PREVIOUS YOUTH ENGAGEMENT EFFORTS

In 2017 the ASMC team traveled to Cambodia to visit the Kampong Thom CE SAIN Technology Park. This technology park is coupled with the Ramsey Sophanna High School. While there, the ASMC team had the opportunity to speak with students and ask what careers they wanted to pursue. The common answers were teacher, journalist, and doctor. Only one student was interested in agriculture as a career. This is likely a result of youth viewing agriculture as a physically taxing and often unstable way of earning income. This highlights the need for students to be exposed to the other possible career paths associated with agriculture and get them excited about the sustainability aspect.

In 2018 the ASMC team visited Kampong Thom CE SAIN Technology Park and the Ramsey Sophanna High School again. While there, they participated in the judging of conservation agriculture gardens prepared by 10 teams of students, comprised of 7-10 students per team.  Each team made a 2-minute presentation beside their six experimental plots in which they were growing vegetables emphasizing conservation agricultural practices and making provision for growing plants that would address potential pest issues obviating the need for chemical application. Pictures of this can be seen to the left. The top three teams received awards. Competitions such as this can be used to engage students in agriculture and educate youth on the opportunities in agriculture.

Another competition that ASMC has helped facilitate took place at the 2017 Regional Symposium on Appropriate Scale Mechanization for Sustainable Intensification in Bangladesh. The Agricultural Technology Innovation Student Competition brought together teams of undergraduate students from Bangladeshi Universities to develop ideas/proposals for enhancing agricultural productivity via mechanization in Bangladesh. The competition had over 90 teams register and submit abstracts and over 60 teams submitted final proposal and posters.

The competition aimed to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship related to agricultural technologies and mechanization. The top five submissions were invited to pitch their proposal during the Regional Symposium on Appropriate Scale Mechanization for Sustainable Intensification. The top five ideas were an entrepreneurship model for agricultural mechanization, cabinet dryer for high moisture grain, a model for agri-production and agri-marketing, a platform for agricultural trade and technology, and applications of drones in agriculture. Each of the group was awarded with a prize of 500 US dollars and a certificate.