The IFAMA 2020 Essay Challenge is ended on the 26th of November with an online Award ceremony.

The ceremony started with an introduction by IFAMA Young Board member, Anathi Siphesihle Makamane. Our host is a Junior Lecturer and Researcher at the Centre for Sustainable Agriculture, Extension and Rural Development at the University of the Free State, South Africa. She is an active member of the IFAMA Young Board (International Food and Agribusiness Association).

Young Board
The IFAMA Young Board is a team of young, passionate individuals in the food and agribusiness management profession. The Board was born in 2020 to help drive the overall objective of IFAMA: to bring together the world's leading scholars and students, industry and NGO professionals, and policymakers to improve the strategic focus, transparency, sustainability and responsiveness of the food and agribusiness system. As a team, they are honored to be entrusted with the responsibility to share in the legacy of IFAMA. They are poised to represent and engage with the next generation of thought leaders in food and agribusiness management, to ensure that the world’s growing population is both fed and clothed sustainably.

The participants of the IFAMA 2020 Essay Challenge were students (Undergraduate and Graduate) and early career Professionals from all over the world. They wrote in the period of June-September 2020 essays with the main question: 'How can the sustainability, productivity, and market access, of smallholder sugarcane farmers be improved?' Participation in the challenge was individually and in teams. In the end we received 22 essays on which 46 students and early career professionals worked. The participants came from 17 different countries. And also the judges came from all over the world to assess the essays.

The central issue was formulated by Bayer. On October 26, the nominees of the essay challenge already met in a Q&A. The authors of the essays were then given the opportunity to ask questions of Bayer’s representatives. After that there was time and space to adapt and improve the essays when necessary. Also during the ceremony, Ronald Guendel (Bayer) once again emphasized the issue and the urgency to resolve.

The best writers of the essays received cash prizes, testimonials, a year-long member of IFAMA, and an invitation to attend the conference in 2021. Unfortunately, we expect that this conference will also take place online.

Graduate/ Early Career Professional - Team
1. Carien Denner; Michelle Marais; Andries Strauss and Alina Ntsiapane, Republic of South Africa (RSA), University of the Free State
2. Maria Noriza Q. Herrera and Phoebe B. Ricarte, Philippines

Graduate/ Early Career Professional - Individually
1. John Baptist W. Kabo-Bah, Ghana, University of Energy and Natural Resources
2. Awodele Stephen Olajide, Canada, University of Saskatchewan

Undergraduate - Team
1. Liuyue Yang and Junyi Jiang, Australia, University of Tasmania
2. Timothy Simic and Yin Stan Cheung, Australia, University of Sydney

Undergaduate - Individually
1. Allan Soo, Australia, University of Technology Sydney
2. Ruchir Mathur, India, Harya