Against a backdrop of increasing disconnection of young people from farming and a world population that is forecast to soar to ten billion by 2050, visionary thinking, a long-term approach, and creativity are urgently needed to develop solutions to enable the next generation of food producers to face global farming challenges. That is why Bayer and the two Belgian young farmers associations, Groene Kring and Fédération des Jeunes Agriculteurs, are inviting young thought leaders from around the world to apply to attend the third Global Youth Agriculture Summit from October 9 to 13, 2017 in Brussels, Belgium.

About 100 selected young delegates from around the world will share ideas, develop solutions and engage in an open discussion on one of the world’s most challenging questions: How do we feed a hungry planet sustainably? To apply, young people aged 18 to 25 are asked to submit an essay on the underlying causes of food insecurity and the effect it can have on a growing population. The essay question is based on the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Ability to demonstrate original ideas and passion to help shape the future will be the key selection criteria for the Youth Ag-Summit. Essay applications are accepted online until January 13, 2017.

In 2015, delegates from 33 countries delivered the Canberra Youth Ag-Declaration, an action-oriented plan with recommendations on how youth can have the maximum impact on global food security, which was tabled at the United Nations Committee on World Food Security in Rome afterwards. “Hailing from 33 countries and many different educational backgrounds, all 100 delegates brought together unique and diverse perspectives and mooted ideas towards addressing a global concern. It was amazing to see how we all, enthusiastically, took up the challenge and formed a common overall vision aimed at feeding a hungry planet”, remembers Samba Ouma Zablon, 2015 alumni delegate from Kenya, who was selected to present the declaration to the UN. In 2017, the movement continues in the European capital.

“We are delighted to co-host the next Youth Ag-Summit in Brussels,” says FJA’s secretary general Guillaume Van Binst. “FJA aims to mobilize stakeholders, organize advocacy, and address both farmers and the general public. And where better to do so than at this prestigious global event?” Groene Kring national chairman Giel Boey agrees. “Brussels, is an ideal location for this seminal gathering of young farmers to help us face up to the future of agriculture and of feeding the world,” he says.

Damien Viollet, Director and Head of Country Group Benelux Bayer CropScience adds: “Belgium is a great place to lead from. It is in the heart of Europe, where governments, multinationals, civil society and the media take a seat at the table to shape the continent and beyond.”

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