Apalowo Oluropo Ayotunde, Agronomist, Plant pathology. IUPAC 2019 Next Generation Agri-Summit Participant
Have you ever wondered why agricultural outputs from African countries continue to lag behind in world markets despite the enormous land resources available?
Earlier this week, I traveled to the ancient city of Ghent, not to watch Gent football club, rather for one of the greatest agricultural events of 2019 – IUPAC Next Generation Agri-Summit. Due to its reputation, the conference was like a United Nations General Assembly as participants came from every part of the world. The highlight of the beautiful meeting was the sharing of ideas that were brought from every angle, and every part of the globe; old, new, modern, improved, organic, synthetic ideas were all shared. This is the power of networking. Networking is a way of connecting with somebody, a people or group. It is a way of building bridges across culture and nationalities.
Reflecting over the event, I thought of how African farmers can benefit from some of the beautiful ideas being developed around the world. To get up to speed and catch up with the rest of the world, networking is required. For farmers and agricultural stakeholders in Africa, there is a need to create a broad network of information and a desire to connect with people from other regions through networking so as to have desirable agricultural result. The world has evolved, and many wonderful inventions and innovations are introduced to agriculture each year at affordable cost, however, information about these inventions can only be effectively utilized when those in need of it knows about them. The just concluded IUPAC conference has shown clearly that networking is the future of Agriculture. Fortunately, information and networking are not restricted to conferences alone, it can be found on local radio stations, social media, agriculture related events and so on.
Lack of adequate information is the ‘Berlin wall’ between farmers in developed countries who know ways to grow crops under different planting conditions and their counterpart in Africa that continue to follow traditional ways of cultivating. Networking is the driving tool that can break that wall.
Here are three ways that African farmers can leverage networking to gain new ideas and technologies:
- By visiting nearby agricultural research institutes to make inquiry about latest development in agriculture. One major advantage of this approach is that farmers will have the opportunity to physically discuss, ask questions and get clarification on how to apply new technologies.
- Another way they can practically benefit from the ongoing agricultural revolution going on around the world is by attending agricultural programs organized by government and non-governmental organizations. Events will allow them hear views from different people from different background and also allow them to network and make friends.
- The third option is to search for information on social media. The world is a global village and social media almost all information on improved way of crop cultivation is available online.
The United Nations has projected that the world population will reach 9.8 billion by 2050, meaning that more people will have to be fed and more land will be utilized, this is already causing untold fear among critical stakeholders who are getting apprehensive of the increasing human population which may lead to food insecurity if not properly checked. The implication is that every nation has a role to play in contributing their quota to the food chain and Africa must rise up to the challenge.
The work has already started. Try the following Agro-based social media sites to start your own networking; www.ypard.com, www.agronigeria.com.ng, and of course, follow me on twitter to get Agricultural updates @mtim14.
About Apalowo Oluropo Ayotunde
I am a young Agriculturist with a background in Agronomy, Plant pathology and Crop Protection. I have attended many training programs in various aspect of agriculture in my career. Most recently, I am one of the IUPAC Next Generation youth that were trained in Ghent, Belgium on leadership, advocacy and other area of importance in Agriculture. My major aim is to create awareness among African farmers on how to adopt new and improved agricultural technologies.