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The role of youth in potato value chain development
Through YPARD Rwanda, I have been invited to attend the African Potato Association (APA) Conference held in Kigali Rwanda from 25-29 August 2019 as a social media reporter under YEAN/YPARD Social media reporting program. Apart from connecting with experts in potato value chain globally, I discovered various opportunities that are in Irish Potatoes value chain and the role youth are praying to ensure its development (especially Rwandan Youth)!
The Four days experience with seasoned panelists and experts, research presentations and exhibitors, followed by a field trip, was special to me. I discovered how bringing youth at the center can quickly transform potato value chain in Rwanda. Together with delegates. We visited the Northern Province where we visited four institutions and industries that play a significant economic role in potato value chain: 1) Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB) Musanze, 2) SOPYRWA and 3) Hollanda Fair foods.
The first stop over was at Rwanda Agriculture board Musanze where they do mainly research, Pathology and seed multiplication, and most of the works are done by youth same in Horizon SOPYRWA where over 90% of people working in there are youth including my classmates who welcomed us. SOPYRWA is an agri-company that makes and markets pyrethrum, essential oils and produce greenhouse products including potatoes. 99% at Hollanda Fair foods during our visit were young people as well.
However much we can be happy with a big portion of youth employed in different entities, questions remain on how better to partner with young people and their networks to play a role in creating their own opportunities to cope with Africa population that is growing faster than the jobs that the whole Africa created.
The E agriculture article published by FOA in June 2019 with the title The future of Africa’s Agriculture rests with the youth mentions that Africa is in the height of a crisis and an opportunity. Africa’s population stands at 1,2 billion people and over 60% are below the age of 25. Yet most African youths are not employed, and according to the World Bank by 2035, 350 million new jobs will be needed.
From this experience with APA conference, I realized that the Youth of today contain endless potential. We have our future in our hands. The choice we make about where to work, what kind of work to pursue, where to study, what kind of study and how to participate in our communities will be felt far and wide
Blog Author: Uzayisenga Helene
Photo Credits: African Potato Association