CFS45: New horizons for youth engagement in sustainability
On the final day of the Plenary week of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS45), everybody was saying, “See you next year!”; my answer was “Next year, I will have even more input and I will be busy engaging more youth!” CFS45 and especially the work of the Private Sector Mechanism (PSM) boosted my views that we must continue to follow the best practice of engaging youth in agriculture.
I came to Rome with my past experience of the FAO 2nd International Symposium on Agroecology in mind. This year’s CFS45 was extraordinary, the event format was excellent, and the arrangement of side events was superb. When you are in such a global-level organisation’s facility, it really matters who is in your mentor group. I feel fortunate that I got to spend the week with diverse and experienced, and visionary delegates.
Which events stood out to you most during CFS45?
Many events at CFS45 were very interesting, but as I am more focused on technology & youth in agriculture, I found these two were very futuristic:
- PSM Side Event on Future of Farming for Innovation and Agroecology: Neither innovation not agroecology can persist without the other!
- PSM and Danone Side Event on Scaling Up Evidence-based Sustainable Agriculture Practices: This side event showed examples similar to my own work over the last three years. I observed some important notes during this session to magnify in our system. Like the speakers at this event, we have implemented Blockchain POC for evidence inputs.
Did you make any connections at CFS that might result in a new project or opportunity?
CFS is the perfect event where you can meet global leaders and exchange thoughts with them. I received very good responses from many people, and look forward to converting these conversations into action. I was happy to connect with various people from Nuffield International and hope to attend their annual Summit next year. I also received valuable suggestions from the PSM about multistakeholder alliances / partnerships for an initiative I have in mind.
Why do you think CFS is valuable to young people?
I believe that institutions like CFS and FAO motivate us to do better and better each time. For me, it gave me food for thought on how to engage more youth in my organisation. In my opinion, young people must think of CFS as a precious asset and learn from the leadership qualities and mindsets of global leaders in their fields, as well as from people in different sectors, including the private sector, civil society, and member states. This is the age to adapt and evolve quite quickly, and they must acquire such qualities with a focus on real-world opportunities, including funding.
How do you plan to share information about food security and nutrition now that you are back home?
Our Action plan consist of these steps:
- School to Farm Program – Target School students: Our new generation must be aware of farmer’s efforts, natural resource consumption, and the importance of food. As a result, they will realise the value of food, with a focus on nutrient-rich food, and will avoid food wastage. I believe that this step is important to preventing future food loss and ensuring sustainable food security for all.
- Mobile platform – Target Farmers: We have a large farmers network. With our innovative mobile-tech platform, we already have created awareness in farmer communities about food losses; after CFS, we plan not only to share this information but also to encourage farmer-to-farmer knowledge sharing to minimise pre-harvest food loss and maintain residue content below acceptable levels.
- E-commerce – Target consumers: We are the leading Indian grape-selling portal (www.bestgrapes.co.in). This is the fastest route for us to produce, sell, and advocate directly to end consumers. With this channel, we spread both the nutritional value and the importance of fruit. Also, we plan to educate the consumer about the natural resources used to produce each box. We hope that the consumer will think twice before wasting food, and will better understand the value of safe, nutrition fruits, especially for children.
Why is CFS important for you personally?
As I was travelling to Rome for CFS45, I read a chapter from The Bhagvad Geeta and I found a remarkable sentence: “संघ कार्ये कलियुगे” which means, “In this era, where we are heading to climate change, global warming, critical sustainability, and great hunger ( कलियुगे), only efforts with a team (संघ) will be effective (कार्ये). So, let’s join very single hand and build a strong team.”
I had the opportunity to speak with the CFS chair, H.E. Mario Arvelo, during my time in Rome. I was honored to have the opportunity to talk with him and to connect the work we are doing at CFS with The Bhagvad Geeta.
I am feeling confident that we are on the right track to end hunger and malnutrition for all, and am very grateful to have had the opportunity to attend CFS45.
By Samir Pandit of GrapeMundo