“The Agriculture is Sexy Project”- A project to demonstrate to the African youth how to engage and make money from soy bean processing!
Are you are a Millennial (30 or under)? Are you tired of being unemployed, despite your qualifications? Do you want to make money fast and benefit your community at the same time?
Agribusiness and the food industry in Africa is one of the fastest ways for the youth to gain a livelihood and benefit their communities. The challenge is that the youth in Africa have a negative perception of agriculture and related businesses. It is my goal to demonstrate to the millions of youth in Africa, Tanzania in particular that agriculture is ‘cool’ and you can make a good living with ‘little’ effort.
I am Mariam Senn. I am 26 years old from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. I pursued a Bachelor of Geography and Environmental studies. After my studies I decided to join the Tanzania Youth Agripreneurs (TYA), at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA). At IITA we are trained to turn agricultural products into profitable business ventures.
As part of this group I have been trained in the value chains of different agricultural products and we have launched businesses in the following value chains: soybeans, cassava, vegetables, and farm management practices. In addition to launching new agribusiness ventures, the group wants to become a model group for other youth to learn and start their own enterprises.
Over the past year, I have clearly seen the potential agriculture holds for providing livelihood for a young person like me and my community, especially through soybean processing.
This project is based on the use of the Soy Sow machine to process soybean into soy milk, and later to produce soy yoghurt and soy snacks (cakes, buns, cookies, etc.), and packaging and selling.
I choose soybean because it is cheaper and easier to produce and it is also good for your health! It is rich in a number of micronutrients, including: magnesium, iron, and calcium. It is also rich in protein and contains no cholesterol.
Soybean production and processing is already a profitable business for us. As a group, the TYA have been given the Soy Cow machine by IITA and have already started production and processing of soy products and market to clients.
With just 1 kg of soybeans one may be able to produce five litres of soy milk and 1litre is sold at a price of TSH 15,000 (USD $7.00) and the same is true for yogurt production. We currently produce about 61 bottles (330 ml each) per week and our goal is to double this to reach new clients.
One important aspect of our business approach is that nothing goes to waste: the soybean residue (Okara) from making milk and yoghurt can be used for making bites or as chicken feed, which brings in additional revenue and it is good for the environment.
The success of the project will be measured by the income generated from our soybean products. We estimate that we will be able to generate a minimum of TSH 98 million (USD 45,000) per year. We will also measure our outreach effort to other young people, by the new youth trained, and new agribusiness start-ups.
I am applying for this USD 5,000 grant because I would like to expand our existing activities in soymilk and yoghurt production. This grant will allow the team and I to try this new client base, especially kindergarten schools and hospitals.
We would also like to build an online presence for marketing and sales of our food products. We see the online presence as our link to various social media outlets, which is critical for marketing, and for showing other young people that agriculture does not always involve ‘digging dirt’. It can be classy and easy!!
My cost breakdown includes:
- USD 2,000 will be invested to cultivate soy bean so as to ensure constant supply of raw materials
- While waiting, USD 1,000 will be used to buy soybean from local farmers
- USD 1,500 will be spent on packaging
- USD 500 will be spent on marketing of products, which will includes an online presence.
Thank you! Asante! Merci! Grazie!
Blogpost and picture submitted by Mariam Senn (Tanzania): mariamsenn[at]yahoo.com
The content, structure and grammar are at the discretion of the author only.
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