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Young People in Agriculture – Before, During and After COVID-19 - Episode 9

IFAD is helping young people in agriculture evaluate the COVID-19 crisis and build their resilience for the future. In this episode, we hear from nine different voices on this important topic.

We begin with IFAD's Associate Vice President, Paul Winters. Then Rahul Antao, from IFAD's youth team, speaks with us about youth empowerment and the agribusiness hubs.

We also hear from three young farmers who share their strategies and solutions during this challenging time: Zeinorin from India, Mirna from the Dominican Republic, and Elly from Kenya.

Then we take you to the Pacific Islands, where Danietta Apisai joins us from Kiribati for important updates on the islanders' food situation and their reaction to the pandemic. Chef Lance Seeto, from Fiji, also has some news to share about his new Fijian restaurant and recent visit to an IFAD-funded project in Tonga.

Thales Mendonça, an organic farmer from Brazil, tells us about how he has had to reshape his farming business to adapt to the coronavirus pandemic.

And finally, Chef Bela Gil, one of our newest Recipes for Change colleagues, has some stories to share about her path as a nutritionist, chef, author and advocate.


Episode Contents


Paul Winters: The latest on COVID-19’s impacts on agriculture in developing countries

Paul Winters, Associate Vice-President, Strategy and Knowledge Department

Six months have passed since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. In this rapidly evolving situation, rural communities all around the world have found different ways to cope with the crisis’s many effects – both on our health and on the economy.

Paul Winters, Associate Vice-President at IFAD, tells us about how IFAD’s priorities are changing and adapting to support them, too.

Rahul Antao on empowering our youth

Rahul Antao, Professional Officer for Rural Youth

Rahul Antao works with IFAD’s Youth team. He talks to us about the current employment and labor situation facing today’s youth, how the pandemic could aggravate this situation – and what we can do about it.

Later in the show we resume our conversation with Rahul, when he emphasizes that, for him, youth empowerment is all about dialogue and collaboration.

Zeinorin Angkang: Connectivity challenges in remote India

Zeinorin Angkang

Zeinorin Angkang is the founder of Hill Wild, a chocolate business that adds delicious Indian spices and textures to its products.

She is also one of IFAD’s Youth Champions. Earlier this year, she participated in our Governing Council as a youth panelist.

In a recent interview, she told us that connectivity was one of the biggest challenges facing Hill Wild. We asked her if things have improved since our last talk. Listen in to find out!

Mirna Ortiz on the pineapple business

Mirna Ortiz

Mirna Ortiz is the Financial Manager of the Association of Young Producers of Monte Plata Pineapple, located in the Dominican Republic.

In our conversation with her, she tells us all about how she came into the role, including how she acquired her impressive financial management skills.  

Elly Matende on growing a dairy business in Kenya

Elly Matende

Elly Matende is co-owner of the Matende Holstein Farm, a dairy producer in Kakamega county, Kenya.

Having begun his career as a small-scale milk producer, he is now also a cow breeder, dairy farmer and breeding trainer.

In our interview with him, he tells us about the growth of his business over the past several years

Danietta Apisai: Effects of COVID-19 on the Kiribati Food and Water Project

Kiribati Outer Islands Food and Water Project

As we continue our tour around the globe, we stop off in the Pacific to hear from Danietta Apisai, representative of the Kiribati Outer Islands Food and Water Project.

The population of Kiribati relies heavily on food imports. Now that the pandemic has slowed the movement of goods around the world, their food supplies are going through a rough patch.

The local government is encouraging the population to invest their time in agriculture in the hopes that, in the future, they will be less dependent on imports and more on locally produced food.

Chef Lance Seeto shares a lockdown-friendly recipe

Chef Lance Seeto

Listen in to our award-winning Recipes for Change Chef Lance Seeto speak about Pacific Islanders’ food traditions and adaptation to climate change – and the COVID-19 pandemic

Fiji-based Chef Seeto also shares with us a delicious lockdown-friendly recipe for Chicken and Leafy Greens Soup that you can cook from the comfort of your home.

To learn more about Chef Seeto’s engagement with Recipes for Change and how to cook some more tasty Pacific recipes, check out our earlier interview with him.

You can also find the full-length interview here.

Thales Mendonça: Solutions for farming during COVID-19

Thales Mendonça

Thales Mendonça is an organic farmer from Curitiba, in the south of Brazil. He is also part of the Intercontinental Network of Organic Farmers’ Organisations and was a panelist at the most recent Farmers Forum, which took place earlier this year at IFAD headquarters in Rome.

Like many young farmers around the world, Thales is struggling with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. His city’s open market, where fresh produce is sold, has been closed for the past month and a half.

Thales has had to reshape his farming business. We speak with him about the solutions he’s found to keep his farm alive.

Chef Bela Gil on the importance of supporting small agricultural producers

Chef Bela Gil

Chef Bela Gil joined our Recipes for Change campaign this year in the midst of the pandemic. Bela is a cookbook author, activist, TV host and chef. She believes that food can change the world – and so do we!

We speak with her about the importance of supporting smallholder agricultural producers. She tells us that her hope is with the young people.

Visit Bela’s page on our website to read her bio.

You can also find the full-length interview here.

Coming up for July: Talking Livestock

We’ll have the latest on how farming communities are coping with the COVID-19 crisis with IFAD’s President, Gilbert Houngbo. Plus we’ll be hearing from IFAD’s projects across Asia and how they’re dealing with the COVID-19 situation: tune in for reports from Afghanistan, Pakistan and China. Then we’ll take a look at the world of livestock farming. We’ll get caught up on the current conversation in this field – all the issues and innovations – with Antonio Rota. Plus we’ll be visiting livestock projects in Kenya with Guyo Roba, our correspondent in Nairobi. We’ll also be talking to Paul Luu, the boss of the “4 per 1000” initiative, and with Indigo, an ag-tech start-up that helps farmers earn money through better soil management and carbon credits.

Thanks to our producer Francesco Manetti and everyone else who’s worked on this programme – but most of all, thanks to you for listening to this episode of Farms. Food. Future., brought to you by the International Fund for Agricultural Development.

Remember, we want to hear from you! What do you think about the stories and issues we’ve discussed, and who do you want us to be talking to? You’re always welcome to get in touch with us at podcasts@ifad.org.

Send us your voice or text messages and we’ll be happy to play you out in the next show.

Also, don’t forget to subscribe to this podcast via your favorite podcast platform – and please rate us!

And as always, we’re working to be good for you, good for the planet and good for farmers.