“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Lao-tzu”
My journey in ICT for Agriculture started sometimes in December 2012, after I saw a call for social reporters by the Young Professionals’ Platform for Agricultural Research and Development (YPARD) during an online research. I didn’t know what social reporting meant but further research made me understand only little. I then applied to the YPARD Social Reporting Team and started a blog in January 2013 with a focus on Agriculture. I had always blogged about health and technology issues but not on Agriculture (even though I studied Agriculture)J.
The organization, then Young Professionals’ Platform for Agricultural Research and Development (YPARD), now Young Professionals in Agricultural Development (YPARD) really spurn on my passion for Agriculture and in the use of ICT tools to encourage youths to get involved in Agriculture. It was a great day as I wrote and published my first blog post, I had full understanding about blogging using Blogger, not wordpress! 😛 so, I had to keep learning by trial and error…I am still learning though.
About a month later due to my passion in Agriculture and promoting my family farming activities on social media and blogs, I was selected as the local representative for YPARD in Lagos, this will require that I attend Agricultural conferences and represent the voices of youth in Agriculture as well as promote the events on social media. I have had opportunities to follow dialogues on youth in Agriculture on twitter (due to my being a YPARD Social reporter), but I have never reported live in a conference.
Just few days after I was selected to be the Local representative of YPARD in Lagos, I was invited to attend the HEDA Resource Youth Dialogue Series on Food Security for a mega population. It was indeed a great event as I met farmers, scientists, government officials, youths and people from all walks of life coming together to discuss on a very important topic: Food! For the first time, I did a live social reporting, promoting the events on the #YpardNigeria and #WetinUThink hashtag.
I was actively present at the Launch of the AABS Agribusiness Consortium’s Agribusiness Management Programme launch in Lagos and I also promoted the event across social media as well as share the information in the YPARD blog. I was thinking no one was seeing my works on ICT in Agriculture until few months afterwards on September, 2013 when I was invited for a TV programme discussion on the role of social media in #Agriculture on the Nigerian Television Authority, it was such an exciting discussion as I stressed the need for youths to be actively involved in any area in the value chain as all the youths don ‘t necessarily need to go to the farm to get involved in Agriculture.
Aside from all this, nothing gave me more joy than being sponsored by the Technical Center for Agriculture and Rural Development (CTA) to actually get training in social reporting in Agriculture conferences and be in attendance at the ICT4Ag conference in Kigali, Rwanda. It was great learning first hand from the experienced knowledge management team as well as great guidance and training from Mr. Pier and Nawsheen – our co-ordinators.
The ICT4Ag changed my perceptions about using ICT Tools in Agriculture, I can vividly remember a post I published months before the #ICT4Ag13 conference after making a research on e-agriculture: e-Agriculture and its role in reducing unemployment and Hunger. At the conference, I saw the reality of this – ICT has the capacity to create thousands of job for youths in the Agriculture sector! In a recent interview with a national newspaper in Nigeria, I reiterated the fact that ‘E-agriculture will create 500,000 jobs for youths’ |in Nigeria if properly harnessed based on my experiences in ICT4Ag.
This is just the first part of my ICT4Ag journey, watch out for Part 2 and learn what my experiences has led me to do…if you are inspired by my story then wait until you read part two. You don’t need to wait till part two to take action by joining my Facebook group: Kalu Samuels Blog.