Despite being the future of agriculture, the youth in sub-Saharan Africa face many hurdles in terms of access to resources such as land, credit, and employment opportunities. However, despite the myriad of challenges they face, there exists opportunities for their active engagement in providing innovative solutions to problems farmers face. At the heart of 2SCALE’s inclusive agribusiness strategy is helping the youth to create sustainable self-employment opportunities along agriculture value chains.
In this youth inclusion blog series, we highlight the engagement of the youth in Kenya and Ethiopia in providing access to quality seedlings for smallholder farmers.
Damascene spices partnership: youth group takes the lead in seedling multiplication
In Ethiopia, one of the key objectives of the Damascene Essential Oil Company-2SCALE partnership is building an inclusive herbs and spices value chain. While women have pioneered backyard production of herbs and spices, the youth are actively engaged in the propagation of quality seed and seedlings.
Bonga-Kaffa vegetables and fruits association (BK) is a youth group comprising of five young men- Tibebu, Eniyew, Mussie, Mohammed, and Avazir. These five childhood friends formed the youth group in 2019 with a hectare of land, and an initial capital of 150,000 Birr ($3,050) which was obtained as a loan from a microfinance institution.
Their initial business was growing and supplying vegetables. However, owing to their limited technical knowledge and expertise on agribusiness, plant diseases and market constraints were major hindrances to them succeeding in the vegetable sector. However, their resilience to triumph in agriculture drove them to venture into spice seedling propagation under the Damascene-2SCALE partnership. To fill the existing skills and capacity gaps the business champion-Damascene provided them with technical support on spice/herbs seedling multiplication. They also received seeds and seedling bags and constant mentorship to build life, communication, and business skills. Most spice producers face a gap in accessing quality seedlings. As a solution, the business champion facilitated linkage between spices and herbs producers and BK youth group.
For these youth, capacity building to enrich their knowledge on seedling propagation is the highlight of their engagement with Damascene, as narrated by Eniyew.