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Scaling up and move forward

Marta, project manager for agricultural development in KenyaAs the topic of this year of the Third Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development puts it: No One Left Behind: Agri-food Innovation and Research for a Sustainable World, I want to be sure to involve all the people in any way possible to achieve a more sustainable world. No One Left Behind means that all the people no matter age, color, race and sex shall have same rights to food and work.

However, being a young agronomist myself, my main concern goes towards the youth engaged in shaping the future, especially in Africa where they represent more than half of the population. The youth is the backbone of the sustainable agricultural development and will be the next generation tackling with global challenges. If more young people get access to education and more specifically agricultural training where again more than 70 % are employed, there will be a huge step to overcome the tropical issues in agri-food innovation.

I consider myself lucky having the chance to work in Africa, I have understood what it takes to scale up from research to impact. My first experience in Madagascar opened my eyes broadly since I learned how the farmers cope with daily issues in agriculture. As a freshly graduate of a great university in agricultural studies, I was eager to research and learn more about local and traditional knowledge. As excited I was in the beginning, as sad I started to become later on when the farmers were asking what will be the impact of the study. I was feeling powerless and empty. In that moment I realized I want to change not only the way we see farming in tropics, but have a real impact on the food systems and improve livelihoods.

After some years my motivation brought me back to Africa, this time in charge of a project that will have an impact for farmers, of shaping a new future for farmers and create new opportunities for young entrepreneurs in agri-food. Researching in the region and having meetings with stakeholders, I have come to understand the urges of employing youth in the area, which was also Agricultural Minister’s priority to end poverty and one key goal of Sustainable Development goals.

So in the end, my roles switching from a researcher to a manager, made me understand that the real impact is and will be done by the locals itself, as we, people from developed countries, are only the mediators between the donor and NGO, between the Minister’s goals and the youth. We are here to share our experience and facilitate the process of integration of innovative techniques for a sustainable development. Finally, the main impact in scaling up from research of farmers is realized by the young people full of believes and positive thinking. But if we all join together, the young and determined, the north and south,  there will be visible results to overcome main issues in agriculture, climate change and achieve sustainable development. 

This blog post is part of the GCARD3 Youth blogpost applications. The content, structure and grammar is at the discretion of the author only.

Picture credit: Samuel Cellar (ADRA)