The most recent Youth Ag Summit held in 2019 in Brazil (photo from Bayer)
A global forum and biennial conference for young leaders to collaborate for sustainable solutions for food security and global agriculture has started accepting applications.
The Youth Ag Summit movement is a community of global young leaders championing sustainable agriculture and food security and working to bridge the understanding gap between those who produce our food and those who consume it. Every two years, 100 delegates are chosen to take part in the Summit. Previous editions have been hosted in Canada, Australia, Belgium, and Brazil. While the 2021 Youth Ag Summit is the 5th iteration of the summit, this year’s summit is the first to be held virtually due to Covid-19 restrictions.
The summit’s overall theme, “Feeding a Hungry Planet,” is based on the United Nations’ (UN) prediction that the planet’s population will reach 9.7 billion people by 2050 and will be faced with food security challenges. The 100 delegates selected to participate in this year’s Youth Ag Summit will be tasked to work on developing solutions to this challenge using the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the UN as their framework.
Multinational pharmaceutical and life sciences company Bayer is an official global partner for this year’s forum with the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN). Technology company Babele will also provide a virtual idea incubator called YAS University where delegates will continue to learn entrepreneurship and leadership skills, receive coaching from mentors, and improve their own “Thrive for Change” project concepts throughout a 10-week period following the November summit.
The 2021 Youth Ag Summit is open to anyone aged 18 – 25. Applicants should be personally, professionally, and academically interested in agriculture, international development, environmental stewardship, food security, biotechnology, and/or farming. Applicants need not be farmers or involved in biotechnology as previous delegates have included lawyers, doctors, teachers, and business management students.
Potential delegates will be asked to share their motivation to join the summit, their previous advocacy experience and a 3-minute video pitch explaining their project idea on “How to feed a hungry planet.” Examples of projects pitched and developed from earlier summits include the opening of Sri Lanka’s Kadamandiya Food Bank and the establishment of a Madagascar health clinic where workers harvest essential grains in fields nearby to supplement their patient’s nutritional needs.
Christine Jodloman, Associate Director of AGREA Foundation and the sole Filipino delegate in the 2019 YAS held in Brazil
Christine Jodloman, Associate Director of AGREA Foundation and the sole Filipino delegate in the 2019 YAS held in Brazil, said her “YAS experience has been amazing and humbling, as I was able to meet, connect, and get inspired by my fellow youth ag changemakers around the world.”
During the summit, Jodloman shared her work and advocacy on grassroots agripreneurship for rural farming communities. According to her, delegates from around the world were able to provide suggestions and improvements, which she has been integrating in their youth and women programs at AGREA. Within the organization, Jodloman also helps in their Move Food Initiative as a facilitator to farmer groups, wherein they were able to provide 190,000 kg of produce and help 30,000 farmers in 2020 at the onset of the pandemic.
“Agriculture is not just about growing food, but it also means growing the future,” added Jodloman. “We need a future with a thriving agricultural sector, where people and the planet are prioritized. I believe the youth are willing to be more involved in agriculture when it’s communicated in a positive way.”
“This is a great opportunity for the youth to be empowered and take the lead in sustaining Philippine agriculture,” said Iiinas Ivan Lao, Country Commercial Lead of Bayer Crop Science. “With the Youth Ag Summit, delegates can learn from each other and find out which ag successes in countries that can be adopted locally. This is also consistent with the Department of Agriculture’s push for agriculture promotion among the youth for food security in succeeding generations.”
To apply for the Youth Ag Summit 2021, please visit www.youthagsummit.com.
To learn more, follow #AgvocatesWithoutBorders on Twitter and Youth Ag Summit (@youthagsummit) on the YAS Instagram channel. – Rommel F. Lopez