By Elias Hakizimana.
Rwanda youth in Agribusiness forum will soon benefit from the new joint partnership with Development partners to boost their businesses which, according to sources are currently facing challenges.
The initiative aims at easing agribusiness for sustainable development whereby youth will be enabled to improve incomes and livelihoods.
Different institutions including AgriProFocus Rwanda, Rwanda Youth in Agribusiness Forum (RYAF), Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources, Help a Child, USAID Feed the Future Hinga Weze among others will contribute effectively in helping youth who are in agribusiness to address some issues including lack of enough capital to extent production capacity and access to markets.
Ephrosine Niyidukunda Mugeni, one of youth who is an agri-preneur in Avocado oil processing from Huye District currently struggles to increase the capacity of oil produce due to lack of enough funds to buy more performing machines.
Since only two years of operation, she only got a support of Rwf 3 million from Youth Konnekt last year 2017 and she used it to buy two machines from Holland.
She says she faces a challenge of low productivity due to lack of a machine with high production capacity.
The machine would cost € 3,340 as she told The Inspirer in a detailed interveiew.
“low production is my major challenge to date. Currently, I can produce 2o litters of cooking oil per week. I can even produce more than 100 but I do not have that capacity,” Mugeni says.
The young entrepreneur says she had a market contract with one of local hotels but failed to supply them because of shortage of produce.
“I wish that the government and RYAF help us get loans from banks by telling them to accept our requests of loan applications. My own challenge is small capital and I need machines,” she adds.
Daniel Kwizera, another young man who add value to ginger by transforming it into juice and wine still faces the problem of market.
“We need that they link us with local authorities for not questioning our products, we are in the process of standards certification requests and we need to market our products,”
Jean Baptiste Hategekimana, the chairman of RYAF who was recently elected to lead African youth in agribusiness says that RYAF will continue to jointly partner with other entities and development partners to tackle all the challenges facing the youth in agribusiness sector.
“We have a goal to partner with different stakeholders to help youth boost their businesses. We are planning to show them available opportunities and link them with facilitators. In five, ten to fifteen years, we need to tackle hunger crisis through good practices and innovations,” Hategekimana says.
According to Sajji Ryakunze, AgriProFocus Country Coordinator, one of development partners who currently engage in supporting youth in agribusiness by linking them with markets, AgriProFocus Rwanda will continue to support them by helping them learn from their challenges to find solutions.
Ezekiel Rudakema, programme Manager of youth and work in Help a Child organisation says that, in their programmes of helping youth, they will increase efforts to respond to challenges facing youth in agribusiness including mindset change, start-up capital and market access.
Donnah Mariza, Business Development and Youth Development at Hinga Weze says that in partnership with RYAF they will continue to help Rwanda youth in agribusiness to improve productivity through inputs supply, mechanization, and skills to extension services to smallholder farmers and access to markets among other initiatives.
The Feed the Future Hinga Weze is a five-year, $32.6 million USAID-funded project that aims to sustainably increase smallholder farmers’ income, improve the nutritional status of women and children, and increase the resilience of Rwanda’s agricultural and food systems to a changing climate.
The government of Rwanda though MINAGRI calls youth to join them for support and currently help youth in agribusiness to get collateral through the Business Development Fund (BDF).
Dr. Octave Semwaga, Director General of Strategic Planning and Programs Coordination at Minagri says that the government is ready to share information and available support to youth in agribusiness to improve their works.
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