How To Promote Youth-Led Agribusiness Society
THE Youth Farm (YFarm) Project was launched during a National Stakeholders Meeting in April, last year, with the aim of establishing and promoting at least 10,000 youth-led farms and agri-businesses across Africa by 2020, as well as promoting a youth-led agric society to reduce poverty and increase active youth participation in sustainable agriculture by the year 2020.
On Monday (March 16, 2015), the first edition of the National Youth Agric Festival was held as a day to celebrate young farmers and stakeholders in agriculture under the YFarm Project with endorsements from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, African Youth Initiative on Climate Change (AYICC), and support from Oxfam, Trust Africa and Golden Penny, in Abuja.
The festival hosted over 200 youths and Agric Stakeholders including representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Agric/Research organisations, YEAP, Nagropreneurs and members of the Diplomatic community.
From its unique approach, Yfarm aims to draw young people out of poverty into sustainable agriculture and closer to God. The organisation of the first edition of the African Youth Agric Festival, held in Nasarawa last year was indeed an indication of things to come; especially with the level of support got for the festival from partners including the African Union Commission, Federal Ministry of Agriculture, UNDP, UNWomen, among others.
Barr. Nkiruka Nnaemego, the Executive Director and Founder of the Fresh and Young Brains Initiative (FBIN), and organiser of the YFarm Project, explains, “The Project adopts a two-pronged approach of promoting youth-led farms/agribusiness and highlighting the benefits of farming for sustainable livelihoods. Through the ‘YFarm: My Farm, My Swag’ Campaign, the YFarm Project aims to change the poor image of young persons involved in agriculture as poor and illiterate, and promote them as nagropreneurs and agribusiness experts.”
Thus, the YFarm marketplace celebrated and showcased youth-led agribusinesses, awards that celebrated five ‘outstanding agropreneurs’, the launch of a compendium of youth-friendly policy framework on sustainable agriculture and an agribusiness clinic, where discussions and interactions were held on digital jobs, challenges, success stories and opportunities for youth in agriculture and other activities.
“Currently, we are working on the establisment of the YFarm Incubation Centre for African Youths in Agribusiness, endorsed by the Ministry of Agriculture. We recently received a seed grant approval from the African Union Commision and the UNDP to establish the Incubation Centre in Nigeria. FARA also indicated interest to support the centre,” Nkiru said.
She said there are two YFarm groups: YFarm Males and YFarm Females in Agribusinesses, launched on September and November 2014 respectively. She added that 20 pioneer YFarm females represented Nigeria at the Females in Agribusiness and Transformative Leadership Training, organised by the African Union Commission, UNDP, UNWomen/ACTIL from November 9th – 15th, 2014, in Nairobi, Kenya.
On return from the Kenyan training, the 20 YFarm Females registered the YFarm in Nigeria Females Agribusiness Cooperative to start a food processing plant, which will be hosted in the Incubation Centre, Nkiru said.
According to Nkiru, four of the YFarm Females and Males have been selected to attend the MASHAV Agribusiness Training on Economic Empowerment of Women, organised by the Isreali Government and UNWomen in Haifa, Israel in April 2015.
Furthermore, the project has developed the YFarm Organisational and Development Outreach Programme which is scheduled to begin in Mpape, Abuja on April 15, to reach out to small-holder farmers and fast-track the achievement of the project’s target of establishing and creating at least 10,000 youth-led farms and agribusinesses.
Also, the YFarm Online Certificate Course in Agribusiness, Value Addition and Value Chain will be hosted online in April to empower young farmers and Agropreneurs on sustainable agriculture.
“AYICC has accepted to co-host the 2nd edition of the African Youth Agric Festival with the UN System and African Union during the African Youth Conference on Climate Change (AfriYOCC) in Ethiopia from June 3rd – 5th, 2015 to celebrate the World Environmental Day,” Nkiru added.