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Young Farmers Champions Network.

We empower, finance and facilitate markets for the youth to engage into profitable and sustainable agriculture.

Photo of Tumwebaze Khamutima
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EXPLAIN YOUR IDEA

In Uganda where 400,000 youth enter the labor market every year to compete for only 90,000 available formal jobs and with population growth rate currently at 3.03%, the amount of job seekers are expected to triple to 48 million by 2040 yet Uganda's levels of youth unemployment are already high currently at 64% (UBOS 2012). With an economy that relies on agriculture for economic growth and food security, Uganda's path forward lies in creating economic opportunities in the agricultural sector for its rural youth. Our idea is to attract and engage youth into profitable and sustainable agriculture as a solution to youth unemployment in Uganda. We identify and engage youth through recommendations from community leaders and sign contracts with them to produce and sell to us. We then empower them with agricultural and institutional development skills, finance them with high quality farm inputs and buy their produce. Because youth continue to shun agriculture in Uganda due to lack of farming skills, capital and market, we change this by offering a solution that enables them access on-farm training in good agronomic practices, finance their production process by providing them with farm inputs and post harvest tools and buy from them after harvest at a price much better than the market price, store the bought produce and add value, sell when prices increase and make a profit which we reinvest the profits to recruit and engage more youth into farming business.

WHO BENEFITS?

Our target beneficiaries are youth aged between 15-35 years. We equip them with good agronomic practices, financial literacy, record keeping and group dynamics skills, finance them with farm inputs and buy their produce after harvest. This helps the youth to embrace farming since it addresses the major challenges youth who are engaged in agriculture are facing as lack of farming skills, limited access to finance and better market.

TELL US MORE ABOUT YOU

Young Farmers Champions Network is a company limited by guarantee without share capital working to create a generation of empowered youth agricultural entrepreneurs by creating jobs along the agricultural value chain through youth empowerment, agricultural financing and market facilitation.

WHERE WILL YOUR IDEA BE IMPLEMENTED?

  • Uganda

EXPERIENCE IN IMPLEMENTATION COUNTRY(IES)

  • Yes, for one year or less.

EXPERTISE IN SECTOR

  • I’ve worked in a sector related to my idea for over a year

HOW HAS YOUR IDEA CHANGED BECAUSE OF BENEFICIARY FEEDBACK?

Before beneficially feedback, we were selecting our beneficiaries through an on line application and we got feedback that this leaves majority of them out since most of the local youth rarely get information about such opportunities and we therefore decided to always engage community leaders to identify interested youth and engage them into our agricultural program. Beneficially feedback also helped us realize that for our model to be sustainable, we need to always have contracts with the farmers we engage since most farmers normally do not keep their word and end up selling to middle men as soon as after harvest or even before harvest hence the risk of losing since its the organization that financed them to produce and we have therefore incorporated it into our engagement with the target beneficiaries. Since majority farmers in Uganda depend on rain fed agriculture, the issue of who will lose when natural calamities destroy the crops came up and because of this, we have incorporated crop insurance into our idea so that as an organization we are safe and sure of sustainable production among the target beneficiaries.

HOW IS YOUR IDEA UNIQUE?

Most organizations that work to support youth in Uganda are not impact oriented, all they do is reach out to communities, get a big number of youth and undertake them into just a one or two days workshop and expect them to acquire the necessary skills to develop their enterprises which has proven unsuccessful. The uniqueness in our idea lies in our approach that addresses challenges that limit youth engagement into agriculture as a business as lack of farming skills, limited capital and lack of better markets by equipping youth with farming skills, financing them with farm inputs and buying their produce. We have also harnessed Information and Communications Technology innovations like WhatsApp where members share issues affecting their crops, animals and birds and we look for an expert to respond to their concerns. And unlike most youth organizations, our strength and uniqueness lies in our strong governance system that ensures transparency, efficiency, accountability and team work

WHY DO YOU THINK THAT THE PROBLEM YOUR IDEA SOLVES FOR HAS NOT BEEN SOLVED?

Uganda’s education system continues to produce job seekers than job creators. So far no reforms have been made for our education to produce youth with entrepreneurial mindset which has led to persistent rise of youth unemployment rates currently at 64% (UBOS 2012) and this is why we need more organizations like Young Farmers Champions Network that is working to bridge the gap by equipping the youth with necessary skills to become entrepreneurs and create jobs along the agricultural value chain.

WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR UNANSWERED QUESTIONS ABOUT THIS IDEA?

This idea is based on an assumption that once we make agriculture profitable, young people will choose it as a career path but we forget that our societies have already created a culture that agriculture is a last resort job, for the poor and a dirty business. Youth continue to shun it for white collar jobs that are less paying compared to agricultural potential and the biggest questions am asking myself are; 1. How to break these stereo types and make agriculture more profitable and appealing to the youth with my idea? 2. How to benefit a big number of youth in need of our support due to limited resources? 3. How to support those interested youth who have no access to land?

IS THIS IDEA NEW FOR YOU OR YOUR ORGANIZATION?

