Flying the South African flag high in Belgium

The four-day Youth Ag-Summit kicked off in Brussels, Belgium on 9 October, with 100 young talents from around the world tackling one of humanity’s biggest challenges: how to feed a growing population in a more sustainable manner.


The Youth Ag-Summit is a global bi-annual conference designed to inspire and connect the next generation of young leaders in agriculture and related disciplines.

Delegates from 49 countries – including two from South Africa – teamed up to generate innovative, sustainable and actionable solutions to global food security challenges.

President of the Bayer AG’s Crop Science Division Liam Condon says everyone needs to do their part if the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) are to be met.

“By inspiring our youth to advocate for science and sustainable agriculture, we hope to tap into the creativity of great young minds to help solve a major societal challenge,” says Condon.

The mission for the delegates is to come up with concrete new ideas that can be put into practice back home and drive agricultural progress across the globe

“The Youth Ag-Summit is always a hotbed of enthusiasm, creative thinking and innovation,” says Condon.

Young leaders represent South Africa at the Youth Ag-Summit

South Africans Marlese Bester and Landi Ehlers heared from experts and inspirational speakers, including Professor Louise O Fresco, President of Wageningen University & Research, Caleb Harper, Director of Open Agriculture initiative and Hugh Evans, CEO of Global Citizen.

Delegates enjoyed tours of EU institutions and met with European policymakers, visited one of Bayer’s innovative sustainable farming sites and gained real-world insights into sustainability in action from companies and organisations such as Rabobank, CropTrust and Thought for Food.

Chairman of Groene Kring, Giel Boey, says the firm was pleased to co-host the event, which gives young people the chance to collaborate and act on solutions for sustainable agriculture – rather than just thinking, they will be doing

The strongest ideas were selected to be funded by Bayer. 

“We need to restore the connection between those who produce our food and those who consume it, says Guillaume van Binst, Secretary-General of the Fédération des Jeunes Agriculteurs.