engagement and prepare the students to advance positive change and economic development in their home communities. The program provides the participants with a unique opportunity to experience first-hand Northern Ireland’s historical conflict and that region’s continuing road to reconciliation, peace and prosperity.

The students are required to identify in advance an entrepreneurial or technology project that would improve the economic and social conditions in their home region. The module is run in partnership with the Nerve Center and under the auspices of the newly launched PeaceTech.Lab. Students are expected to submit a final report on how they would implement their project, based on what they learned in the Summer School.

Student Eligibility

–Students who meet the following eligibility requirements are invited to apply:

–Undergraduate and graduate students, between the ages of 20-26

–Leadership capacity

–A technology plan that would benefit their home community

–Highly recommended by university or community organization

–Experience with ethnic or religious conflict or with high poverty rate

–Fluent English skills

Covered Expense

–One week program of instruction at Ulster University, Magee Campus

–Travel Costs covered up to $1,000

–Lodging at Magee

–Dinners at Magee and allowance for other meals

–Field trips to Derry, Giants Causeway

–Tour of Belfast and one night in Corrymeela

Apply

Post Source: http://www.youthlegend.com/fully-funded-clinton-international-summer-school-2015/

Call for Abstracts: 2015 International Conference on Climate Change, Innovation and Resilience for Sustainable Livelihood, Kathmandu, Nepal

conference in NepalClimate change is one of the most important environmental, social and economic issues facing the world today. Some impacts such as increasing heat stress, more intense floods, droughts, and rising sea levels have now become inevitable.  The impacts are most severe for the global poor, and South Asia is one of the regions affected by the changes. We must plan and adapt to minimize the negative impacts and enhance human and ecosystem welfare. Climate innovation and technologies involve basic science and engineering as well as information dissemination, capacity building, and community organizing.

 
The conference will focus on approaches from the physical and social sciences to support economic development in mountain and lowland South Asia, which faces serious climate hazards along with food security, water and soil management and environmental justice challenges. This three-day international conference will bring together eminent scientists, policymakers, and development workers in both nonprofit and profit enterprises to discuss promising new approaches for integrating science, policy, and action. We will stress innovative applications of scientific and technical research to promote rural enterprise and broad-based improvements in health, nutrition, and living standards. This conference will include opportunities for developing knowledge sharing hubs, regional working groups, action plans and pilot projects for regional climate change adaptation.

 
Themes

• Climate Change: Climate Science and Modeling, Impacts and Adaptation Assessment, Hazard Prediction and Preparedness
• Water Resource Management: Hydrologic Modeling, Snow and Glacier, Governance, Efficiency and Sustainability
• Agriculture and Livestock: Crop Modeling, Soil and Water Management for Resilience, Food Security
• Gender and Livelihood: Health, Environmental Justice, Development for Marginalized Groups

Deadlines

• Abstract submission: 15 July 2014
• Abstract selection notification: 15 August 2014
• Full paper submission for conference proceedings: 31 October 2014
• Early bird registration: 30 November 2014
• Final paper submission to peer-reviewed journal special issue : 30 April 2015

Any queries regarding conference, please communicate with Dilli Bhattarai (Conference Secretary). More information is available at the conference website: climdev15.org

The latest report from the IPCC: what does it mean for young people?

Post Source: YOUTHPOLICY.ORG

On 31 March, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) launched the report from Working Group II (focusing on impacts, adaptation and vulnerability), the second part of the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) on climate change.

What is this report all about?

This report is the second in the latest series published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The first report from Working Group I, published in September 2013 focused on the climate science (read all about that report and what it means for young people here), and this report from Working Group II (WG2)


“… evaluates how patterns of risks and potential benefits are shifting due to climate change. It considers how impacts and risks related to climate change can be reduced and managed through adaptation and mitigation. The report assesses needs, options, opportunities, contraints, resilience, limits, and other aspects associated with adaptation.”

—————-– IPCC Summary for Policy Makers


The report, based on more than 12,000 peer-reviewed scientific papers (double the number that the 2007 report was based on) emphasises that we don’t have a choice between adaptation or mitigation, the world has to do both, because current projections will create scenarios and impacts we are unable to adapt to.

 

Credit: 350.org

What does it mean for young people?

