YAP proposal #407: A Farming Haven for Lilongwe Youth (Tamanda Chabvuta, Malawi)

A Soya field

Who we are

Catherine Mloza Banda, 25, a Rural Development and Extension graduate of Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR), currently working as Agricultural Value Chain Officer with Farm Radio Trust Malawi.

and

Tamanda Chabvuta, 26, an Arts Humanities graduate from University of Malawi Chancellor College and currently working as Communications Officer with the National Smallholder Farmers’ Association of Malawi.

We hold a passion for information and communications technology (ICT) in agriculture, rural development, and youth.

Our motive

To set up YO-FARM.

A farm for out-of-school youth that will train and mould young boys and girls to become agricultural entrepreneurs.

Through Yo-Farm, youth will find piecework during their free time thereby allowing them earn an income that they may use for school fees or other costs of living.

The Youth Farm will mainly focus on legumes, vegetables, and maize.

We will facilitate accessing markets for these crops and coordinate all transactions with an objective of generating income.

The long-term vision is to process and package the harvest to reach out to a wider market and increase profits through sales.

Resource Centre for the youth

Through this farm, we will build a resource centre that will serve as capacity building space and meeting space.

The resource centre will source agricultural information including ICT for Agriculture resources for the youth and allow them make use of the studying space.

We will hold activities such as ‘weekend schools’ where the young people will interact with mentors from all backgrounds thereby widening their visions and career choice.

The Farm will also focus on climate smart agriculture technologies such as rainwater harvesting, using organic manure and other modern farming technologies that will allow conservation of natural resources.

Who benefits from Yo-Farm?

The Yo-Farm project aims to benefit the lives of the youth who will work on the farm allowing them have a means of income.

As some of the youth come from child headed households, they will be able to provide for their families.

The resource centre and other mentoring opportunities are bound to increase the young people’s ambitions as they will focus on exploring farming as a means of income but also expose them to other career prospects that are out there therefore allowing them have a chance to go back to school.

The use and application of ICT and modern farming technologies will educate these youth and allow them to apply the skills in their own fields.

Why support Yo-Farm?

Malawi is vulnerable to effects of climate change due to its high dependence on rain-fed agriculture.

Reports state that climate change will continue to have an impact on agricultural production where in the seasonally dry tropics, crop yields will fall causing hunger, poverty and more pressure on natural resources.

During the current farming season, Malawi has faced the most unpredictable rainfall patterns due to the effects of El Niño.

Over 2.8 million people are at risk of hunger and will continue to be due to the low yields estimated for this year. This in turn affects the poverty levels in most rural households where a lot of youth struggle to stay in school due to lack of school fees.

Less than 60 % of households can earn enough money in a month to keep a child in school for one term where the cost for tuition is a minimal of MK 12,000 (USD 21) per term.

Such realities compel us to centre more efforts that will help young people stay in school by allowing them earn income to pay fees and allow them realise their future either in agriculture entrepreneurship or in other careers.

The plan

We will first start with setting up the farm. Sensitization about the farm will made through a local secondary school near the area. Through this school, we will have access to records of students who may have dropped out of school due to lack of school fees. The opportunity will prioritise the youth identified.

Based on availability, youth willing to work on the farm will take full ownership of the farm labour and in cases of few work force, available; other employed labourers may take part.

Crops to cultivate will be maize, beans, different types of vegetables and soya using climate smart agriculture technologies.

We will also apply irrigation methods as planting season will be in the colds dry season. While this is underway, we will work on construction of the resource centre and commence weekend schools during selected weekends for the youth.

The projection is that construction of the resource centre be complete by the time the first harvest is ready for sale. This should take approximately one year.

So far, identification of land in Lilongwe in Mitundu area is complete and ready for purchase at a price of USD 1,000. This area is strategic considering that it is close to our national agricultural university, Lilongwe University of Agricultural and Natural Resources. We plan to garner the support of students from the University to conduct the weekend schools for the youth and to serve as mentors.

