Investing in young people to unlock agriculture’s potential in Africa
12 March 2021, Kigali/Rome - The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in Rwanda has signed an agreement with JR Farms Limited to promote youth involvement in agriculture and create decent work opportunities.
JR Farms is a Rwandan led agri-enterprise operating in Rwanda, Nigeria and Zambia in the areas of food processing and retailing, agro commodity trading and consulting. Its corporate goals are to ensure food security, end hunger in Africa and create decent jobs for Africa’s women and young people.
FAO and JR Farms have joined forces with the aim of developing youth-led agriculture enterprises by providing equity funds, through JR Farms’ Green Agribusiness Fund (GAF), to selected youth-led agribusinesses involved in different agri-food value chains.
The young "agri-preneurs" will also benefit from training and capacity development opportunities and will be introduced to wider networks of fellow agri-preneurs.
"This important partnership with JR Farms will open up new opportunities for young people in agriculture and agribusiness to create decent work, improve livelihoods and boost food security," FAO Representative in Rwanda Gualbert Gbehounou said.
"As a youth-to-youth initiative, the Green Agribusiness Fund will play an important role in creating opportunities for youth in agribusiness in Africa. The initiative is holistic, it does not only offer funding but other salient support such as capacity building, training and exposure which are necessary for success in agribusiness - this is why we are excited about this partnership with FAO which will position more young people to engage in agribusiness," Rotimi Opeyemi Olawale, JR Farms Chief Executive Officer said.
Investing in youth
The alliance with JR Farms is one of the outcomes of the Africa Regional Conference on Youth Employment held in Kigali, Rwanda in 2018, and organized by FAO in conjunction with the African Union and the Government of Rwanda.
The partnership is also in line with FAO’s new Strategy for Private Sector Engagement (2021-2025), endorsed by the FAO Council in December 2020, and which promotes more diverse and inclusive partnerships, more cooperation at the local level and more attention to micro, small-and-medium enterprises (MSMEs).
The partnership also contributes to a broader multi-country FAO project in Guatemala, Kenya, Rwanda, Senegal and Uganda that supports countries to adopt more youth-inclusive agri-food system development policies, strategies and programmes.
FAO and JR Farms have joined forces to develop youth-led agriculture enterprises. ©FAO/Teopista Mutesi