By Allan Rodrick C’oredo, Founder and Innovator-FarmIT. IUPAC 2019 Next Generation Agri-Summit Participant
The future of feeding a hungry planet is hinged on an active role the youth will play in sustainable crop protection. Food security is a cog in the wheels of every nation either developed or developing. 25% of poor crop yields is as a result of inadequate crop protection practices: water pollution, air pollution and contamination of crops all have negative effects on yields.
But the big elephant in the room is what is sustainable crop protection? There are rapid and dynamic changes in the agricultural ecosystem and the definition keeps changing meanings. Sustainable crop protection is the science of balance, using chemicals and botanicals with an aim of preserving resources for future generations
World trends in sustainable crop protection
Syngenta research station in Ghent is developing new lines of biocontrol based on RNA. The biocontrol can be designed to be very selective that it only affects targeted pests. the biocontrol is so specific it affects the targeted insect and does no harm to related insects in the same family.
University of KU Leuven Belgium, a hub in biodiversity international, has the world’s largest banana collection Centre with 1,536 invitro active collection of banana. Many shops in Ghent are embracing organic foods, and there is rise in the availability of organic vegetables in supermarkets.
The Inagro research station is discovering sustainable ways of cleaning used farm machinery and equipment in arable open farming. To reduce the level of contamination, they have advanced their research in precision agriculture with high-tech drone technology measuring optimum nutrient level use in wheat.
The challenges young scientist face in sustainable crop protection
With emerging technologies and the need for sustainable crop protection, the youth have been left behind in advocacy, and lobby for the cause. Most young crop scientists and enthusiastic entrepreneurs are finding it difficult to break the glass ceiling to introduce their ideas and reach the intended beneficiaries.
Among the most common challenges facing youth are lack of funds to implement their research, gap between young entrepreneurs and the investor ecosystem, unfavorable government policies, and a skills gap in the implementation of sustainable projects.
The youth actively engage in sustainable crop protection
Despite these challenges, young scientists have made great strides in coming up with brilliant innovations that improve sustainable crop protection practices. Among them is Apalowo Oluropo Ayotunde from Nigeria, who is managing plant diseases using botanicals and ICT. He says, “to service humanity is the first work of life”.
Simon Appeltans from Belgium, a young researcher who wants to use modern tools that farmers have at hand to protect their crops.
Bruna Czarnobai from brazil, who wants to use adaptation of nanotechnology as a versatile instrument for developing eco-friendly pest control methods.
Helping young scientist and entrepreneurs engage more in sustainable crop protection
With great innovations and ideas from the youth globally, there is a growing need for support and IUPAC International Union of Pure and Applied chemistry (IUPAC) is bridging this gap through organizing a contest and supporting the winners of the contest with seed funding.
IUPAC 2019 saw five great ideas being awarded a €5,000 grant to implement their project. The remaining participants went through a thorough one-week program of personal development and a hackathon.
The IUPAC Next gen event was a brilliant idea for young scientist and entrepreneurs to learn create awareness about their ideas and innovation and build networks for potential partnerships and collaboration.
As an entrepreneur and enthusiast for sustainable crop protection practices, I would like to ask for more support for the youth, young scientist and entrepreneurs from private organizations, NGO’s and government interested in supporting the cause for sustainable crop protection practices globally
Allan C’oredo is the founder and Innovator at FarmIT. Has passion for farming and helping small scale farmers and has a philosophy of ‘learning to Uber before getting Kodaked.