This blog post is co-authored by Rashid B. Malya and Janet Maro.
We are so grateful to be directly involved in the Sustainable Agricultures training program for youth in Tanzania. Great thanks to the Sunrise Children's Home of Uhekule Village and Sustainable Agriculture Tanzania (SAT) in Morogoro for rolling out the Attract Youth to Agriculture program. We also thank the MasterCard Foundation for the financial support to this program.
Aim of the cluster
Our cluster aims at making the youth active in agriculture by ensuring that they are introduced to entrepreneurship as they are trained on the following:
some important technical aspects of poultry keeping;
basic life skills and environmental conservation methodologies which can provide youth with employment opportunities;
basic vegetable production techniques and some practical food value addition,
Practical entrepreneurial activities including bean production.
The impact of our activities
Through our activities, the youth are imparted with agricultural and entrepreneurial knowledge -this to us is good start-up capital. With the knowledge imparted, the young participants can develop business ideas in any area of agricultural interest since they trained in all the imperative agricultural aspects. The participants have trained in poultry keeping as well as vegetable production. Even more importantly, they are educated on value addition and entrepreneurial activities like fruit drying, vegetable drying, tree nursery establishment, sustainable charcoal making as well as soap making. Since the SAT Farmer Training Centre is ideal for theory sessions and practical, all these training sessions were practical, youth learned by doing in a camp.
In July 2017, our team prepared a bean business idea in Njombe since the region favours bean production. To help implement this good business idea we were awarded a startup capital of TZS. 550,000 to start the bean production. Members of the crew are now good ambassadors of agriculture to their peers in their villages and Tanzania at large.
Securing funds to benefit more youth in a wide scope is a real challenge. The financial provision of the Youth Savings and Lending is one of the capital solutions to the youth of Tanzania but cannot be applied without group formation and the whole group having that knowledge. If we had not teamed up, there would have been no financial resource to rollout our kind of activity.
Lessons learnt from this experience
We have come to know from this engagement that the youths perception of agriculture is improved as they regularly share their ideas and discover more innovative agricultural practices. We also got know that shaping, mentoring and modeling the youth is paramount for the development of the agribusiness sector. The youth cannot change easily without training in basic life skills . This will make them good role models in the society: ambassadors of positive change.
The way forward
We believe this impact will be further advanced as we follow-up on the youth to ensure that they practice the skills they built in this training program. It would even be more interesting to further build the capacity of the participants. Facilitating networking among the youth using ICT is also another good activity to explore to ensure take their idea into action. Expanding the scope of the youth program in Tanzania is really needed so that beneficiaries can be increased.