Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Youth delegates learn valuable insights about IRRI’s goals

Dr. Tolentino briefs the APYE delegates on IRRI's research
activities aimed at ending global hunger and ensuring
sustainable rice production.
LOS BAÑOS, Philippines—A delegation from the 2nd Asia-Pacific Youth Exchange (APYE) visited the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) on 5 August to get an overview of current research activities aimed at ending global hunger and ensuring sustainable rice production.

“APYE brings together young people so they can brainstorm on ideas that are more implementable,” said Savinda Rathanuga, regional director for AISEC, an international nongovernmental and nonprofit organization that provides young people with leadership development and cross-cultural internship and volunteer exchange experiences across the globe. “A visit to IRRI was suggested because rice plays such a major role in Asia.”

The 20-person delegation was introduced to IRRI’s initiatives toward meeting the United Nations’ sustainable development goals (SGD) on hunger and responsible food consumption and production. The APYE delegates were briefed by Dr. Bruce Tolentino, deputy director for Communication and Partnerships; Dr. Rosa Paula Cuevas, a scientist at IRRI’s Grain Quality and Nutrition Center; and Dr. Maricar Alberto, climate change expert.

“We try to understand these initiatives and how we can provide solutions or ideas to communities,” Rathanuga said. “We are not trying to formulate national policies but use the bottom-up approach on how can we turn these ideas into practice. We want to better understand how rice production and consumption can be sustainable for the demands of the future.”

The program is designed to aid in formulating solutions that will ease the problem of labor shortages that are affecting food production as well as unemployment among youth.

“Rice production is a major job opportunity,” Rathanuga said. “We try to engage young people and encourage them to consider agriculture since many of them already are entering the service industries and high-tech jobs.”

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