YOUTH IN AGRIC.

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Youth Agripreneurs Project – Call for sponsors

 

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This blogpost originally appeared on the GFAR website

It is our firm belief that youth are pivotal for the future of agriculture and the world’s food security.

As such, we are committed to integrate, stimulate and mentor youth through any of our projects. In GCARD3, the Third Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development, we will take any opportunity to live up to that commitment.

We want to use the upcoming GCARD3 global event to pilot a number of innovative projects and approaches. One of these projects is “YAP”, the Youth Agripreneurs Project. “YAP” is a pilot project targeting young agricultural entrepreneurs (“agripreneurs”).

Within “YAP” we want to select ten young agripreneurs from all over the world, and provide a seed fund to facilitate the startup of their project. During one year, we want to mentor them within their project by linking the youth with seasoned researchers and practitioners and integrating them in the YPARD (Young Professionals for Agricultural Development) mentoring program. We also want to train them on new ways to advocate and network using innovative communication tools.

“YAP” is a pilot project, a proof of concept. If successful, we want to refine and expand the project, combining the seed funding and mentoring program, to give youth a chance to realize their projects, and to give them a platform to showcase their projects. It is our hope this will inspire other youth and prove that agriculture and all its value added services ARE a viable, respectable, profitable business and livelihood.

To fund the “YAP” project, we are looking for sponsors who will collectively contribute to the seed fund, for a total of US$75,000.
This will be used to fund US$5,000 to each of the 10 selected agripreneurs’ project. An additional US$2,500/person will be used for their participation at the GCARD3 global event (travel and accommodation) to kick-start their mentoring and training program.
There is NO administrative overhead in this entire project. All funds are directly allocated to the young agripreneurs.
Potential sponsors can be institutes, organizations, private donors or companies.

Here are the full details of the “YAP” project.

Interested? More information and expressions of interest can be sent to Fiona Chandler (GFAR Secretariat): f.chandler(at)fao.org
And… act fast! By Feb 15th we will evaluate if we have the needed funding quorum to launch the public appeal for youth project proposals!

Background:
CGIAR (the Global Agricultural Research Partnership) and GFAR (the Global Forum on Agricultural Research) co-organize the global event of GCARD3 (the Third Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development) in April 2016. This event will be held in Johannesburg, co-hosted by the Agricultural Research Council of South Africa.
In cooperation with YPARD (the Young Professionals for Agricultural Development), we aim to fully integrate youth in the whole GCARD3 process and to showcase their crucial role in the future of agriculture.

Picture courtesy Vivian Atako (CCAFS)

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Youth: Six Things You Should Know about Agro Dealership

Fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, animal care medicines and many others are constantly needed in the farming sector. Not only do farmers need this crop protection products they also need inputs that are of quality and will meet their needs. And this indeed opens quiet a big door of opportunity for youth.

Alhaji Idris Musa, an agro-dealer representative in Karshi , FCT Nigeria

Alhaji Idris Musa, an agro-dealer representative in Karshi , FCT Nigeria

Agro-Dealers

Today, I am going to do a quick dive into what you should know about agro-dealership and areas where as young people we can tap into. First, you need to know who an agro dealer is:

An agro-dealer is someone, business organisation and sometimes cooperative society that engage in the sale and purchase of agricultural input. They usually have a valid registration certificate or license to carry out this activity as required by the law. They are usually also part of a union that governors activities of dealers

The agro dealer can either be a wholesaler or a retailer. The wholesaler buys directly from the manufacturer or sometimes an importer or suppler. They buy in large volume as sell to a retailer. The retailer is the one who buys from the wholesaler and is usually in direct contact with farmers and other consumers. The agro input sold fall into various types like fertilizers, pesticides, seeds and farm implements or equipment.