It was never going to be good news for young people, and with warnings of food and water shortages, ocean acidification and rising sea levels, impacts on human health, increasingconflict and a huge cost to the global economy, the WG2 report predicts a grim future if we do nothing to curb climate change. But it’s not just about the future. The report highlights that the impacts of climate change are already being felt right across the world, and that vulnerable communities, and particularly women, children and the elderly within those communities bear the brunt of these impacts. WG2 also points to the inadequacy of the funding for adaptation projects, and points to the potential burden of climate change on the global economy in the future.

What does it mean for policy?

Realistically, just like the report from Working Group I, this report probably means little in terms of changes to policy. As I said then


Negotiations in forums such as the UNFCCC aren’t around whether climate change is happening or if humans are responsible, they’re about who is going to do what about it, by when, and who will pay.

At the national level, some governments may be spurred on to speed up the implementation of adaptation and preparedness measures given the faster than predicted rate of climate change. But for the most part, governments have already heard the warnings, and have made their decisions about whether or not to react and if so, to what extent.

—————– Read the full article on the Working Group I report here.


This still holds true; despite the stark predictions and renewed warnings, this report is unlikely to have a significant impact on policy. But, as with September’s report, the findings of Working Group II are still a call to action to governments, business and civil society to get serious about tackling the causes and impacts of climate change.

More reading and resources.

REPORT: Read the full report from the IPCC’s Working Group II on Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability. [Link]

SUMMARY: The IPCC’s own Summary for Policy Makers is a useful and accessible summary of the full-length report. [Link]

INFOGRAPHICS: A series of infographics on women and children, food, health, ecosystems and extreme from the UN Foundation and Climasphere. [Link]. [Click on the image to view].

BRIEFING: IPCC AR5 Working Group 2: A Regional Breakdown. By GCCA & CAN. [Link]

ARTICLE: More global warming will be worse for the economy, says the Copenhagen Consensus Center. Guardian. [Link]

RESOURCE PAGE: What does the latest IPCC report mean for human health? By the Global Climate & Health Alliance. [Link]

ARTICLE: Climate Change is World’s ‘Gravest Security Threat’. RTCC. [Link]

PODCAST: Kevin Anderson, professor of energy and climate change at the Tyndall Centre at the University of Manchester sets the scene for the report release, giving an overview of the IPCC and what the AR5 says for Friends of the Earth. [Link]

ARTICLE: “What is the IPCC and why does it matter?” by Tierney Smith of TckTckTck. [Link]

FACTSHEETS: from the IPCC itself, covering topics including:

  • “How does the IPCC select its authors?”
  • “How does the IPCC review process work?”
  • “How does the IPCC deal with alleged errors?”

[Link]

INFOGRAPHIC: “25 years of the IPCC” by Nature [Link] [Click on the image to view].

IPCC-Graphic

 

 

Call for Special Sessions: GS International Multi-Conference on Science and Technology 2014, UAE (#GSMICST14)

The GS International Multi-Conference on Science and Technology 2014 (GS-MICST 14) will be the biggest conference not only in the history of United Arab Emirates (UAE) but also in the history of the Gulf States.

Call for Special Sessions

  • Each Proposal for Special Session is reviewed by the specific scientific committee . The organizer must have at least Ph.D. Degree.
  • Proposals for special sessions are invited by dynamic and energetic special session organizers. One paper of the special session organizer will be published without any registration fee (FREE OF COST) provided session is successful (session having Six papers is considered successful).
  • The aim of a special session is to provide an overview of the state-of-the-art and current research directions in specific fields of Science and Technology and its Applications.

Special Session Program

Special sessions consist of six papers as a target number (20 minutes each time slot), but a minimum of five and a maximum of eight papers are also acceptable. A special session paper can be a regular paper or an invited paper. Regular special session papers are unsolicited papers submitted by an author. The special session organizer may invite a distinguished researcher to submit an invited paper.

Review Process

Regular special session papers and invited paper(s) are reviewed by the special session organizer(s). Accepted special session papers will be published in the conference proceedings in the same length and format as regular conference papers.

Special Session Proposal Format

Proposals for special sessions should contain:
1. The special session title
2. The name(s) of the organizer(s), with contact addresses and emails
3. The aim and scope of the special session (100 words)
4. The title of the conference

Deadline

Special session proposals should be sent at proposal@gspublishers.com.

