CALGARY, Dec. 19, 2016 /CNW/ — Against a backdrop of the increasing disconnect of young people from farming and a world population that is forecast to soar to 10 billion by 2050, visionary thinking, a long-term approach, and creativity are needed to develop solutions to face global farming challenges. That is why Bayer and the two Belgian young farmers associations, Groene Kring and Fédération des Jeunes Agriculteurs, are inviting young thought leaders from around the world to apply to attend the third Global Youth Agriculture Summit from October 9 to 13, 2017 in Brussels, Belgium.
About 100 young delegates from around the world will share ideas, develop solutions and engage in an open discussion on one of the world’s most challenging questions: How do we feed a hungry planet sustainably? To apply, young people aged 18 to 25 are asked to submit an essay on the underlying causes of food insecurity and the effect it can have on a growing population. The essay question is based on the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Ability to demonstrate original ideas and passion to help shape the future will be the key selection criteria for the Youth Ag-Summit. Applications are being accepted online until January 13, 2017. Find out more about the application process and the Summit at www.youthagsummit.com.
In 2015, delegates delivered the Canberra Youth Ag-Declaration, an action-oriented plan with recommendations on how youth can have an optimal impact on global food security, which was tabled at the United Nations Committee on World Food Security in Rome afterwards. “Hailing from 33 countries and many different educational backgrounds, all 100 delegates brought together unique and diverse perspectives and mooted ideas towards addressing a global concern. It was amazing to see how we all, enthusiastically, took up the challenge and formed a common overall vision aimed at feeding a hungry planet,” remembers Samba Ouma Zablon, 2015 alumni delegate from Kenya, who was selected to present the declaration to the UN. In 2017, the movement continues in the European capital.
Canada remains involved for the third-installment of the Summit, and will be sending four young leaders represent Canada—two of which will be current members or alumni of 4-H Canada. This will add to a total of 68 Canadians who will have contributed to the global conference since its inception in 2013 (Calgary, AB).
“Since 2013, when 4-H Canada first partnered with Bayer in hosting the inaugural conference, the Youth Ag-Summit has been an incredible opportunity for our members to lend their voice to important global conversations,” said Shannon Benner, CEO of 4-H Canada. “We believe in empowering young people with the skills they need to be leaders in the areas they are passionate about, and working with their peers to discuss tackling global food security at this Summit will do just that.”
Assessing young people’s knowledge about agriculture
The Summit’s long-term goal is to inspire delegates to not just think, but to act, and action is clearly needed to improve young people’s knowledge about agriculture, since many young people are disconnected from farming and give little thought to where their food comes from. That is why Bayer initiated a major study1 to assess young people’s agricultural literacy in eleven countries during Summer 2015. The Youth Agriculture Literacy Study revealed that the overwhelming majority of young people had no idea when crops were ripe or were harvested. The study also demonstrated that a higher level of education does not mean a higher level of agricultural literacy.
“Bayer is committed to encouraging young people to learn about agriculture and to inspire the next generation of ag visionaries. With initiatives like the 2017 Youth Ag-Summit, agricultural scholarships and experimental learning at our student labs and online, we want to encourage young people to learn more about sustainable agriculture and food supply whereby the vital role of science and innovation is highlighted,” says Bernd Naaf, Head of Business Affairs & Communications and Labor Director at Bayer.
About the Youth Ag-Summit
The Youth Ag-Summit is a global youth conference to inspire and connect the next generation of young leaders in agriculture and related disciplines. At the Summit, 100 young leaders aged 18 to 25 from all around the world will meet to share perspectives and create an open dialogue on one of the world’s most challenging questions: how to feed a hungry planet? The Youth Ag-Summit forms part of the Agricultural Education Program and aims at raising awareness for food and farming all over the globe.
Find more information about the summit on the website: www.youthagsummit.com
Find out more about the Agricultural Education Program at: www.ag-education.bayer.com