What Should You Know?
If you are thinking of venturing into agro dealership there are a couple of things you should know.
• There are different types of fertilisers, crop chemicals, farm implement and seed varieties. Thus it is important that you know what is needed and acceptable by your customers and provide them with the very best of quality inputs
• For those that will deal in fertilizers it is paramount you know about the nutrient value of different fertilizers and methods of conversion of nutrients to fertilizer material. It is also good to know the role of plant nutrients in crop production and what symptoms the crop show when the nutrient is deficient.
• An agro-dealer should also have knowledge of how to apply or use the inputs they sell. For example he/she should know the time to use an input, methods of application and quantity to be used
• A sound knowledge of marketing and sales is also important. As many products will come your way and you just have to sell and make profit.
• An agro dealer also needs to have knowledge of the local market and the demand of consumers. This would also involve understanding the farmers practice and noting where there are gaps so as to provide advice and inputs to meet their needs.
• It is a business so ensure to source input at good prices and quality.
Agro dealership requires both technical and business skills and if done properly can be profitable. The livelihood of many farmers also depends on what they get out of their farms. And the starting point for many is the kind of inputs they buy and how they use it. Thus been an agro dealer is a business of trust, integrity and the touching of lives when done properly. You will be on the path of helping farmers meet their needs and producing quality food and agricultural products. So when next you visit an agro dealer shop or you decide to open yours kindly have these in mind.

Watch Out For Part Two Of This Blog Post Where I We Would Learn More About The Functions Of An Agro dealer
RESEARCH SOURCE: MARKETING TRAINING MANUAL BY USAID NIGERIA AND IFDC

 

PHOTO CREDIT :Flicker/ GRM International

Five ways of engaging the youth in agriculture

BY Yared Mammo
Young peoples’ affinity with ICTs and their ability to innovate is the key to moving mAgriculture forward and attracting the youth to the agricultural sector in ACP countries.

mAgriculture, the use of mobile platforms and applications by agricultural smallholders, has been welcomed in developing countries since its introduction more than a decade ago. As the coverage of mobile networks increases in ACP countries, the discussion on introducing mobile applications in the agricultural sector has moved from ‘whether’ to ‘how’.

Mobile finance and value-added information services are an obvious and promising example of the many new mAgriculture initiatives. Indeed, mobile money has great transformative potential and could change entire economies in the ACP region if introduced broadly across sectors such as agriculture, commerce and health care.

The youth will play a major role in the further growth of mAgriculture as young people have a natural affinity with ICTs. Indeed, to a certain extent mAgriculture is banking on the youth to move it forward. But keeping young people, the next generation of farmers, involved in agriculture is an intricate problem and involves more than merely replacing old farmers with new. It is about rejuvenating smallholder agriculture as a whole, and accepting the youth as today’s partners and tomorrow’s development architects. Providing training and farm inputs is not enough to attract these young people to a career in agriculture. Rather, they should be supported with easy access to information and markets through the use of mobile technology.

Mobilizing the youth     

 
Many young farmers in developing countries are aware that agriculture can be a worthwhile business that could earn them a good livelihood. Still, many of them are leaving their families’ farms for an uncertain future in the city. ICTs are a way of changing this trend, according to Youth, ICTs and Agriculture, a report published in November 2013 by the non-profit foundation IICD (see box).

Efforts to improve ‘access to market information, production techniques, new technologies and financing opportunities’ are a start, but they should be complemented by seizing ‘the youth’s affinity for using ICTs, their capacity to innovate and their propensity for taking higher entrepreneurial risks’.
Another way of changing this trend it to change the perception of agriculture. In Ethiopia, for example, it has been more than half a century since agriculture was introduced as a topic of study at the university level. Yet students are still reluctant to join the agricultural sector.

Five areas of change    

Universities, governments and international partners must give smallholder farmers more recognition and support them by giving them better access to market information, developing tailored mobile applications and training farmers in their use. The youth will only be attracted to agriculture once smallholders tangibly improve their livelihoods and if policy makers, planners and professionals are the drivers of change. There are five main areas of focus.

