History shows that older farmers have been owners of land and have mainly been beneficiaries of social and economic services and information. On the other hand, youths are increasingly getting engaged in agriculture but face challenges and constraints that limit their access to services, resources, and markets. In order to promote dialogue and create working relationships between the young farmers and the business there is need for engagement between the parties.
Zimbabwe farmers Union intends to implement a business coaching project under Agri-talks which should enhance business skills for youths who received development training. Through the project youths will get business and social exposure which prepares them to interact with business people of any age.
The ZFU interventions seek to address concerns of the young farmers on how they can access productive loan facilities, markets, manage production and marketing risks. It also seeks to help youths design strategies that can help them to increase their market power and value of their produce, financial management and how ICT can create opportunities for the young farmers among many other concerns.
A total of 500 youths will be targeted for the three main interventions: the agritalks, challenge fund and information centres.
The idea behind the action is to create constructive and guided dialogue and establish mutually beneficial relationships between the young farmers and the service providers and business and extension experts from the agriculture sector so that youths can achieve viable agriculture. A panel of industry stakeholders will be invited to meet the youths. The panel will include technical, business and financial experts and might also include innovators from the Universities and Technical colleges. Targeted panellists include bankers, micro-financiers, key industry personnel; insurance companies, agricultural experts (agronomists, economists) and buyers of commodities.
The Agritalks (Business development round tables) will commence with a site tour to one of the young farmer’s club or individual young farmer project who went through farming as a business and financial Literacy training. The site visit will include the panellists so that they can meaningfully address capacity gaps during the panel discussion.
This will be followed by a panel discussion on various opportunities and constraints for the youths in agriculture. Youths will have an opportunity to ask questions around the project visited and their other farming business and they receive professional coaching from invited experts. The program is also expected to assist young farmers with business networks that would enhance their potential for successful farming and market power by working collectively.
This action will target 200 youths in Lupane, Gokwe South, Bulawayo and Harare. These will include 100 females and 100 males. The Harare and Bulawayo youths will include peri-urban young farmers and other youths close to these cities.
The funding of the project will mainly come from UNDP under the Inclusive Growth and Livelihood Project. However the project will seek funding from other sources in order to improve the content and reach of the project.