Agriculture, 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: email@example.com
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.
The 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
- Disasters, resilience, and adaptation
- Biodiversity conservation
- Climate change
- Environmental pollution
- Forest management
- Soil, water and atmospheric research
- Agriculture and agro-ecology
- Sustainable livelihood
- 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 Science, Environments and Sustainability, and accepted through regular peer review process.
Conference website: http://conference.kias.org.np/
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.
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.
Why Soil Matters?
Soil constitutes the foundation of agriculture and thus provides us with food, fiber, feed and fuel. Soil provides ecosystem services critical for life: soil acts as a water filter and a growing medium; provides habitat for billions of organisms, contributing to biodiversity. Besides, almost all of the antibiotics we take to help us fight infections are obtained from soil microorganisms! Humans use soil as a holding facility for solid waste, filter for waste water, and foundation for our cities and towns. It is the greatest pool of soil organic carbon and regulates the nutrient cycle.
However, for a multiple of reasons, including modern agricultural practices, deforestation, and overgrazing, the world’s soil is at risk. According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), “Half of the topsoil on the planet has been lost in the last 150 years.” Additionally, “as a result of erosion over the past 40 years, 30 percent of the world’s arable land has become unproductive.”
Due to the importance of sustainable soil management for present and future generations,the 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly has declared 2015 as the International Year of Soils with the aim to raise awareness about this forgotten natural resource.
Soils through Youth´s Eyes
For the celebration of the International Year of Soils, the Young Professionals for Agricultural Development (YPARD) kicks-off a photo-calendar contest with the scope of creating a photo-calendar for 2015 with the theme “Soils through Youth’s Eyes.”
By launching this photo contest, YPARD aims to engage young people into the discussions around the importance of soils. Pictures related to soils, sent by YPARD members from around the world, will help illustrate the importance of this key thematic area of FAO´s work, from the youth’s perspective.
How can I participate?
Participants will have one month to submit up to 3 pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org with subject line “Photo-calendar contest”. Pictures must transmit the potential, contribution and importance of healthy soils in the food system according to young professionals in agricultural development. Send your pictures to participate in the “Soils through Youth´s Eyes” photo-calendar contest by December the 14th, 2014 (11pm CET).
All the photo entries will undergo a jury’s selection first. The public will then vote among the best 24 pictures, from 19th of December to 26th of December, through a photo album created on YPARD Facebook page.
There will be two photos spotted for each month. E.g. 2 pictures for January, 2 pictures for February and so on. YPARD Facebook users will be able to vote the picture they like the most for every month by “liking” it.
The 12 most-“liked” pictures will be chosen to feature our “Soils through Youth´s Eyes” photo-calendar for 2015. The YPARD “Soils through Youth´s Eyes” photo-calendar will be posted on our e-library.
Jury and prizes
The jury of the “Soils through Youth´s Eyes” photo-calendar contest will be formed by a YPARD member staff with the support of a photographer.
The best 12 images will be announced as winners on YPARD website on the 28th of December, 2014 and will be awarded with their featuring on the 2015 YPARD “Soils through Youth´s Eyes” photo-calendar. The winning photos will be also published (photo credits included) on FAO Global Soil Partnership’s website.
- Entrants should be between 18-40 years old and must have taken the photograph themselves.
- Photographs may have been taken at any time prior to the contest launch.
- Photographs should not have dates or text on the image.
- Each participant can send up to three photographs.
- All photographs should be in jpeg format.
- Along with the picture, participants should add the following information: name, surname, date of birth, email, title and description of photograph, location and date when photo was taken.
- Entrants should be members of YPARD: http://ypard.net/user/register
- File size: Minimum size is 1500 x 2100 pixels; min 300dpi; up to 5 MB.
- Image data files should be created with digital smartphones and still cameras (including medium and large-format cameras).
- Images that have been retouched using software or by other means will be accepted. Both colour and monochrome images will be accepted. (Scans of photographs taken by film cameras are not eligible.)
- Winning entries may be reproduced for possible inclusion in future International Year of Soils promotional materials. Entry in this contest represents consent to use the photo in future publications without further compensation.
This content was originally posted on YPARD‘s website.
Global Environments Summer Academy 2015
The fifth Global Environments Summer Academy on Socio-ecological Interactions in a Dynamic World will be held at the Centre for Development and Environment (CDE) of the University of Bern between 27 July and 14 August 2015. Under the leadership of Dr. Gary J. Martin, the Director of GDF, academic and community professionals from diverse backgrounds will be invited to present their current perspectives and practical work.
Please see the GESA 2014 Schedule for a sense of the general curriculum. For more detailed descriptions of GESA schedules and sessions, click here. Participants will actively interact with selected resource people throughout the course.
You can support this initiative by liking the Global Environments Summer Academy Facebook page or contributing to our GlobalGiving fundraising campaign. To receive updates via the GESA newsletter, sign up here.
Please note there is a two-stage application process for GESA 2015. Candidates are invited to complete the application form and upload their CV before 15 January 2015. All applicants will be notified of the first stage results by 15 February 2015, and finalists will be invited to the second stage, during which they will be asked for additional information, including any demonstrated need for the limited number of partial fee waivers that may be offered. The additional Stage 2 submission will be due by 15 March 2015. A final selection of participants will be completed by 1 May 2015, and applicants will be informed of the award of any fee waiver by 1 June 2015. The deadline for payment of the academy fee will be 15 June 2015.
- Online application form
- Downloadable Call for Applications
- Newsletter Call for Applications
- Important Dates
Post source: http://www.globalenvironments.org/
2014 is the International Year of Family Farming (IYFF). The theme of this years’Agrifuture Days 2014 conference is “ICTs enabling Family Farming”. The AnnualAgriFuture Days 2014 conference will take place from June 16th to 18th at Villach, Austria.