  • First, the focus must shift away from the affordability and accessibility of mobile phones, networks and applications. The agricultural sector’s biggest problem is not a lack of resources. What it lacks, and what farmers need, are better ways of accessing markets to sell produce. And there are too few applications around that target farmers’ specific needs.
  • Second, a substantial part of the national budgets in African countries is spent on developing agricultural sectors, mostly by supplying farmers with improved seeds, fertilizers and information on how to use them. However, budgets are rarely allocated to the development of mobile applications that promote inclusive agricultural value chains.
  • Realistic budgets targeted at developing and rolling out mobile applications would transform smallholder agriculture by empowering farmers with knowledge related to their produce and putting them in better bargaining positions.
  • Third, even if smallholder farmers are given better seeds, fertilizers and other farm inputs, and even if they are given access to information on how to improve productivity, they can still only improve their livelihoods and contribute to global food security if they are able to sell their produce. Providing market information to farmers and securing their access to national and international markets should be a top priority in any mAgriculture government policy.
  • Fourth, farmers across the world have one thing in common: their information needs fluctuate according to the agricultural calendar, and according to global developments in agriculture. Understanding that these kinds of factors determine smallholders’ needs for knowledge and information is half the battle in developing mobile applications for agricultural information services. So to understand exactly how mAgriculture can work most effectively in given circumstances it is important to carefully analyse the information needs of all those in the agricultural value chain.
  • Take India, for example. For the past 30 years, the focus there has been on increasing farm productivity. Today, India’s agriculture has entered a post-green revolution stage and farmers’ demands for agricultural information have been changing and diversifying. Their main concern has shifted from higher farm production to higher and better returns on their investments. As a result, their interest has moved from technical information to market prices and information that could add value to their produce.
  • And fifth, resources need to be pooled so people can experiment with new support structures and different forms of partnership, such as public–private, public–private–NGO and private–private at the local, national, regional and international levels. For example, value-added applications can be developed by private individuals, students, university researchers, NGO staff and software solution firms.
  • These developers need to team up with traditional government services, such as extension services, marketing boards and the telecom companies, all of which have the capacity to scale-up the use of mobile applications, in particular in remote rural areas. These kinds of partnerships will ensure that we get the best of both worlds.

ICTs and young farmers in western Kenya   

Youth, ICTs and Agriculture based its findings on research in western Kenya. It examined how the use of ICTs in farming there affected the interest of youth in agriculture. The farmers interviewed were between 24 and 38 years old, 80% male and 20% female. Of these, 65% had completed secondary education and 15% had completed a degree at a college or university.

As many as 90% of those interviewed used ICTs on their farms. The ICT tools used most often were Excel and Word; the internet (computer and mobile); FrontlineSMS; video, radio and TV; and online newspapers, magazines and brochures.

One of the report’s most interesting discoveries was a difference in attitude towards ICTs and agriculture among single farmers and farmers who are married and have children. Single farmers initially view ICTs as a gateway to better jobs and employment outside farming, according to the report. Young farmers with families, on the other hand, immediately focus on using ICTs to improve productivity and profitability.

The report’s complete findings and recommendations can be found on  http://goo.gl/6bvWZy .

This article was first published in the May 2014 issue of  ICT UPDATE BY CTA

MD Farmcentre Africa Assists Young People in Poultry Management

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The Managing Director Farmcentre Africa Omonfuegbe Odianosen is assisting young people willing to go into poultry farming in the technicalities of the poultry farm management
He said this in an interview with Agropreneur Naija recently
He said that its important that young people learn how they can feed the nation and Africa as a whole

Odianosen said he made the right decision when he decided to go into agribusiness during his youth service

IMG-20140430-00164He said “In 2008, during my NYSC in the military barracks in Bauchi state, I fell in love with a Major’s wife’s poultry farm and she gave me some firsthand information I needed to get before setting up one. But I started full farming in 2010.Although my dad was working with the Ministry of Agriculture. But the passion growing up for livestock farming wasn’t there until 2008 in Bauchi state”

He continued by saying that he started his farm with 100k. “I was able to buy 200 birds with the 100k and my farm has grown to 1,650birds and we’re expecting close to 1,000 DOC at the moment.

He also said there have been challenges especially as banks don’t encourage agribusiness and the young people should not relent in their efforts to achieve their aims

The geography and regional planning graduate said youths should also avail and keep abreast of trainings and workshops both national and international as well as buying books and surfing the internet as that is some of the resources he uses to grow his farm

 

Read the full interview here

 

 

 

Agric Engineer uses ICT to provide support services to farmers

Yet again, BusinessDay Nigeria, sheds some light into my activities as a youth in Agriculture in the Wednesday 24th April 2014 edition of the newspaper. Spare a  few minutes and read below this piece by Yinka Alawode of Businessday

A young Chief Executive of Agropreneur Nigeria runs his family piggery farm and combines it with his knowledge of Agriculture and ICT to provide business support services to farmers.

Olawale Ojo has a degree in Agricultural Engineering from the Federal University of Technology Akure and a Diploma in Integrated Farming Systems from the Songhai Centre for Production, Training, and Research, Port Novo, Benin Republic.

