Tanzania youth Agripreneurs impress IITA DG
IITA DG Nteranya Sanginga expressed optimism over the efforts of the Tanzania Youth Agripreneurs and pledged to fully support them in their various enterprises. These include cassava processing, livestock feed production, rearing of poultry, rabbit, and fish, and vegetable production.
The DG was on a visit to the Eastern Africa hub in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, where as usual, he spends a day with the youth at their Center of Excellence to see their progress and the challenges.
He was accompanied by Victor Manyong, the Eastern Africa Hub Director; Regina Kapinga, Head of Advocacy and Resource Mobilization; Abass Adebayo, Value Chain Specialist; Eveline Odiambo, Regional Head of Finance and Administration; and Edith Kazimoto, Senior Human Resources Officer.
The youth shared the various challenges they were facing in their enterprises. These included lack of equipment needed for production of animal feed and cassava drying. They said they depended on solar drying for cassava and this posed challenges during the rainy season.
The DG pledged a donation of $10,000 to help them address the challenges and to boost their production. Manyong, on his part, said he would support the rabbit keeping enterprise to modernize its feeding operation and Abass pledged to support the youth to acquire a flash dryer valued at about $48,000 through a loan.
The DG was especially happy to see the group had gone into animal feed. He had challenged them to explore this opportunity during his last visit 6 months ago. The group informed him they had produced 1.5 tons of feed; chicken starter and chicken finisher for broilers. They also plan to produce feed for layers and local breeders.
The rabbit enterprise was also impressive; having started with only 20 rabbits less than 6 months ago to more than 200 rabbits today. Their major challenges were lack of equipment to produce rabbit feed and rabbit feeding cages, therefore the support from the hub director will address these challenges.
Recently, the TYA expanded to include other youth who are already running their own successful agribusinesses to mentor those who are just starting their enterprises. They in turn will benefit from the capacity building and networking opportunities.
Two of these youth, Abella Minis who sells eggs and pro-vitamin A maize flour, and Mundula Malozo who blends and sells orange-fleshed sweet potato and pro-vitamin A maize flour, were also present during the visit. They also exhibited their products and said they were pleased to link up with the TYA.
The team also visited a young agripreneur, Christa Muzanila, who had graduated from TYA and started her own agribusiness outside the Kwembe center. She is involved in chicken rearing and vegetable production in their family farm.
Words of encouragement
Sanginga advised the youth to consider legally registering their group and prepare competitive business plans in preparation for the implementation of the TAAT-ENABLE youth initiative of the African Development Bank.
The program will support youth engaged in agribusiness and will select two or three business plans within Tanzania to invest in with a starter pack that includes $15,000 as a grant and $5,000 as a loan as part of a revolving fund. The DG also advised them to link up with other organizations such as the International Potato Center for the value chain on orange-fleshed sweet potato.
He also appreciated the support from the hub management and scientists who were mentoring the group.
While giving closing remarks at the end of the visit, Manyong encouraged the youth to stay positive and to keep on growing and innovating.