CropWorld Global Congress & Exhibition – Learning more about Innovations on Global Food ProductionWhat makes me passionate about food and agriculture is how intrinsically connected they are to our social, cultural, environmental and economic contexts.
The challenges facing global food production – increasing world population, restricted land availability, food loss and waste, yield reduction due to climate change, to name a few – require us to shift from a solely “per hectare productivity” mindset towards a much more inclusive and comprehensive framework. This framework should bring together science, business, policy and the civil society to collectively link food production to healthy dietary patterns in a healthy planet, spurring innovation along the food value chain.
In this context, as a 2015 Youth Ag-Summit Alumna, I was invited to join over a hundred people from the agriculture and crop industry – global food suppliers, buyers, scientists, regulators and key policy makers – at the CropWorld Global Congress & Exhibition in Amsterdam, a two-day event where we discussed the challenges and potential solutions to global food production. The aspect I enjoyed the most about the event was to see the combination of lectures and exhibits from a variety of companies, ranging from leading agriculture research and educational programs to innovations in digital farming and crop production and protection. Furthermore, it was a great opportunity to network with different stakeholders and to share some insights on food security and environmental sustainability.
Highlights from the CropWorld Global event
(October 24 and 25)
Throughout the event, besides attending the lectures and visiting some exhibits, I was also part of Bayer CropScience’s Agricultural Education booth, together with 2015 Youth Ag-Summit Alumna Lydia Jeffs-Joory from the UK. Lydia and I shared our experiences about the 2015 Youth Ag-Summit, held in Canberra, Australia, and we highlighted the unique opportunity of joining a network of 100 delegates from 33 countries, especially when it comes to sharing and learning about agriculture in different rural and urban contexts as well as building lifetime friendships worldwide. To anyone aged 18-25 years who is interested in agriculture and food security, or if you know anyone in that age range, I strongly recommend applying to the 2017 Youth Ag-Summit edition, which will be held in Brussels, Belgium, on October 9-13, 2017 (for more information on how to apply, visit the webpage
www.youthagsummit.com). It is a great platform to tackle global food insecurity, having the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as the framework for agriculture development.
Among the lectures attended, I was particularly interested on the topics of “innovation in the agriculture industry”, “food chain sustainability and healthy natural environments to improve global food security and ecosystem resilience” and “digital farming”. I held very interesting conversations with an organic fertilizer manufacturer focused on sustainable agriculture and I was also impressed to see the application of an innovative LED toplighting technology which allows sustainable growing systems for vertical farming. In addition, I learned more about the Field Scanalyzer which allows an automated measuring of crop growth and health in the field. All in all, it was a great experience to talk to lecturers, attendees and exhibitors, and I can assure I have learned a lot about food and agriculture in those two days!
Youth panel discussion on the next generation in agriculture (October 24)
Being part of the panel discussion on the “Next Generation in Agriculture: The Role of Youth and Young Farmers in Feeding a Hungry Planet” as a 2015 Youth Ag-Summit Alumna was the most remarkable moment for me. The panel was moderated by Adrian Percy (Head of R&D at Bayer Crop Science), and together with Lydia, Christopher Gardner (post-doctoral researcher at Bayer Crop Science, Germany) and Jared Osborne (General Manager at Top Notch Farms, USA), I discussed the biggest challenges and opportunities facing agriculture.
Discussing the role of the youth in agriculture is increasingly important to empower the youth to pursue a career in agriculture, given that the number of farmers have declined globally – from 35 to only 4% in developed nations between 1950 and 2010, and from 81 to 48% in developing countries. It is vital to promote equal opportunities to young people, especially when considering different socioeconomic backgrounds, so that the youth will be interested in having a career in agriculture.
Those two days at CropWorld Global certainly kept me motivated to continue to move forward with my passion for food and agriculture, in the sense that everything will always be increasingly connected to sustainable development. Not only that – I am convinced that the Youth Ag-Summit network is one of the strongest I have ever been part of, given that we are constantly supporting each other in our global endeavors towards food security.