We have informed the local authorities in the area of the project. What is left is to complete purchasing of the land for the project to make headway.

We will measure success for the project through the number of young people indicating to have increased their income through their participation in the project, the number of youth going back to school, and through profits made from crop sales, which will allow for expansion and increase in farm activities way beyond the first year of implementation.

Costs and line-up of activities

  • Between April and May we plan to conduct awareness meetings in the local area and market research and establishment which will cost a total of USD 600.
  • In May we will be setting up the farm/preparing land and purchasing inputs and irrigation equipment, which will cost USD 1,200.
  • From June 2016 to January 2017, we be coordinating all processes of crop production on the farm which will involve labour costing USD 1,000.
  • While crop production is underway, between July to December, we will be constructing and setting up the youth resource centre costing USD 1,500.
  • From the commencement of farm activities in July, we will hold weekend schools thereby requiring logistical arrangements at a cost of USD 500.

Yo-Farm for the youth, for the future of food and Agriculture in Malawi!

 

Blogpost and picture submitted by Tamanda Chabvuta (Malawi): etchabvuta[at]gmail.com

The content, structure and grammar are at the discretion of the author only.

 

This post is published as proposal #407 of “YAP” – our “Youth Agripreneur Project”.

The first selection of the winners will be based on the number of comments, likes and views each proposal gets.

As a reader, you can support this speaker’s entry:

  • Leave a comment (question, suggestion,..) on this project in the comment field at the bottom of this page
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Have a look at the other “YAP” proposals too!


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“YAP” is part of the #GCARD3 process, the third Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development.


47 thoughts on “YAP proposal #407: A Farming Haven for Lilongwe Youth (Tamanda Chabvuta, Malawi)

  1. The youth are the future generation, investing in them is investing in the nation development. This is a very great project Cathy and Tamanda

  2. The entire project highlights potentials of sustainability in all its goals, both long and short term. Both providing the capacity for job creation through agriculture and encouraging farming among the younger generation cannot be over emphasized in our global village today. It also serves as a direct way of empowering the younger generation in creatively developing their minds towards future solutions to the impending hunger looming and likely to come by in the near future in Malawi. Great work.

    1. Well said Martins! We’re actively pursuing empowering the youth in all aspects. Widening the information for them to realise a future in agriculture.
      Thank you for your support 😊

  3. Kudos to you young innovators and problem solvers. I like how you incorporate technology in agriculture. A good way of creating an income generator for secondary school students and also experience for university students as they will serve as mentors and learn from the experience.

    1. We hope you will share our dream with us Tapiwa. We can always use more of us. We shine because you shine. Thank you so much 😊

  4. This Yo-Farm has another critical benefit apart from generation of income for the youth. This is the opportunity for the youth to have hand-on experience in the area of farming/crop production and practical opportunity to learn beyond theoretical aspects for the university students. I believe that the success of this project can revolutionize the agriculture sector in Malawi.

    1. And we look forward to the success of this project as it will pave way for more to be mainstreamed in many parts of our country. Thank you so much Clement. Catherine and I salute you. 😊

    1. And we won’t forget to take up your offer. Thank you so much for all your support Martin. We hope for the best 😊

    1. Thanks Jhannel! Always there to support. Thank you so much. One young woman always there to lift up others. You inspire me 😊

  5. This is a great and interesting initiative.Keep it up ladies and hope the youth will embrace it and actively participate.There is so much potential among the youth and such initiatives will definitely help arouse and tap into that potential.Bravo.

    1. We very much appreciate your support Matthews. We now hope for the best. And please, we’re always welcome to hear your suggestions on how we can even make this more successful. Thank you for your comment 😊

  6. Yo-Farm is an excellent idea. I will love for this project to be successful, a farm for the youth teaching them climate smart agriculture is absolutely impressive.
    Congratulation from WHYFARM to YO-Farm

    1. Thank you so much WhyFarm. We draw all the inspiration from the great job you are doing in Trinidad. We hope for the best and look foward to WhyFarm’s visit to Yo Farm.

