Opening up new frontiers for young people and refugees in agribusiness
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) sub-regional office for East Africa and Agricycle Global Inc. have agreed to work together to foster youth groups in Kenya, and refugees and host communities in Uganda in developing fruit and vegetable value chains. .
Areas of collaboration include capacity building for youth in fruit and vegetable value chain development; od safety standards and agribusiness related to fruits and vegetables; documentation of youth empowerment business models; transfer of knowledge and skills for the adoption of technologies and equipment for drying fruits; and publication of best practices.
Through this agreement, the selected beneficiaries will improve their access to the market, as well as to technology, such as solar dryers/dehydrators, and will obtain capacity building training on the quality control of their products. These interventions will eventually help them improve their income and livelihoods, contributing to decent rural (youth) employment and reduction of food waste and loss.
In signing the agreement, David Phiri, FAO Sub-Regional Coordinator for East Africa and Representative to the African Union and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, noted that youth employment in the food and agriculture sector in the subregion was a key area of focus given that youth constituted a large segment of the population.
“To address problems such as rural exodus, unemployment, and food and nutrition insecurity, it is essential to engage and invest in youth, and this is a priority for the subregion. In this sense, the collaboration with Agricycle Global Inc. would add value given its unique business model and its local presence in the target areas of FAO projects”, underlined Phiri.
Josh Shefner, Founder and CEO of Agricycle Global Inc., for his part, said that his Organization is a social enterprise whose goal is to eradicate extreme rural poverty, with a focus on providing women and youth with market-based solutions for the food waste. It offers markets for dehydrated tropical fruits and vegetables and fruit flours, and provides youth with technical knowledge and skills on how to use dehydrators and other equipment needed to safely dry fruits and vegetables.
“Women and youth have historically been excluded/discriminated against in the agricultural value chain, even though they have an important role to play in agri-food systems. Agricycle is here to change that, to include you, empower you and break down barriers by investing in inclusive economic growth. Our collaboration with the FAO will play an important role in ensuring that we deliver on our promise to be part of the fight to ensure that rural women, rural youth and refugees are economically empowered, capable of making decisions and knowing that they are seen”, he underlined. Shefner.
FAO collaborates with the private sector to generate transformational change and innovation, as well as measurable and sustainable impacts and benefits, to fulfill its aspiration of Leaving no one behind through sustainable, inclusive and resilient food systems for better production, better nutrition, a better environment and a better life. This partnership will amplify the collective efforts of multiple stakeholders and generate innovative country-owned and -led solutions to help target groups improve their livelihoods.