Africa faces two interlinked challenges of youth unemployment and food insecurity. With the youngest unemployed population on the globe, Africa’s resources are being put pressure to sustain a growing but unproductive youth bulge. This is partly due to the percentage of African farmers over 60, and the fear they will soon not be able to grow enough food to feed the continent.
Our Solution- The Youth in Coffee Project
Agribusiness remains with untapped potential for youth employment as Uganda and East Africa climatic conditions are well suited for the production of coffee in large volumes. The Youth in Coffee project will catalyze the engagement of youth as critical players in the coffee chain.
If young farmers have access to the right training and services, they can grow and sell coffee to significantly boost their incomes. Then, through higher coffee earnings, youth can diversify their income sources, expand coffee production, and provide improved housing, healthcare and education for their families. Through promoting innovation in coffee cultivation and processing, the project will improve coffee yields and quality, modernize the Ugandan coffee sector, and unlock future employment opportunities for youth.
The project shall be implemented over a course of two years (2016 – 2018) targeting young people in Eastern Uganda.
The intervention will target active young coffee farmers and those desiring to start coffee businesses through:
Agribusiness Training: Good Agricultural Practices and Financial Literacy training will provide youth with the skills to help their parents improve household coffee yield and planning for coffee farming as a business.
Innovation: The initiative will promote innovation and innovative agricultural practices amongst youth who are often more willing to experiment with new promising agricultural methods.
Capacity Building for Enterprise Development: The initiative will also build skills to enable youth to start coffee businesses, particularly around agricultural extension and post harvest processing. This will include training in management skills, access to finance, collective marketing and a connection to a network of youth engaged in agribusiness.
Mindset Change: The initiative aims to rebrand the agribusiness sector as a pathway to meaningful youth employment and poverty reduction among youth. This will be achieved through campaigns, social media, and seminars that showcase opportunities in the coffee value chain.
In addition to creating jobs for young Ugandans, the project will result in:
- Increased engagement of young people in coffee as a business
- Innovation in the Ugandan coffee sector
- Young peoples’ ability to create meaningful employment in the coffee value chain
- Strengthened young people’s interest in coffee as a pathway to employment and improved livelihoods.
To measure the success of the initiative, both quantitative and qualitative data around individual perspectives on coffee as a business as well as most significant change stories will be collected and input into a cloud based platform for sharing with other young people. We will also continue to collect learnings about the impact on coffee, specifically monitoring increases in quality and quantity of coffee produced as well as increasing interest in coffee as business by young people.