- Informing family farming communities
- Improving family farm’s productivity and production efficiencies
- Improving family farm producers participation in markets
- Agricultural engineering
- Animal health
- Animal production/ Livestock husbandry
- Climate smart agriculture
- Crop protection
- Decision support Systems
- Distance Learning
- e-AgBusiness and Production Chain Management
- Field Data Acquisition and Recording
- Food Safety Control/Tracking-Tracing
- Green houses and plant factories
- Health and nutrition
- ICT for agriculture
- Information Systems and Databases
- Instrumentation and Control
- Landscape architecture
- Organic agriculture
- Pest management
- Plant production
- Precision farming
- Rural and Environmental Development and Policy
- Sensors and instrumentation
- Soil health
- Value chain
- Water management
- Web Services, Portals and Internet Applications
- Wireless and Sensor Networks
More details email@example.com
GS International Multi-Conference on Science and Technology 2014 (GS-MICST 14) November 07-09, 2014 Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE)
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.
The GS International Conference on Actuarial Sciences 2014 aims to address issues in Actuarial Sciences and other emergent related fields. The GS-MICST 14 conference has different conferences according to several themes.
The GS-MICST 14 provides a platform for bringing together researchers, practitioners, and academia to present and discuss ideas, challenges and potential solutions on established or emerging topics related to research and practice in different fields of science and technology.
All accepted papers will be published in the conference proceedings published by GS Publishers. Proceedings will be sent to ISI, EI Compendex, ELSEVIER, SCOPUS ACM, ISTP,AMS, ACS,EBSCO,Engineering Village / Engineering Index (EI),DOAJ,Library of Congress,British Library,Electronic Journals Library, Google Scholar ,DBLP and several more international indexes.
Paper Submission Deadline:
Camera Ready Paper Submission Deadline:
November 07-09, 2014
For more details http://www.gspublishers.com/conferences/gsMICST14/index.html
In order to promote Sustainable Mountain Development (SMD) in view of the considerable global challenges ahead, several engaged partners have jointly launched the World Mountain Forum (WMF). It provides an outstanding platform for SMD and brings together SMD stakeholders from around the globe, providing them a platform for exchange about their experience, promotion of collaborative action and for fostering political dialogue among different levels of government and society. The overall goal therefore, is to create dialogue with articulated concrete actions and concerted efforts of how to address the plight of these fragile ecosystems, through SDM.
The WMF 2014 will showcase and discuss available local, regional and global experience in mountain development. It will identify opportunities and challenges for the future of global SMD is likely to face. The WMF 2014 is expected to produce insights that will feed into other relevant global initiatives and events such as the UN Secretary General’s High-level Panel on Global Sustainability (GSP) and the CSD biennial cycle 20/21 in which mountains are one of five priority themes. Furthermore, it will deliver valuable input to the main global sustainable development processes including the Rio- (UNFCCC, CBD, UNCCD) and RAMSAR Convention. It is expected that the WMF 2014 will also contribute to the Post-2015 Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) process at the national, regional and global levels. The WMF 2014 will bring the opportunity for mountain countries to discuss on how better ensure mountains are adequately incorporated into the future climate deal that the COP20 (Lima, December 2014) will advance.
The WMF 2014 will cover the following topics: Family Farming, Water and Food Security; Climate Change; Mountain cities; and Mountain Communities. As each topic is very broad, the WMF 2014 is proposing some priority issues that will be covered by presentations from participants. Based on the material received, the organizing committee will arrange the sessions of the WMF. The presentations may have the form of paper, poster or audiovisual.
28.Feb.2014 Deadline for submission of abstracts for presentations
10.Mar.2014 Announcement of selected presentations
15.Mar.2014 Registration deadline
31.Mar.2014 Deadline for final version of presentations
23.May.2014 Starting of the WMF 2014
Farming Matters | 29.4 | December 2013
“Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice.”
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.
Are you a student in the United States with an idea that could improve the global food system? A 2-page business plan, and a presentation with up to 10 slides, could win you the first Agricultural Innovation Prize. The competition was announced in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday. “We’re hoping that this will turns the heads of people who wouldn’t normally give ag a second thought,” says Molly Jahn, a plant breeder at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, who is directing the prize.
The new prize stems from a 2012 report by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology about the ability of the United States to cope with agricultural challenges of the 21st century, such as climate change. “The top line was we’re not prepared,” says Jahn, an author. The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy came up with the idea of using a cash prize for students to encourage early collaborations between disciplines and highlight the potential of businesses to quickly to improve the food system. The prize is modeled on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Clean Energy Prize, founded in 2007, which now awards a total of $310,000 in cash to five winners.
Brief proposals must focus on developing a business, which can be a nonprofit, that would have a positive social or environmental impact. The innovations could come from traditional agricultural R&D—better drip irrigation, a new plant variety, or a technique to improve food safety, for example—or they could originate from another discipline, such as computer science or sensor engineering. “My dream with this prize is that we spur crosscutting innovations,” Jahn says. This year, the competition is limited to undergraduate and graduate students at U.S. schools, but the innovations can have global applications.
Proposals are due 28 February. A first round of judging will select 25 teams, which will then be matched to mentors from academia, industry, or government to help them expand the pitch. On 25 April, five teams will be awarded prizes ranging from $15,000 to $100,000. A student team will help recruit judges. The Howard G. Buffett Foundation has provided $215,000 for the awards in 2014. The Foundation is also making 50 $1000 grants available to students to help promote the competition on campuses.