Phase 1:

Submission Deadline: Feb 15,2014 .
Acceptance or Rejection notifications will be sent on Feb 28, 2014

Phase 2:

Submission Deadline: March 05,2014 .
Acceptance or Rejection notifications will be sent on March 10, 2014

Phase 3:

Submission Deadline: March 25,2014 .
Acceptance or Rejection notifications will be sent on March 30, 2014

Phase 4:

Submission Deadline: April 15,2014 .
Acceptance or Rejection notifications will be sent on April 20, 2014

Phase 5:

Submission Deadline: April 30,2014 .
Acceptance or Rejection notifications will be sent on May 10, 2014

Submit a Conference Paper
Instructions for Authors
Registration Fee

Post Source: http://www.gspublishers.com/conferences/gsMICST14/call4ss.html 

YPARD changes its Logo!

Rolling out YPARD new logo

2014 is the launch of YPARD’s 2014-2018 vision, set to strengthen YPARD’s ability to foster youth’s role for a sustainable agricultural development.

We kicked off the year with a key strategic planning meeting which marks a turn for YPARD. A series of changes were made to reflect the dynamism and wide-scale performance of YPARD. YPARD’s full name, its vision and mission, have been revisited in order to better encompass our focus on Youth’s key role for Agricultural Development ( – beyond research ). Learn more on the report of the Strategic Planning meeting.

Also, a 2013 External Review emphasized the great progress made by YPARD since 2009, date of the last ER. For instance, YPARD membership showed a 400% increase and our community gained more recognition among global agricultural development’s stakeholders.

YPARD new brand Logo reflects the significant growth of YPARD, and its key 2014strategic shifts and planning.

By bringing a new fresh and revitalized look to the logo, we emphasize the innovative character of youth’s activities. YPARD stands more than ever as a dynamic community, symbolized by the 3D-effect open circle of the Logo which brings together nature and people. This new representation is also a way to better place YPARD among agricultural development stakeholders.

A new Logo is the symbol of the organisational changes bringing new directions for YPARD activities. This includes focusing on more thematic and in-depth content, mentoring perspectives for young people and strengthening the YPARD team.

This visual representation unveils who we are and what we do. It is also a way topromote agriculture among the youth by giving a modern image of our community of young professionals in agriculture.

Aesthetic is very subjective and Change is often something hard to get through – even for the best. We hope that most of you will enjoy this “wind of change”!

To the graphic design lovers: have you ever noticed the astonishing Apple’s logo evolution?Have a look at it!

 

Post Source: http://ypard.net/2014-february-14/ypard-changes-its-logo

Call for articles: Family farmers breaking out of poverty

agricultures network

Farming Matters | 29.4 | December 2013

“Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice.”
Nelson Mandela

In the International Year of Family Farming we are confronted with a shameful paradox. Family farmers produce more than half of the world’s food. That is a reason to celebrate family farming. Yet, 70% of the world’s most impoverished people live in rural areas and belong to family farming or pastoralist communities. How is this possible? And how can this situation be changed? We seek your groundbreaking views, your innovative proposals and experiences that show how family farmers can break out of the poverty trap and increase their resilience.

Some countries are experiencing strong economic growth, even as food and nutrition insecurity increase. Conflicts over resources (land, water, and biodiversity) and degraded resource bases often threaten the poor and the marginalised who are directly dependent on these resources.

Poverty is not just about a lack of money. It has as much to do with people’s asset base in a much broader sense, and thus with power. Poverty is also about people’s capability to deal with situations of shock or stress – whether social, economic, political or physical. Poor people lack the resilience to effectively cope with these shocks. Over the last decade climate change has added to these problems, resulting in ever growing resilience deficits in rural communities.

How can poor people in rural areas break out of this vicious cycle? In the June 2014 issue of Farming Matters we will focus on how agro-ecological approaches strengthen the resilience of family farmers and help them break out of poverty. We will look at how agro-ecological farming practices and the social dimensions of family farming contribute to strengthening resilience and sustainable resource management. In so doing we examine the roles of young people and women and how policymakers, organisations and researchers can actively encourage the effective and widespread use of agro- ecological approaches as a way to address rural poverty. We welcome your contributions, with supporting evidence.

Articles for the June 2014 issue of Farming Matters should be sent to the editors before April 1st, 2014.
E-mail: info@farmingmatters.org

 

Post Source: http://www.agriculturesnetwork.org/magazines/global/family-farming/call-for-articles-poverty