Rwanda Youth in Agribusiness Forum (RYAF) commenced operation in 2016 with major objectives including the change of youth mindset and to open their eyes to opportunities in agribusiness for job creation and economic development.
Since its creation, RYAF has been serving the youth in Rwanda through empowerment and advocacy to embrace opportunities in agribusiness. As a voice for the youth farmers and entrepreneurs in agriculture, RYAF celebrates a chain of achievements in the year 2019.
Narrowing the Gap of Unemployment
Through different partnerships, RYAF provided more than 592 part time employments to the youth in various value chain domains (coffee, dairy, cassava, potato, beans, maize, horticulture). This impacted about 500,000 farmers in these value chains. RYAF has created a RYAF shop to be able to reduce costs of transaction and easily carry out advocacy in terms of taxes and access to finance options. RYAF has worked with Rwanda Development Board (RDB) to manage internship program where out of 851 interns, 633 were deployed across the country as agronomists to work with different cooperatives from the two previous years. This internship is a very good channel where young graduates are getting connected to jobs and they are starting their own agribusiness ventures. RYAF has established the district coordination program where all youth in agricultural domains are being represented from sector to district levels. RYAF has established RYAF Fund to leverage on the existing opportunities in access to finance and create a fund by youth themselves where every member pays Rwf 12,000 per annum. This fund is being linked to banks to create these important linkages.
RYAF officially established Agribusiness Incubation Program where with important partners, young people are now accessing facilities for technical and managerial skills development and market tests. The program was started with aim to reach many centers (Universities, Higher Learning Institutions, TVET Schools and Youth Centers) to create important mass agents of change in agribusiness from the youth benefiting from different services and optimize opportunities found in agribusiness value chains.
Creation of partnerships that benefit the youth
RYAF has established long term partnerships with the local government, especially districts to facilitate the access and accountability on public resources (land, forests, buildings, other types of assets and facilities), finances, knowledge and other important linkages to stakeholders and partners.
RYAF has been able to sign important Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)s with Rwanda Agricultural and Animal Resources Development Board (RAB) where youth in horticulture are now able to get fruit trees seedlings to plant (avocadoes and mangoes). This, in turn will contribute to the attainment of the government program of reducing malnutrition and improving markets of fruits locally. The same perspective of partnership, there is an opportunity to engage in dairy businesses, especially in milk marketing (pasteurization, milk zones, processing of milk into various products) where youth can obtain grant of up to 70% amounting to US $10,000 for individual and US $20,000 for cooperative businesses in any of the areas in the country.
RYAF has got six projects in progress including RYAF Online TV, RYAF shop, RYAF fund, RYAF Agribusiness Incubation Program and, RYAF Internship and Climate Smart Agriculture Technologies Program. In the year 2020, RYAF looks forward to increasing the number of RYAF shops from 1 to 25, continue increasing the number of part time jobs, increase the number of internships, to negotiate and avail land (at least 150 hectares) to youth for start-ups, to create savings and lending groups amongst youth in agriculture, create new partnerships with partners for RYAF fund to be able to support youth to access finance, continue profiling best success stories and shared them on social media, increase number of youth to benefit from available grants, seeds, equipment, livestock, to prepare ToTs for agribusiness incubation trainings: 12,380 youth on agribusiness leadership management, 11,000 on voluntary savings and lending or access to finance, 20,800 on agricultural farm operations management, 1,000 on internal part time staff training, 500 on internships trainings and 600 on mechanization and agriculture.
From RYAF Communication Team