We, at GFAR and CGIAR, are committed to integrate, stimulate and mentor the involvement of youth in all of our collective programs. At GCARD3, the Third Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development, we are taking any opportunity to live up to that commitment.

That's why we are using the upcoming #GCARD3 global event as a springboard to pilot a number of innovative projects and approaches. One of these projects is “YAP”, the Youth Agripreneurs Project. “YAP” is a pilot project targeting young agricultural entrepreneurs or “agripreneurs”.

Within “YAP” we wanted to select young agripreneurs from all over the world, and provide seed funding of USD 5,000 to facilitate the startup of their project. During one year, we wanted to mentor these young agripreneurs within their project, linking them with seasoned researchers and practitioners, by integrating them in the YPARD (Young Professionals for Agricultural Development) mentoring program. We also wanted to train them on new ways to advocate and network using innovative communication tools.

Within two weeks of the call going out, over 100 eager young agripreneurs' proposals were uploaded to the GFAR blog. Each day, more proposals are received, showing the high level of demand for practical solutions to agri-challenges--and the enthusiasm of young people in agriculture all over the world to put on their thinking caps and roll up their sleeves to offer those solutions.

How can you...YAP?

There are three ways you can participate:

1) If you are a young person in agriculture--a farmer, breeder, fisher, extensionist, trainer, any kind of agri-professional--apply to YAP by submitting your application in the form of a blog post on the GFAR blog. Read the eligibility requirements and proposal guidelines here. Submissions will be accepted until March 9th 2016 (midnight CET).

2) Help us at GFAR narrow down the many outstanding proposals we are receiving by visiting the GFAR blog (blog.gfar.net/tag/YAP) and liking and commenting on proposals you find innovative, well-presented and achievable. The voting closes on March 13th at midnight CET.

3) If you work with an organization that might be interested in supporting more young agripreneurs (or know one), contact us! We launched the project with a good amount of our goal matched, but if we receive more support by March 15th, we can expand the final number of winners. More information and expressions of interest for funding can be sent to Fiona Chandler (GFAR Secretariat): fiona.chandler[at]fao[dot]org.

Thanks to everyone in the agri-food research and innovation community for your support to the YAP initiative! Let's make the dreams of young agri-innovators a reality!


Photo credit: Niel Palmer