Supporting global change: Bayer to fund three youth-led food security projects
Calgary, Alberta, October 23, 2017 – 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.
On Oct. 9 - 13, 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 concrete 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, including four from Canada, worked throughout the week in groups of 10 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 €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 €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 €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.
Cassie Hayward from Halifax, Nova Scotia, was one of four Canadian delegates to attend the Summit. She was part of the winning AGRIKUA team and feels that this experience has been life-changing.
“I’m very fortunate to have been part of such an amazing team. The outcome we achieved is because of the collaboration and commitment of our group to make a real impact in addressing food security,” said Hayward. “Within 24 hours our lives changed. Since my teammates and I arrived at home, various groups have expressed their interest in our project.”
Hayward wasn’t the only Canadian to garner attention at the Youth Ag-Summit. In fact, all of the top teams had representation from Canada—the only country in attendance to do so.
“We are extremely proud of our Canadian delegates,” said Al Driver, President and CEO, Bayer Crop Science. “These four delegates used their diverse experience and backgrounds to find tangible solutions to addressing food security. They should all be proud in the manner they represented their country to the world.”
Speaking about this year’s crop of winners, Fleur Wilkins, Head of Strategic Messaging and Executive Communications for Bayer Crop Science and member of the jury, said: “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. 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.”
As well as working in groups to develop their projects, delegates spent the week hearing from world-renowned speakers and partner organisations, who inspired them to each commit to doing “Three Little Things” in their everyday life to foster greater food security.
They also paid a visit to the EU Committee of the Regions, and met with Members of the EU Parliament Tom Vandenkendelaere and Richard Ashworth to discuss agricultural policy. Another highlight of the week was a visit to Hof ten Bosch, a Bayer ForwardFarm nestled in the heart of the Belgian countryside.
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.
Following previous editions hosted in Canada and Australia, this year’s Summit was the first to be held in a European city. The Youth Ag-Summit is part of Bayer’s Agricultural Education Program which aims to raise global awareness about farming and food supplies. This year’s delegates hailed from 49 countries: Argentina, Australia, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Denmark, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Guatemala, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Lithuania, Malaysia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Paraguay, Philippines, Poland, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Tanzania, Thailand, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Kingdom, USA, Vietnam, and Zimbabwe.
About Groene Kring
Groene Kring (GK) is an association for young farmers in Flanders, Belgium, which counts around 3,500 members. GK brings young farmers together via regular activities and events, organizes entrepreneurship education, and protects the interests of young farmers on a regional, national and international level. For more information, visit: www.groenekring.be
About the Fédération des Jeunes Agriculteurs
La Fédération des Jeunes Agriculteurs (FJA) represents young farmers living and working in Wallonia, Belgium. FJA represents the views of 2,800 members, advocating on their behalf at a national and European level. As an official education provider within the agriculatural sector, they also organize training courses. For more information, visit: www.fja.be
Bayer: Science For A Better Life
Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the Life Science fields of health care and agriculture. Its products and services are designed to benefit people and improve their quality of life. At the same time, the Group aims to create value through innovation, growth and high earning power. Bayer is committed to the principles of sustainable development and to its social and ethical responsibilities as a corporate citizen. In fiscal 2016, the Group employed around 115,200 people and had sales of EUR 46.8 billion. Capital expenditures amounted to EUR 2.6 billion, R&D expenses to EUR 4.7 billion. These figures include those for the high-tech polymers business, which was floated on the stock market as an independent company named Covestro on October 6, 2015. For more information, go to www.bayer.com.
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