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Section I - General Rules

Undergraduates, graduates, and early career professionals are invited to write an essay that addresses this global 
"How can the sustainability, productivity, and market access of smallholder sugar cane farmers be improved?"
  • Why is there an urgency to address these issues for smallholder farmers?
  • How will solving these challenges benefit them? In your plan, what would the future look like for smallholder sugar cane farmers?
  • What stands in the way of implementing your plan?
  • What short-term action steps are needed to achieve your goal? What longer-term actions are required?

  1. Competitors may submit entries Independently or as a team of up to 4 students or early career professionals.
  2. Competitors are challenged to form an original vision and opinion on the issue "Food for the Future: How can the sustainability, productivity, and market access of smallholder sugar cane farmers be improved?" and present a solution to the problem.
  3. Submissions will be judged on creativity and inspiration, feasibility and realism.
  4. The competition is divided into two categories: written essay, and from the best 20 essays, a 5-minute video pitch.
  5. If chosen as a finalist, competitors must produce an original 5-minute video pitch of their solution.
  6. IFAMA is granted permission to publish the essay and the video pitch.
  7. All entries must be received by the Essay Chair: Gerry Kouwenhoven, Inholland University: by midnight CET, September 30, 2020.  

Section II - Qualifications of Competitors

The Essay Challenge is open to all undergraduate and graduate students of universities (Universities or Universities of Applied Sciences) and early career professionals.

Section III - Written Essay Competition Rules

  1.  Each entry must begin with a title page containing the theme: “Food for the Future,” number of words, writer’s name, e-mail address, address, phone number; for students: university name and graduation date; for young professionals: organization, and title.  Failure to provide a cover page with all contact information will result in a disqualified entry.
  2. Essays must be formatted in Times New Roman, 11 pt, and 1.5 line spacing.
  3. Essays must contain 2,000 words or less, and include an additional section with bibliography, footnotes identifying non-original material or title and author information. This additional section is not counted in the 2,000 word limit.
  4. Competitors may add a royalty-free illustration to reflect the mood of the essay.
  5. After the title page, number each page consecutively. Center the numbers at the bottom of each page.
  6. Any quotation or copyrighted materials used in the essay must receive proper citation. Failure to identify non-original material will result in disqualification.
  7. No reference can be made in the essay that will identify the submitter(s) beyond the listing of the name on the title page.
  8. Essays must be written in English.
  9. All essays must be accompanied by an Application Form. Please complete the form and email it to: Gerry Kouwenhoven, Essay Chair, Inholland University: by midnight CET, September 30, 2020. 
  10. All submitting competitors (or teams) will be notified by: October 31, as to whether their essay advanced to the finalist round. 
  11. Finalists will finalists will receive comments from the reviewer team and have 10 days to revise the essay and produce the 5-minute video pitch. November 1- 10th.

Section IV - Scoring of  Written Essay Contest

  1. Originality: 25 points
  2. Inspirational: 25 points
  3. Feasibility: 25 points
  4. Realism: 25 points
  5. Interpretation of the subject, adherence to topic: 25 points
  6. Vocabulary and style (phrasing and continuity), grammar, punctuation, spelling: 25 points

Section V - Video Pitch (only the 20 best)

  1. The video pitch must address the central theme of the essay in 5 minutes or less.
  2. Entries must be produced in English. 
  3. Entries must not violate any copyrights or trademarks, including music used in the video. Applicant must have consent and credit the music or it must be the applicant’s original music.
  4. Video entries must be received no later than midnight CET, November 10, 2020.
  5. Videos must be uploaded with a private link to YouTube. Send your entry form, CV, and your private video link to Essay Chair Gerry Kouwenhoven at

Section VI - Judging 

Judges are comprised of representatives from the sponsoring organizations, researchers, entrepreneurs, policymakers and experts from the agrifood sector.

Section VII - Scoring of the Video Pitch

Videos will be scored using the following criteria.

  1. Logical Interpretation and adherence to the topic: 25 points
  2. Originality: 25 points
  3. Innovation and Creativity: 25 points 
  4. Visual Esthetics: 25 points

Section VIII - Online Finals

Winners will be announced at the online session on November 25-26, 2020. More information TBA.

    Section IX - Awards

    1. Awards:  To be announced.
    2. Winning entries and videos will be featured on the IFAMA’s website. The top 20 essays will be published in a digital online collection: “Food for the Future.”
    3. Invitation to participate in the IFAMA2021 Conference in Costa Rica and participate in a Roundtable discussion on this topic.



    The IFAMA2020 Essay Competition is hosted by:

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