Tag Archives: soil fertility

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