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AGRF 2015: WALKING THE TALK ON YOUTH AND WOMEN (#AGRF2015)agrf-2015-header

Lusaka, Zambia
29th -2nd October 2015
Organizers: AGRF Partners Groups, Government of Zambia and Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA)

This year’s AGRF is themed: “Walking the Talk on Youth and Women: Bringing Inclusive Agricultural Markets to Life.” This is both timely and apt, as the continent seeks to make the prosperity inherent in agriculture-as-enterprise more inclusive for women and youth. To put this in perspective, Africa’s agriculture has the potential to generate all of the food that is currently imported, valued at US $ 35 billion per year.

This year’s theme was selected in direct response to a call by young people and gender-based organizations who attended last year’s Forum to dedicate a forum to discuss strategies for overcoming challenges affecting them.  We believe that for Africa to fully unlock the prosperity inherent in its agriculture, we must make its value chains work for men, women and youth. Africa must define clear strategies for increasing access to operational finance and to lucrative markets to enable youth and women engaging in agriculture as a business enterprise. This will in turn spur the growth of associated industries, with the net result being more shared prosperity for Africa’s men, women and youth – and a triple dividend of improved food security, increased incomes and employment creation.

Live Stream – http://www.agrforum.com/agrf-2015/livestream/

Gallery/Media – http://www.agrforum.com/agrf-2015/gallery-media/

Why an AGRF? – http://www.agrforum.com/agrf-2015/why-an-agrf/

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1st AFRICAN AGRIBUSINESS INCUBATION CONFERENCE AND EXPO

banneriinnerKenyatta International Convention Center (KICC),                                                 Nairobi, Kenya
28th -30th September 2015

Theme: Catalyzing the sustainable transformation of Africa’s agriculture through Agribusiness Incubation: towards job and wealth creation, food security and poverty reduction.

This conference aims to create awareness about the opportunities that are available in agribusiness incubation and agribusiness sector for start-ups, SMEs and established agribusiness ventures. This will play the role of a platform where exchange of information on best practices and lessons learnt in establishing both agribusinesses and incubators , improving agribusiness education including sharing the agribusiness curriculum developed by ANAFE will be shared. The Agri-Business Incubation Conference will provide a platform for knowledge sharing on agribusiness and incubation, will create networking opportunities for all the stakeholders in agribusiness incubation and build capacity of current and future incubation managers, policy makers and other agribusiness stakeholders . Overall, it shall also promote the African Agribusiness Incubation Network (AAIN) and its activities.

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Young people vouch for agriculture to fight joblessness

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Members of the Tanzania Youth Agripreneurs pose for a group photo as they prepare to plant vegetables in their greenhouse

8 August was  United Nation’s Youth day to create awareness on the importance of  engaging youth politically, economically and socially which is  essential for the achievement of  sustainable human development.  We speak to a few of the young people engaged in Agriculture at IITA to hear their  experiences and views on how to engage young people in agriculture and research.

VERONICA-KEBWE
Veronica Kebwe, chairlady of the TYA

“TYA members are now well equipped with agribusiness entrepreneurship skills. Currently we are producing/processing high quality cassava flour, soy milk/yoghurt, making various food products from cassava, growing tomatoes and providing weed management service through safe use of herbicides.

IITA support to Tanzania Youth

IITA is currently running a program to empower youth to use agriculture as a tool to tackle youth unemployment across sub-Saharan Africa through training and by supporting them to carry out various agribusinesses. The program, IITA Youth Agripreneurs, was launched in 2012 at IITA Headquarters in Ibadan, Nigeria. In Tanzania, the program started in January 2014 at IITA’s Eastern Africa hub in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and is supervised by Adebayo Abass, IITA’s Value Addition Specialist at the hub.

The group is currently engaged in processing soymilk, high quality cassava flour with the brand name Mpishi Mkuu, selling maize, and growing tomatoes. The group is also benefiting in participating in youth programs across the world, and members are exposed and linked with potential development actors within and outside the country.

IITA is also constructing a training center at a cost of US$1.5 million at Kwembe (about 25 km from Dar es Salaam City center) to equip the youth with skills in production and processing and running successful agribusinesses.

Get full article from IITA Blogs

THE #AgribizChats

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This is #AgribizChats: Facilitating solutions to youth unemployment.

The issue of youth unemployment has caught the attention of both the local and international bodies. Government, private and public institutions have come up with initiatives to tackle the menace. One of such initiatives is the IITA Youth Agripreneurs. The IITA Youth Agripreneurs (IYA) initiative was IITA’s contribution in stemming the tide of unemployment. IITA under the leadership of the DG, Dr Nteranya Sanginga believes that by reorienting youth towards more productive engagement in agriculture, unemployment will become history. Although involving youth in agriculture reflects hope for unemployed youth but there are several issues and challenges in achieving this. For suggestions and contribution in tackling these challenges, join us on #AgribizChats. This is a platform for facilitating solutions to youth unemployment through e-discussions.

What is #AgribizChats?

#AgribizChats is the first Twitter chat platform of IYA that will provide our audiences the opportunity to share and receive tips for topics relating but not limited to youth development and entrepreneurship most especially in Agriculture and Agribusiness.

How will the topics be chosen?

IITA Youth Agripreneurs will brainstorm and decide on the best topics to discuss at a particular period of time. We will also take into consideration at every time, feedback from all participants. The feedback would help in determining the topics.

