Bayer will be funding future projects developed by some of the world’s brightest young food security advocates during the 2017 Youth Ag-Summit. The three projects will tackle issues related to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) of gender equality, quality education and responsible consumption and production.
Last week, 100 young agricultural enthusiasts, aged 18-25 and from 49 different countries, gathered in Brussels, Belgium, for the third edition of the Youth Ag-Summit. Organized by Bayer together with the two Belgian young farmers associations Groene Kring and Fédération des Jeunes Agriculteurs, the event provided an opportunity for delegates to work on solutions to one of humanity’s greatest challenges: how to feed a growing world population in a sustainable manner.
At the Youth-Ag Summit, delegates worked in groups of ten to develop their ideas, before pitching to a jury of experts and the audience. The jury and the audience then selected the winners on the basis of criteria such as feasibility, innovativeness and creativity:
- Third place went to "Imperfect Picks", a group who was assigned to work on SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production. These delegates impressed with their cartoon campaign to promote "ugly fruits" to children, and enable a broader cultural shift towards accepting food that appears blemished but is still of good quality. They won EUR 3,000 to further develop and implement their project.
- Second place went to "Seeds of Change", a group of delegates focusing on SDG 4: Quality Education. They will use their prize of EUR 5,000 to fund a project aimed at promoting agriculture in schools through young agricultural champions, in order to bridge the disconnect between people who consume, and people who produce food.
- Finally, first place was awarded to the group "AGRIKUA" ("kua" being the Swahili word for "grow"), whose project focuses on promoting gender equality (SDG 5) in the agricultural sector. Their plan to create an online professional platform for young Kenyan women seeking opportunities in agriculture impressed the jury and audience alike, and they took home the grand prize of EUR 10,000. On top of this funding, the AGRIKUA delegates will also receive dedicated training and coaching to help make the project a reality. They will also be invited back to Europe to present their project to a relevant industry platform.
"We were blown away by the level of creativity, intelligence, and diligence shown by each of the delegate groups in the final projects they presented,” said Fleur Wilkins, Head of Strategic Messaging and Executive Communications for Crop Science, a division of Bayer. “Bayer is thrilled to be funding three of these for future development, but we are convinced that all of this year’s Youth Ag-Summit delegates will continue to champion and contribute to a more sustainable food system."
About the Youth Ag-Summit
The Youth Ag-Summit is a global bi-annual conference designed to inspire and connect the next generation of young leaders in agriculture and related disciplines. In October 2017, 100 young leaders aged 18 to 25 met in Brussels, Belgium, to create an open dialogue on one of the world’s biggest challenges: how to feed a growing population in a sustainable manner. The next edition of the Youth Ag-Summit will be held in Brazil in 2019.
About Groene Kring
Groene Kring (GK) is an association for young farmers in Flanders, Belgium.
About the Fédération des Jeunes Agriculteurs
La Fédération des Jeunes Agriculteurs (FJA) represents young farmers living and working in Wallonia, Belgium.