These days, more than ever, we are reminded of the growing need for food security and improved livelihoods in many of the world’s developing countries. This is not just a task for those presently at the helm of agricultural research for development (AR4D) endeavors; it will surely also be a priority for many generations to come. As such, it is vital that we don’t think in terms of passing the baton onto the next generation sometime in the future – we need to include young people in every aspect of AR4D from the outset.
When experience, knowledge and wisdom meet the different perspectives and fresh ideas that many young people can bring to the table, there’s no telling what we can achieve in our efforts to reduce rural poverty, increase food security, improve nutrition and health, and sustainably manage natural resources. Unfortunately, the supply of new young scientists, as well as youth willing to work on farms, is lagging behind demand. If we are to tackle the challenges of tomorrow, it is imperative that we attract talented young men and women into our organizations, and then train and retain them.
As the 2010 United Nations’ International Year of Youth draws to a close, and the CGIAR celebrates 40 years in agricultural research, we feel it is appropriate to acknowledge both these events by highlighting the work of several talented individuals; young people under 40 who have already made their presence felt in the field of AR4D.
Our Growing Talents: Youth in Agriculture booklet brings together 13 diverse interviews that showcase the work, perspectives, experiences and aspirations of some of the youth we have been fortunate enough to encounter over the last 12 months.
We hope that the youth highlighted in the booklet will encourage other young people to make a lasting difference in AR4D. We also hope their stories will help to underscore the importance of giving youth a platform so that their voices may be heard. The future is truly in their hands.
We invite you to read their stories and download the booklet here
Lloyd Le Page and Enrica Porcari