samedi 12 octobre 2013

Enhancing youth voice’s in Agricultural Research for development in Cameroon

Family photo behind National Youth Council bureau

 Last june 29th, Young Cameroonian decided to meet in national youth Council bureau to reflect on two issues: Are we making most for youth issue in Agricultural Research for Development for Cameroon emergence by 2035? And are youths involved within the strategic policy for agriculture and rural development? This consultation was facilitated by YPARD-Cameroon team. During almost 3 hours, leaders of associations, young entrepreneurs in agriculture, students discussed on various points registered in the agenda such as:                                                                                                                    

       Problems faced by youths involved in agricultural research for development in Cameroon?

       Actions that can enhance youth participation in agricultural research and development in Cameroon and the valorization of their results

       Potential partners and sources of funding

The reflection were oriented into three main workshop:

Workshop 1: The problems faced by young professionals involved in agricultural research for Development in Cameroon

The aim of this workshop was to discuss on the definition of agricultural research, development. What is meant by young professional? What are the problems faced by young professionals involved in agricultural research and development in Cameroon? Is most being done to favour the youths’ integration in the ARD in Cameroon?

Workshop 2: Conditions that favour the insertion, synergy and implication of youths in strategic policy making in ARD

The aim of this workshop was for the participants to suggest actions that can promote youth involvement and the valorization of results issued from agricultural research in order to improve population's well being in Cameroon.

Workshop 3: ARD Partners and Funding agencies

The aim of this workshop was to answer to the following questions: What is a partnership? Who can be a partner for an activity related to agriculture? How to convince the partner? How to get funds? A partner is any person or institution who is able to support financially, physically or technically an idea or activity. The project must be realistic, reliable and viable to be bankable. The one who initiates a project is the first partner of the project. 

The outcomes of these workshops

 A.    It was obvious that so far, the efforts put in place are not benefitting Cameroonian youths. Various factors came out as being the drawbacks to youths in the domains of ARD.

The problems highlighted are:

- Lack of information

- Agriculture is not socially considered as a profession

- Lack of training in entrepreneurship

- Limited access to resources (land, funding)

- Lack of technical support

- Very little confidence is given to youths in the society

B.     The following six (06) actions were seen to be the most important would favour youths integration into ARD and thereby preparing for an emerging Cameroon within the next decade:

            Develop the rural sector (infrastructural and institutionally, with ICT to favour youths of all categories to feel at ease in rural where agriculture is practiced)

            Provide technical support and monitoring to financed youths' initiatives

            Promote the training of youths in entrepreneurship

            Advertising the potential of agriculture

            Involve youths in the making of agricultural development policies

           Make available to youths the results of research

C.    According to participants, partners can be:

             Ministries (MINADER, MINEPIA, MINPMEESA, MINEPAT, ...) through different projects and programs like The National Civic Service of MINJEC (Ministry of youth and civic education)

             Donors: like  IFAD, FARA, WFP, FAO, WWF, ICRAF, CORAF/WECARD, CIRAD, the national and international companies, the local elite, Councils 

The main resolution of the workshops

 Youth recommended the following measures to be put in place in order the ensure full participation of young professionals in agriculture sector:

  • Sensitization of youths on the importance of agriculture by using all the known communication and the creation of pilot centres.
  • building the capacity of youths by involving experts in all the fields related to agriculture. 
  • seeking various means to facilitate land ownership most especially to women. 
  • Network in groups especially among the YPARD community 
  • Seeking for means to improve on the state of farm to market roads. 
  • Seeking for means of  improving Storage facilities 
  • Come out with strategies on how to market agricultural produce 
  • Looking for ways of engaging disabled people in agriculture. 
  • Encourage the use of ICT in Agriculture 
  • Move away from traditional agriculture to a modern approach 
  • Encourage the transformation of agricultural produce on the spot 
  • Encourage the Government of Cameroon to make the study of Agriculture as a compulsory subject in the school curricula. 
  • That, Leaders of youth organizations should be more involved in a better dissemination of Public Policy among Youths. 
  • That cost of inputs in Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries should be lowered. 
  •  That the selection procedures, financing, monitoring and evaluation activities of micro or small projects of Youth be intensified to ensure greater support impact. 
  •  That Leaders of Youth Organizations be involved at all levels of the process (mobilization, implementation, monitoring). 
  •  The development partners should further support Youth initiatives. 
  •  That systematic repayment of support grants is canceled and field support optimized. 
  •  Managers believe that arbitrary financing of non-active youth through high percentages severely punished. 
  •  That there should be budgetary provisions ​​for programs monitoring commissions to ensure effectiveness of support on the field. 
  •  In Accordance with the Business Plan submitted by Youths, that financing be granted in line with the funding requested with a maximum bottom margin of 10% and not 90% as many beneficiaries complain.

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