Tanzania is one of the fastest growing economies in Sub-Saharan Africa and spends a higher than average percentage of its GDP on education. This rise and expenditure on education, unfortunately, has not corresponded to the rapid creation of new jobs and an abundance of well-educated young people to fill them.
According to latest statistics, Tanzania has the 10th largest youth population in the world. There are 22 million people under 25 living in Tanzania, 47% of them are under 15. Tanzania’s child bulge will transform into youth bulge in the coming years. This is due to excellent work in recent years to increase welfare and decrease child mortality.
The unintended consequence is that every year 900,000 young Tanzanians, between the ages of 15 – 35, entering a job market that is only generating 50,000 to 60,000 new jobs. This is further compounded by the fact 75% of Tanzania’s population is rural/agriculturally based while Agriculture only contributes to a third of Tanzania’s GDP. This gap between rural and urban is of key relevance. In the Integrated Labour Force Survey of 2014 it showed that national youth unemployment was 11.7%. The unemployment rate for Dar es Salaam, the main city, was 28.8% while rural areas was 8.2%.
We at DeFEA, using our experience in agriculture, strategic and business planning and social science, have come up with an idea which uses the latest technology and utilising the current global economy to provide entrepreneurship opportunities to the youth of Tanzania.
Using Aquaponics, we will grow Moringa, a high value medicinal and nutritional plant, for the export market, where its high revenue stream will subsidise the sale of fish, Tilapia, at an affordable price for rural and peri-urban households in Tanzania. White-protein (both fish and chicken) has been found to be vital food source for rural households. The subsidised fish will be sold through youth led cooperatives.
The low price of the fish will act as an incentive for the coming together of youth-led cooperative to generate an income. With proper structure in place and training given these youth cooperatives can act as a Market Chanel for small scale farmers. This will link the rural small scale farmer with the high value urban market. This will link the efforts of the rural youth with the entrepreneurship capabilities of the urban unemployed youth.
Data from the 2010 Tanzania Demographic and Health Survey was analysed to understand the association and difference in fish and meat consumption based on geography, household wealth, and degree of food insecurity. Rural households within the poorest wealth quintile consumed fish on average almost three times more frequently than meat during the week before the survey. Rural households that experienced food insecurity in the previous year were more dependent on fish than meat. These findings suggest that poorer and more food insecure depend more strongly on fish as a protein source. This food source is at risk due to climate change and overfishing.
Our customer in Tanzania consumes 7 kg of fish annually which contributes to 20% of their protein intake. Inland fishing accounts to 85% of production making the effects of climate change on lakes a great threat. The three species consumed the most are Perch, Tilapia and Sardine. The production of Tilapia will have no effect on consumption pattern as it already is a widely consumed fish species in Tanzania at 19,123.85 tons per year. It has a retail price of $1.8 - $2.7 per kg. Data is from the Ministry Of Tanzania and Food Tech Africa.
The global market for Moringa products is estimated at over US$4 billion a year. Moringa leaf powder is used as a dietary supplement and wholesale prices for Moringa leaf powder range from US$ 5 - 12 per kg. (CJP, 2013). 80% of organic Moringa leaf powder is thrown away due to poor SPS measures by farmers. (Q&A with potential buyers.)
Our idea evolves around a youth cooperative. To get it right in the beginning we have identified a number of ways to recruit early adopters into the cooperative. The Government of Tanzania Vocational Education Training Authority (VETA) has been contacted to help us identify youth with leadership qualities who can be taken on board.
We have been in contact with a number of local NGOs to discuss other aspects of the idea. Farm Africa, showed interest in and would partner subject to passing their strict due diligence process.
The initiative will take place in 3 phases:-
Phase I: Build an Aquaponics facility to produce Moringa and Tilapia.
Phase II: Form a youth-led cooperative to promote entrepreneurship
Phase III: Work with youth in cooperative to sell fish and promote the acquisition of other Principals to use the youth coorperative as a Market Chanel.