ICYA 2024: Empowering Youth, One Sustainable Future

ICYA 2024: Empowering Youth, One Sustainable Future
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From February 22-25, the International Conference of Youth in Agriculture (ICYA) was successfully held in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. ICYA is an annual event organized by the International Association of Students in Agricultural and Related Sciences (IAAS), a leading global student organization in the field of agriculture and related disciplines.

This year, Bayer, a global leader in health care and agriculture, became the first organizer of the event in Indonesia. Strengthening its role, the company is committed to increasing youth participation in agriculture and supporting the success of this program.

Since 2021, Bayer has been actively supporting IAAS through various initiatives, including its support for ICYA. The company recognizes the urgent need to engage youth in the agricultural sector to stimulate innovation, strengthen local food systems, ensure food security and provide beneficial employment opportunities.

This is due to the low level of youth participation in the agricultural sector. For example, the average age of a farmer in the United States and Africa is around 60. In Asia, the average age of Filipino farmers is 57, while in Indonesia it is 55, in Thailand 54, and even in Japan 66.

One effort to address the low participation of youth in agriculture is this parallel partnership, which has been realized through collaboration with IAAS to reach as many young people as possible. IAAS itself has more than 10,000 members worldwide in more than 50 countries.

The event, held in Yogyakarta, focused on the theme "Youth-driven solutions for ending hunger: Cultivating a Sustainable Future through Agriculture," which involved 91 students from 11 countries.

Together, ICYA participants were encouraged to develop meaningful agricultural solutions through the creation of position papers. The results of the conference will then be presented to a broader platform representing the voices of youth, including prominent global organizations such as the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Food Forum.

During the event, Bayer presented its initiatives to all ICYA 2024 participants through a special workshop session. This session also served as a platform to showcase Bayer's leadership in the agricultural sector, particularly in the field of biotechnology.

ICYA 2024 participants also had the opportunity to visit Bayer's JUARA (Juwiring Agriculture Research and Academy) facility in Juwiring, Klaten, Central Java. As a center for agricultural research and development, this facility is the first and largest of its kind owned by Bayer in Indonesia. Covering an area of 9 hectares in the village of Juwiring, Klaten, Central Java, Bayer JUARA is the second largest Bayer-owned R&D center in Southeast Asia and is expected to conduct up to 200 agricultural technology trials annually.

Bayer is committed to supporting 100 million smallholder farmers in developing countries by 2030, including 4 million farmers in Indonesia. Through collaborations, the company has established more than 2,700 Better Life Farming Centers (BFLCs) worldwide since 2018, with the participation of more than 30 partners. The BFLCs, in the form of smart agricultural kiosks, are part of the agricultural support ecosystem that aims to facilitate farmers' access to technology and ensure their participation in the agricultural value chain.

Bayer also continues to develop technologies to increase productivity and efficiency in the agricultural sector, including biotech seeds, crop protection products and digital farming. The use of drones for pesticide spraying, facilitated by Bayer, has also accelerated the spraying process from 4-8 hours to just 15-20 minutes, making farmers' work easier.

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