Tanzania: New generation of horticultural entrepreneurs
In Tanzania, the youth accounts for the majority share of the population. Each year more than 1 million young people graduate from tertiary education. However, not all students will be enrolled to formal jobs, a good number of graduates are left unemployed. On the other hand, agriculture sector is the key driver of the Tanzania economy, major source of employment to more than 70% of the population and forms a significant contribution to the national income.
Despite the great potential of the sector to contribute to self-employment, most youth shy-away from agriculture due to various reasons including the perception that agriculture is extremely painstaking, not a lucrative activity and should only be considered when all options are exhausted. Access to technology, innovations, skills and knowledge has the potential to make agriculture fun and appealing to youth. Also collaborative efforts from stakeholders to assist youth on setting up good business cases through practical skills, mentorships, peer-peer learning and access to markets will be a step further.
Research Centre pioneering youth horticultural transformation
To tackle youth challenges in Tanzania, the World Vegetable Center established a special program on youth focusing on horticulture with the name of Nipo Tayari kwa Ajira literally means “ready for employment”.
The program was designed to stimulate entrepreneurship among youth and enhance their employability with a special focus on women. Young entrepreneurs within the program receive support through business and social skills development, mentoring and local coworking spaces, incubators and innovation labs. The programme also targets to link up young entrepreneurs with interested investors to unlock access to finance.
The program later matured into a viable business case and changed its name to VIABLE as abbreviation for Tanzania Vijana Agribusiness Enterprise. VIABLE was officially registered in April 2022 pulling 19 youth graduates from different professions driven by passion for agriculture.
A like-minded youth initiative that aspires to bring talent, energy and fun into agriculture sector. Since horticulture has a short production circle with lots of opportunity within the chain that requires minimal investment, this group decided to join hands and use the skills and knowledge acquired at school to form a business. The group is currently focused on horticultural produces (fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices) from production, value addition and marketing.
The group aspires to grow and become a leading international company that supplies safe and high-quality products and advisory services.
Visit of Ambassador
In October, VIABLE had the privilege to be visited by the Netherlands ambassador to learn on the activities, challenges and impact these youth are making in the sector. During this visit, a productive discussion was held, reviling ambition, vision and challenges of this youth group.
Value addition as one of the core business, range of innovative products were made. The group has secured some supply contract and is working hard to increase production and value addition to increase the market share by reaching to many Tanzanians. Inspired and motivated team of youth has succeeded to bring energy, talent and fun into agriculture.
To see many of the products and order visit https://www.instagram.com/tanzania_viable/ .
For more information about the Youth program in horticulture and World vegetable center contact Dr. Gabriel Rugalema via firstname.lastname@example.org .
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