Last year, 2014, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) launched an agricultural youth program in Tanzania to contribute to efforts to tackle youth unemployment while, at the same time, using young people to modernize agriculture.
The program is part of an institute wide youth program known as IITA Agripreneurs started at its Headquarters in Ibadan Nigeria three years ago under the leadership of IITA Director General, Nteranya Sanginga. It has since spread to other countries where IITA is working including Kenya, Uganda, Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
In Tanzania, the program dubbed ‘IITA Tanzania Youth Agripreneurs’ (IYA) brings together graduates of different disciplines keen on pursuing agriculture as a business. The group has received training on modern farming methods and processing and value addition.
The group is engaged in four activities: production and processing of cassava, maize and soybean, production of vegetables and offering weeding services.
According to Veronica Kabwe, the chairlady of the group, the program is a very good opportunity for the youth: “We are getting free trainings…. It is a big opportunity and we have to take it as youth. The knowledge is very useful not just for IITA but even at home. It’s a very beneficial program for youth and I advise them to take it very seriously,” she says.