Africa-Press – Tanzania. DAR ES SALAAM: WHILE the government is focused on addressing unemployment challenges, the youth have been advised to tap opportunities offered by the agricultural sector to for access to employment.
The Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries (Fisheries) Dr Daniel Mushi, said recently that in the country, agriculture is the main contributor to employment for the nation as it accounts for 66.6 per cent of employment, contributes 26.1 per cent to Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and about 85 per cent of the country’s exports.
“Agriculture is the fastest-growing and most stable industry in Africa, contributing about 30 per cent to the GDP of many countries and engaging 70 per cent of the population. The sector opens great potential for accelerating growth and providing job opportunities for a large youth population, since the need for food security, domestic and global food demand keeps increasing,” he said.
Dr Mushi was speaking during AYuTE Africa Challenge Grand Finale held in Dar es Salaam, where three agro-tech startups emerged winners during the demo day and walked away with a total of 20,000 US dollars.
AYuTE, an acronym for Agriculture, Youth, and Technology, is an initiative by Heifer Project International, which is being implemented by Sahara Ventures and seeks to award cash grants to support promising young agritech innovators in the country, who use technology to reimagine farming and food production.
Dr Mushi commended Heifer International for the initiative, noting that access to opportunities that drive innovation such as AYuTe Competition challenge is key in motivating youths’ involvement in agrotech.
“The future of Tanzania’s agriculture lies in our collective ability to harness the talents of the youth, provide unwavering support to these talents, leverage innovation and technology, and work towards a brighter, self-sufficient tomorrow,” he added.
Heifer Project International Country Programme Director, Mr Mark Tsoxo said the organization has been working to support youth in agriculture in Africa, with the aim of ending hunger.
“A new report on the role of youth in agriculture from Heifer International identifies additional challenges preventing youth from fully engaging in farming, most notably lack of financing, land, markets, and training,” said Mr Tsoxo.
He added that the unemployment challenge would have been greatly reduced if the youth had engaged in agricultural activities, noting that 31 per cent of the country’s population are young people between 15 and 35 years of age and they need to be motivated to take up farming.
The Programme Manager Mr Emmanuel Senzighe said that the initiative focused on finding solutions in value addition in four main areas in the agriculture sector which are crop production, fisheries, livestock and forestry, and natural resources management.
“The programme was officially launched at the end of June this year and there were calls for participation and we were able to receive 269 requests from all corners of the country,” he said.
During the demo day grand finale, FeshPack emerged as the winner whereas EcoMilk was the runner-up and Avo Oil was the second runner-up whereas the top three winners bagged 10,000 US dollars, 6,500 US dollars and 3,500 US dollars respectively.
Avo Oil Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Abdul Zongo, said that they have come up with ways to add value to avocado farmers by processing fruits that will not make in the market to produce avocado oil.
“We are just trying to make sure that nothing goes to waste and everyone stands to gain in the value chain and that’s why we came up with the idea to produce oil from avocado seeds,” he said.