Linking Youth to Private Agro-Dealers for Agribusiness and Employment Opportunities in Rwanda
As part of the new five-year period (2016-2021), USAID/Rwanda's youth employment project Huguka Dukore, implemented by Education Development Center and Connexus, is facilitating youth involvement in agriculture through partnerships with a number of private agro-dealers. For example, Connexus recently negotiated a partnership with Holland Greentech, which has agreed to provide technical training to youth interested in learning how to grow high value crops, such as eggplants and tomatoes. This training is provided on a demonstration plot in the Kamonyi district, with inputs and technology supplied by Holland Greentech. A local implementing partner, Centre Pour Promotion de Jeunes et Sortir de la Pauvreté (CPJSP), has agreed to provide small grants to youth that complete the training to purchase start-up kits, including seeds and other inputs. Fifty youth are currently learning about horticultural production and technology by cultivating the plot themselves. At harvest time, the youth are allowed to sell the produce in the market and encouraged to store savings in a local microfinance institution. By demonstrating their income over time, the youth will be eligible to access loans to expand their agribusiness.
This approach allows youth to gain skills in good agricultural practices and teaches them how to use climate-relevant technologies, while empowering them to start-up productive and profitable agribusinesses. This market-driven youth employment activity enables youth to participate in the local economy while also addressing real market and food security demands in Rwanda. By investing in Rwandan youth, Holland Greentech is demonstrating its commitment to a new generation of potential customers for its agriculture equipment and ensuring that such customers are up-to-date with the latest agricultural technologies and practices. As the program expands, some of the agro-dealers plan to hire some of the youth as agribusiness promoters to expand this agro training and employment concept to more youth in rural areas.