Unlocking the potential of all generations is key in facing the many challenges the world has, and will, endure. International Youth Day is about celebrating and recognizing all those between the ages 15-35 and what they bring to the table. With 60% of the population in Africa under the age of 25, the creativity and capabilities of youth are necessary to bring about sustainable and meaningful development.
Agriculture has long been the dominant sector in much of Africa in terms of output, employment, and export earnings. In fact, agriculture is one of the most important business opportunities for young people because of limited rural job options and skills training in the rural sector, youth are migrating to urban areas in search of opportunities, leaving communities vulnerable to an unstable future. This results in high levels of ‘urban poor’ which increases the rates of those living in urban slums and diminishes the prosperity of their rural communities.
Investment in job creation is crucial in providing more opportunities for young people to remain in rural areas where sustainable development can be achieved. By equipping youth with the resources they need to thrive in agribusiness, Bountifield is creating an environment where no one is left behind.
Lilian is a young entrepreneur from Kenya who now has a thriving postharvest business due to Bountifield support. “Too often women and youth owned postharvest businesses tend to have a harder time being accepted and hired by farmers to process their crops, as they prefer men instead” she explains. “But, by offering consistently good services to the farmers I serve, I have been able to get many referrals. And with the marketing strategies from the Bountifield team, I have been able to book many more clients for whom I will provide maize shelling services to next season.”
Lilian’s agribusiness has also inspired other young women in her community to follow her lead. “I am now a role model to many others. After just one season of my shelling business, young women are rearing to become entrepreneurs as well.”
Bernard is another young entrepreneur that Bountifield supports. Like Lillian, he is an advocate for more young people in rural areas to take up agriculture as a business. He shows them how to increase their gross margins through Bountifield mechanization tools while providing much desired advice to those who seek it. “Being a rural entrepreneur, I have been able to bring in other youth to help me with the maize shelling business and in return they get a commission and others get daily pay during the season to help them in providing for their families” he explains.
Indeed, with the right access to resources and support, youth can rise as leaders in their communities forging the way for transforming food systems to meet the challenges of a modern world. Support young entrepreneurs like Bernard and Lilian with a gift today.