His inspiration came after his course at the Songhai Centre, which served as an eye opener to him as he worked with other youths planning to launch agribusinesses.

He started Agropreneur Nigeria April 2012. The business provides business support services to farmers, especially young agriculturists. The firm also does advocacy and capacity building for young people. “We believe the future of the agricultural sector is in the hands of the youths when they take it as a business. So, we work on changing the mindset of young people and in turn provide information and business support to help them grow,” says Ojo.

To achieve this, Agropreneur Nigeria profiles successful young farmers called agropreneurs on the internet and share their stories so that others can learn. “That also serves as an incentive to these hardworking young people. We have also worked on agricultural research and share the information via social media to enable a proper understanding of what is happening in the sector,” Ojo says.

He explains that this business is targeted at the youths and it focuses on making agriculture attractive while at the same time introducing modern technology like ICT for agriculture and social media as a tool for knowledge and information sharing in agribusiness.

Agropreneur plans to have a considerable expanse of land separate from the family farm he runs, where youths can be trained in farming and can establish their own businesses. “We also want to engage rural areas by creating access to market for them and providing qualitative extension service for them, especially with the internet. I must say that a lot of youths are beginning to see that the agriculture sector is a gold mine,” according to Ojo.

 

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IFAD grant of US$1.95million to create opportunities for rural youth in West and Central Africa

CORY signed

Investing in rural youth is critical if they are to stay in rural areas and contribute to their development

Rome, 26 February 2014 – The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) will provide a grant of US$1.95 million to the Centre for Entrepreneurship Education and Development (CEED) to support creating opportunities for rural youth in West and Central Africa, beginning in Benin, Cameroon, Gambia and Nigeria.

Heather Spidell, President and CEO of CEED, and Michel Mordasini, Vice President of IFAD, signed the grant agreement today.

The global economic crisis has adversely impacted three key areas associated with sustainable development and affecting young people across the world: employment, enterprise and development funding. Youth constitute 70 per cent of Africa’s population and are keenly feeling the impact of the crisis. They face numerous challenges in their attempt to find decent employment, gain access to credit and create businesses. Many young people have creative ideas that could provide them with employment through enterprise development, but they lack the resources to realize their vision.

The aim of the new project is to enable young rural women and men to create sustainable farm and non-farm businesses by building their entrepreneurial capacities, through enhanced peer learning and access to complementary business development services. Young rural women and men, ages 15-35, who are involved in either agricultural production or activities associated with rural markets are the target group of this project. About 2,880 young agricultural entrepreneurs (“agripreneurs”) and 43,200 farm and non-farm rural young entrepreneurs would be trained, and 480 rural youth enterprises launched. In addition, 2,400 rural venture creation teams will be set up through which young entrepreneurs will be paired with mentors. Women will make up at least half of the participants.

From 26 to 28 February, a workshop will be organized at IFAD headquarters in Rome to review and finalize the implementation plan and key activities of this grant, including taking into account feedback on target country investment priorities. It will also be an opportunity for IFAD to learn and share experiences with the grant recipient (CEED) on rural youth operations.

The grant will be implemented by CEED with technical support of the Columbia Business School (CBS) and Susterra, Inc., as subrecipients. Key national implementing partners in each country and three major regional institutions (Songhai Center, Ecobank and the Africa Women’s Development Fund) will also be involved in the implementation.

IFAD PRESS RELEASE

Family farming: Growing Pineapple successfully(Pictures)

This is very thoughtful! very informative

Kalu Samuel's Blog

at the Pineapple Farm at the Pineapple Farm

This post is long overdue as I have always wanted to share ways of growing pineapple successfully on my family farm. I have wrote several blog posts in the past about having a pineapple plantation and doing a research on pineapple soils in my final year project. This blog post will share a step by step guide of growing pineapple successfully (with pictures), please enjoy your reading…

Pineapple is one of the most extensively researched tropical fruit crops. Many aspects of production have been mechanized, and commercial cultural practices are highly refined.
SOIL PREPARATION. Soil should be well tilled. Addition of animal manures improves tilth, increases soil potassium, and may improve micronutrient availability. If the soil is imperfectly drained, beds at least 20 cm (8 inches) high should be formed. Pineapple thrive well in well drained sandy soil.

PLANT POPULATION. Field plantings of pineapple are usually…

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