Students were invited to challenge and discover more about agriculture at Monsanto’s DEKALB Agricultural Innovation Camp in Turkey
Onur Camili, Commercial Lead for Monsanto Turkey
The second Monsanto DEKALB ‘Agricultural Innovation Camp’ was organised in May 2018 with cooperation of the Monsanto’s partnership with the Junior Achievement (JA) Award — Europe’s largest provider of education programmes for entrepreneurship — and my team in Turkey.
We held the first Agricultural Innovation Camp in Turkey last year, where we aimed to lead the younger generation to think about the current and future challenges in agriculture. There was a high demand and good participation from many high schools to this organisation. We organised the second camp in Izmir, in Turkey, this year. And I encouraged 10 colleagues from various departments to volunteer. In total, 100 students from different high schools and 10 students from different universities attended.
In my opening speech of the day, I emphasised the importance of agriculture and the importance of technology in the future to make it sustainable. At the event, there were also agricultural entrepreneurs who gave very important speeches regarding agricultural innovation and shared their vision with this young talent.
At the beginning of the day I realised that most of the students were not very interested in working in agriculture. This is a general problem in Turkey that young people are moving away from agriculture and working on the soil.
After the speeches, we gave students a specific topic to solve. Students competed in different working groups and they prepared their projects with the help of Monsanto employees during the day. My colleagues supported each team during their studies by sharing their knowledge and experience regarding the ideas produced by the students. Following their team work exercise and idea-development stages, the students prepared work plan offers for the implementation of these projects and made a presentation to the jury members.
I was a jury member in this event and for me it was an amazing feeling to see young students creating ideas and solutions for agriculture with such enthusiasm and passion. At the end of the day we voted on the ideas and presentations to choose the best work plan, innovativeness, creativeness, presentation and team spirit. Then we awarded the first three winners with different prizes.
I am confident that we reached our aim to create awareness among high school students about agriculture and motivate them to create innovative ideas to bring our future forward. We also encouraged them to create a team spirit and think innovatively. I believe that each step taken by the young generation in agriculture is extremely important for our future.
After the camp, I observed that after thinking about agricultural solutions for a whole day, students realised that agriculture needs technology. They discovered the importance of agriculture and had more interest by the end of the day.
My team of Monsanto volunteers shared with me their satisfaction after the event because they also learned a lot and had a chance to see students’ point of view to our business. We are very proud of this achievement and we will be looking forward for the next organisation to meet new students and share our professional knowledge to help them develop.