How do I participate in #AgribizChats?

We enjoin you to be part of the conversation by following our official Twitter handle, @IITAYOUTHAGRIP. You will also get updates on the latest news and events about IYA. For questions and responses, tweet us on twitter hashtag:  #AgribizChats so you can be seen and heard.

Why should I participate in #AgribizChats?

As we continue to reorient youth towards active engagement in agriculture, the discussion will not be limited to the challenges faced by youths on unemployment, we would jointly proffer solutions to the problems surrounding these issues and other related issues. However, it is important for individuals, youth groups, organisations (local and international) and other stakeholders to get involved as joint discussions will help generate strong, important and useful ideas.

You have something to add to this article? Share it in the “comment box below”.

KEYNOTE ADDRESS BY THE MANAGING DIRECTOR, EKIMIKS NIGERIA LIMITED

Mr Tope Ekiyor Miriki
Mr Tope Ekiyor Miriki, Managing Director of Ekimiks Nigeria Limited delivering a keynote address

 

Good Morning distinguished ladies and Gentlemen. All protocols duly observed please.

We welcome you all to this Business Training Workshop jointly organised by Ekimiks and IITA. For us in Ekimiks, it is a great honour to be associated with the IITA Young Agripreneurs (IYA) initiative.

We are aware of the frightening statistics on youth unemployment in Nigeria and Africa at large, the IYA initiative is one of many solutions that would help to reduce this menace. The IYA is collaborating with other initiatives including the recently launched Youth Employment in Agriculture Program (YEAP) to ensure that the youth are given the necessary opportunities to exit the unemployment queues and excel as Business Owners.

The newly coined term “Agripreneur” we all know, is a combination of 2 words – Agriculture and Entrepreneur. It implies that those fit this description have the required competencies in both Production and Entrepreneurship.

We trust that IITA with its vast array of Agricultural Scientists and Experts has been able to train the IYA members in the best Agricultural Practices. However to be a true Agripreneur, each one must have the essential Business Management skills that would enable them not only to survive but to thrive and excel as Entrepreneurs. We know that all business is tough – business survival ratio is less than 50%, but Agriculture is even tougher than others. Therefore, it is vital that our Youth Agripreneurs are adequately prepared so they would excel – not only in the Technical aspects but in the Business aspects too; hence the need for a Business Training forum.

As a company founded by a young entrepreneur many years ago, Ekimiks chose to sponsor the Business Management training aspect of the development of the young Agripreneurs. It is our own little contribution to the efforts of IITA and the Honourable Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina in ensuring that young Nigerians and Africans are effectively equipped for 21st century living.

The objective of this workshop is to bring high grade Business Management education like those obtained in the best Business Schools to our young Agripreneurs. The curriculum has been carefully designed and it covers all major areas that an Entrepreneur needs to develop the necessary proficiencies.

I therefore, urge all the participants to take full advantage of the workshop; pay attention, learn, write notes, ask questions, participate in discussions. Opportunities like this are not commonplace – please use it well.

We thank our invited guests for honouring our invitation. Many of them are accomplished Agripreneurs – Role Models that the young ones would do well to learn from and follow their examples.

We thank IITA for the opportunity to partner with them in this very laudabke project.

We thank the Training Consultants – LA Consult for their role in designing and facilitating this program. We trust that they would deliver the quality education that they are reputed for.

Thank you all and do have a great program.

AN OBSERVER’S THOUGHTS ON THE YOUTH AGRIBUSINESS DEVELOPMENT INITIATIVE #YADI14

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To get youths involved in agribusiness as a tool for empowerment and economic development is a great idea which we have been anticipating for quite some time now. Looking at the challenges facing Africa , especially unemployment, food insecurity, poverty, rural-urban migration and insecurity, agribusiness stands as a viable solution to solve these challenges.

However, despite these challenges, Africa has some of the most arable lands for agriculture in the world, the number of young people in Africa is more than 200 million and it is expected to double by 2045 (World Bank 2011a) and these young people if well motivated and directed, have the potential to change the economic outlook of the continent while eradicating some of our problems.

It is therefore evident that IITA – AGRA’s project; Youth Agribusiness Development Initiative is a positive development and one of the best economic directions for Africa.

WHAT TO EXPECT

Solutions… Lots of innovative solutions!

From establishment and advancement of agricultural vocations training centres, to back stopping rural enterprise development and initiation of products and technologies that attract youth.

From creation of a network of educated and motivated young-entrepreneurs around rural agribusiness hubs, to mobilization of energies of skilled youth as service providers to large farming communities and orientation of youth towards value adding chains possible in agribusiness.

Also expect brainstorms, deliberations, breakout sessions, networking, arguments and counter-arguments, which will excite your imagination towards proffering sustainable solutions, which will be championed by emerging young African ‘agripreneurs’.

GOING FORWARD

At the end of the conference we look forward to the cementing of old relationships, forging of new partnerships, creation of new enterprises around agribusiness, development of new concepts, emergence of innovative ideas and onward implementation of solutions proffered; which will expectedly spearhead the drive towards a gain fully engaged youth population on our continent and in the world.

Finally, will you stand up to be counted as Africa along with the world take bold steps, towards making our world a better place? If yes, follow, share and support #YADI14.

Blogpost by  Tayo Ajayi, HIVE Initiative and a social media reporter for the #YADI14