Yes, this idea is new to our organization because we started as a voice of youth in agriculture focusing on youth capacity building and advocacy for enabling policies for youth to engage into agriculture as a business but along the way, we came to learn that for us to create impact, we had to came up with a clear model that addresses youth challenges along the whole agricultural value chain as limited skills, lack of enough capital and better markets hence the idea of creating a Young Farmers Champions Network where we empower youth, finance them with high quality farm inputs, buy their produce, store them, add vale and sell when prices increase to earn a profit which we use to recruit more youth into our agricultural program.

WHO WILL IMPLEMENT THIS IDEA?

We have a strong organizational structure where roles and responsibilities of every position are clearly defined. This idea will be implemented through our structure as thus; The Chief Executive Officer will take the lead supported by the departmental managers as the Champions coordinator, business development manager, monitoring and evaluation manager, policy and advocacy manager and the Communication and ICT manger with support from the Finance and administration office.

HOW WE ENGAGE OUR BENEFICIARIES

Through community Leaders, we identify and engage youth aged between 15-35 years interested to be engaged into farming, sign with them contracts to produce and sell to us their produce at a price a bit higher than the market price. We offer higher prices because when we buy, we store the produce and add value by cleaning and sorting them and earn an additional profit.

We engage youth on not more than two acres of land at a cost of $1500 per youth including the money for individual trainings, farm inputs, crop insurance, buying, transportation and storage of the produce.

All the money we use to support the farmer comes back since we deduct the farm inputs costs at the time of buying, store the produce and add value and sell in times of scarcity and earn a profit.

We are currently working with 20 youth and we project to add more 5 youth for the coming season but with more resources, we are shall able to engage more youth since we have already determined the cost needed for every youth to be engaged into contract farming with us.

We engage the youth for only three years before they graduate to become champions, role models and our agricultural ambassadors in local communities.

We expect that by the end of the third year, our youth beneficiaries should have acquired good agronomic practices skills, built strong groups and generated enough money to buy inputs by themselves and sustain their production.

When the youth graduate, the money we have been using to support them is reinvested to support more youth interested in engaging into contract farming with us.

The graduates of our programs are later linked to the markets where we also sell produce so that they can sell to them directly but we also give them an option where they can still supply us with their produce so that we sell on their behalf and pay them when the buyer pays and the second option works better since we shall have built trust among the youth we have engaged for three years without fail.


SHARE ONE SENTENCE ABOUT THE IMPACT YOU WOULD LIKE THIS PROJECT TO HAVE FIVE YEARS FROM NOW, AND ONE QUESTION YOU NEED TO ANSWER TO GET THERE.

I would like to see improved livelihoods among the youth engaged in agriculture and to achieve this, we must work to address challenges that deter youth from engaging into agriculture as a business as lack of farming skills, limited access to finance and better markets.

MY ORGANIZATION'S OPERATING BUDGET FOR 2015 WAS:

  • Under $100,000

MY INTENDED BENEFICIARIES ARE:

  • Within 500 km of where our team does most of its work

HOW LONG HAVE YOU AND YOUR COLLEAGUES BEEN WORKING ON THIS PILOT PROJECT TOGETHER?

  • Between 6 months and a year

WHY ARE YOU INTERESTED IN JOINING AMPLIFY'S PORTFOLIO OF INNOVATORS?

My greatest interest in joining the Amplify Portfolio of innovators is to learn from experiences of fellow innovators and share my experience so that they can also learn something out of it. Am also looking for a network that can enable me get new ideas on how to make our organization more successful.
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Attachments (3)

USER EXPERIENCE MAP.pdf

User Experience Map

SOCIAL BUSINESS MODEL CONVAS- YOFCHAN.pdf

Young Farmers Champions Network Social Business Model Convas

YOUNG FARMERS CHAMPIONS NETWORK ORGANISATIONAL STRUCTURE...pdf

Young Farmers Champions Network Organizational Structure

9 comments

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Photo of William Lanier
Team

Hello Tumwebaze Khamutima and Young Farmers Champions and Ambassadors,
Do you think grain moisture testing to stop Postharvest loss like aflatoxin would be a skill youth could use to learn the Agricultural market place and be examples to other youth?

See <https://challenges.openideo.com/goto/challenge/youth-empowerment-challenge/jobs-for-youth-to-reverse-cereal-grain-postharvest-loss>

William
Jobs for Youth to Reverse Postharvest loss

Photo of Tumwebaze Khamutima
Team

Yes because produce are paid less money due to poor post harvest handling and i believe, equipping young people with moisture testing skills could help produce fetch better prices and in the end help them improve their livelihoods. 

Photo of William Lanier
Team

Hello  Tumwebaze Khamutima and Young Farmers Champions and ambassadors,
Thank you for the reply.
Should we exchange email and then user experience maps and
form a team to collaborate so the experts can see how our innovative team would help youth implement, learn and established business that reverse Postharvest loss like aflatoxin?

The moisture testing project believes aflatoxin indicates a very weak link in the East African grain value chain. 

William

Jobs for Youth to Reverse Postharvest loss

Photo of William Lanier
Team

Hello Tumwebaze Khamutima and Young Farmers Champions and Ambassadors,
William (NeverIdle) hopes you are doing well and wish to invite Young Farmers Champions and Ambassadors to the "1st All African Postharvest Congress and Exhibition (March 28 - 31) Nairobi" <http://africa-postharvestconference.uonbi.ac.ke/>. We hope to meet and discuss more about Moisture meters and testing to Reverse Grain Postharvest Loss."
Regards,
William

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