The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) confirms closure by end of 2020.
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Youth

Promoting Youth Entrepreneurship and Employment through Access to ICTs and Business Development Services

Proudly Agripreneurs! Learning from 24 young African business leaders

© CTA

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This booklet highlights key elements of the publication Ils l’ont fait ! published by CTA in collaboration with MediaProd from Burkina Faso, which outlines the achievements of 24 entrepreneurs that have been featured by Agribusiness TV.

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Four young Ghanaians armed with technological insight and passion, are making it their mission to revolutionise agriculture in their country. The group, that met in 2018 during an innovation challenge competition, pooled together to form one of Ghana’s youngest agritech companies focusing on maximising greenhouse farming efficiency through innovative solutions.

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The Salon International de l’Agriculture et des Ressources Animales (SARA) – the international exhibition of agriculture and animal resources – is one of the biggest agricultural events in West Africa. The most recent exhibition, held in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, from 22 November to 1 December 2019, ran under the theme "Smart agriculture and technological innovation: What prospects for African agriculture?" At the event, CTA awarded two digital solutions in the first-ever Agreen Start-up competition.

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According to Livestock Research for Rural Development (LRRD), dairy farming is the single largest sub sector of agriculture in Kenya. Kenya’s dairy sub sector contributes about 8% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) with an annual milk production of 3.43 billion L. Although smallholder Dairy farmers make up to 80% of total dairy producers and produce 56% of total milk in Kenya, they are constrained by factors including low technical skills on husbandry practices and lack of reliable statistical information on milk market outlets.

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"The Digitalisation of African Agriculture Report, 2018-2019" reveals that the uptake of D4Ag solutions among women in sub-Saharan Africa is low. Though up to 50% of farmers there are women, D4Ag registration among them is approximately 25%. However, at least one young woman is changing the narrative by not only using but creating a digital solution to promote food security. Caroline Pomeyie is co-founder and CEO of ProFish Ghana Limited, a start-up with huge potential to transform the fishing industry.

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Trackball Global Technologies is one of Nigeria’s newest D4Ag companies. Founded in 2019, Trackball provides ICT solutions. Through its e-learning platform, AgriCo, entrepreneurs in urban areas learn best practices for growing crops and rearing animals from the comfort of their homes with interactive online classes tutored by experts in agriculture.

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This interpretative phenomenological research focuses on youth-led companies offering digital services to the agrifood sector in West Africa. Youth is considered as per the African Union definition: individuals aged between 15 and 35 years old. Research questions were to understand the business models adopted by these start-ups; how their business models and business model innovation lead to business success; other key drivers that can support the achievement of success.

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The Innovative Cooperative for Optimal Nutrition (ICON) was launched in March 2018 in Burkina Faso by 16 Ashoka fellows, with the aim of supporting the consumption, production and trade of local, highly nutritious food products through a new collective brand. Its Director General Lamisse Kandil looks back at the efforts made to establish the ICON Africa label as a guarantee of health and nutritional quality and a model for sustainable development.

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They say that the future belongs to the young. In Africa, the future of the continent’s agriculture almost certainly belongs to its youth. More than 60% of Africans are under 25, and every year, 10-12 million young people enter the job market in search of employment. Vast numbers work in farming in rural areas – agriculture employs almost 70% of the population – but the prospect of higher wages and a more secure livelihood is driving urban migration for many others.

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One in four businesses generally fail before their second year, and half do not survive beyond the fifth year; a situation experienced by many youth-led agri-enterprises in Kenya. This is a concern in a country which has a very young population coupled with a high youth unemployment rate. Economically viable agribusinesses could help to address this challenge; thriving youth-led agribusinesses are vital for job creation, make agri-enterprises attractive to the youth and hence could contribute towards alleviating youth unemployment in Kenya.

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In the Pacific islands, where the population is expected to double by 2050, there is an urgent need for youth to become entrepreneurial and creative risk-takers to help develop innovative, and environmentally sustainable, agricultural economies. But, although more than half of the South Pacific population (10 million) is under 25 years-old, these young people are experiencing problems in entering both formal and informal labour markets. Each year, 16,000 highly skilled Pacific islanders leave their countries for better paid jobs.

The AgriHack Talent initiative is one of the CTA’s best-known projects, particularly through its AgriHack Pitch start-up support programme. We take a look back on this initiative, which, over the course of just a few years, has succeeded in bringing together agriculture, entrepreneurship and new technologies.