Youth inclusion in agriculture value chain

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

West Africa Rural Foundation (WARF) and the Global Youth Innovation Network (GYIN) Gambia Chapter are jointly implementing a two-year project dubbed ‘agricultural value chain interaction platforms’ (AVIP) for youth and women.

 AVIP is an enhancement initiative with funding from the National Agricultural Land and Water Management Development Project (Nema), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the UN agency specialising in Rural Development, and the Government of The Gambia (GoTG).

The goal of AVIP is to contribute to the achievement of key Nema outcomes by establishing operational and functional women and youth-led organisations, with secured access to profitable local, regional and national markets.

Through the AVIP project, hundreds of young men and women are already benefiting targeting to enable them to realize increase yields in rice and vegetable production, through their effective and profitable participation in national and regional markets.

Producer organizations such as Youth Enterprises will have increase access to financial and non-financial services through improved interaction with other actors of selected value chain interaction platforms.

The resulting effect will be increased employment and revenue for youth and women from these interventions.

At the Dasilameh youth garden in the West Coast Region, Fatou Seckan is a vegetable producer  but has interest in marketing.

The garden is funded by Nema project with the ultimate objective of improving livelihood standard of young people in the community, and the garden is managed by them.

Ms Seckan told The Point Youth Forum that the business is a profitable venture, saying she has strong link with two bulk buyers at the Brikama market.

Nema/P2RS assistant monitoring and evaluation officer Paul Mendy said the AVIP concept is structured in a way that different actors in the rice and horticulture value chain are represented. He said that is encourageing their interaction in terms of production and marketing.

The project has put in place strategies to attract more youth involvement in agriculture, saying the project has a Capital Stimulation Investment Fund (CSIF) matching grant, which has been there since the launch and operationalization of the project implementation in 2012.

He said the Nema project marching grant stands at 45% in project contribution while 55% remain as beneficiary contribution.

He indicated that during the project’s mid-term review in 2018, project contribution changed to 60% while 40% remain as beneficiary contribution.

The project is looking at Information and Communication Technology (ICT), by relating it to marketing agro-products.

Mr. Mendy said the project will soon enter into an agreement with Farm Fresh, an online platform that sells local products online.

IFAD project also seeks to reduce rural poverty by improving household food security and income, especially of smallholder farmers, women and young people, in accordance with Government priorities and activities also focuses on agriculture and rural development, and aims to open up farm employment opportunities for young people.