    1. Thank you so much for the support Dorothy. We hope for the best and know we have won one way or the other because of your encouragement and support 😊

  7. Go go go ! we can’t afford to keep on waiting for government to something for youth, but we should be the ones to transform the nation and youth are the hope for tomorrow.I like the idea that they will be working and earn income as well,this is a good idea which needs to pass through.

    1. Pauline, your support and words of encouragement for this idea ar motivating. Thank you so much. We indeed cannot wait for handouts which always increases our dependency syndrome and in the end creates a generation of youth without technical skills who know nothing but depend on unsustainable means of earning money. We hope this passes through. Once again, thank you 😊

  8. What a Vision! Precisely what youth needs! Opportunity: work- and study-wise! Wishing you all the best from Brussels, and may the EU support you in future too!

    1. Thank you so much Anvangoe. We hope for the best and ofcourse, even more doors and opportunities for support from the EU.

  9. It begins with us.Let’s help the youths to be self dependent.They can feed Malawi,we should feed Malawi.Enough food for all people,at all times for a healthy mind.This is a beautiful ideal ladies.

    1. Indeed Chimwemwe. We very much appreciate your enthusiasm. We hope you get to share it and inspire the youth of Yo-Farm soon.
      We salute you 😊

  10. Our high dependency on seasonal rain alone is killing us…let’s use technology and become innovative enough to eliminate some of our challenges as a nation…it starts with each one of us…great idea you two…wishing you success

    1. Thank you Farnces.
      Well said. We cannot sit back and hope for things to change without doing anything about it.
      We very much appreciate your support.
      Hoping for the best.

  11. This is the definition of patriotism, we need more people like you Tamanda Chabvuta if Malawi is to lift its self from devastating poverty levels, I’m supporting this youth empowering project 100%

    1. And we can always use people like you Harvey. A mindset that recognises so much potential in the youth.
      We thank you for your support. 😊

  12. I absolutely love this from all the way in Trinidad and Tobago. A YO-Farm is needed here also in the Caribbean.
    A fun and exciting farm where children can go and learn about smart agriculture- this captured me right here.
    All the best to you both, win loose or draw make this a reality, I will be coming to visit to make my contribution.

    1. Thank you so much for the support Alpha. We definitely look forward to WHYFARM’S visit and also hope this idea is implemented worldwide.

    1. Thank you so much Vincent. Your support and words of encouragement are motivating. We are hoping for a good outcome and that soon we will make this dream a reality 🙂

  13. Catherine and Tamanda i like your YO-FARM idea as it has the potential to address some of the critical challenges affecting both secondary and university students. Is there a specific age cut off point for the school dropouts youth to be benefiting from YO-FARM? and of course i’m not sure the feasibility of constructing a youth resource centre with USD1500 🙂

    1. Hello Daniel!
      Thank you so much for your support and sharing your thoughts too.
      As for the age cut off point, we recognise the age for one to be called a Youth, it extends all the way to the age of 35. However, in this case we will concetrate on Secondary school out of school youth. In other cases, we will also look into sharing some of the work with college students studying at NRC or in courses related to Agriculture, extension or social sciences.
      As for USD 1500 covering the set up of a resource centre, we agree with you as it may not be enough. However, we will also mobilise more support to go into this resource centre. Also building on decentralization themes, we will utilise lically available resources in construction and let the community assist in the construction.

  14. About 54 per cent of the total population in Malawi is younger than 35 years (PHC,
    2008). With such a young population, dependence ratio in Malawi is high.
    This places heavy economic burden on the working population and puts pressure on
    the provision of basic needs and social services. The country‟s young population is
    characterized by high incidences of poverty, violence, HIV and AIDS, malnutrition, abuse,
    poor health, high illiteracy rates and psychological disorders.

    In order to protect and harness potential of young people, this project proposal is one of the strategies. The dependency ratio could be reduced and job creation enhanced through promotion of youth in agribusiness. So, Community Initiative for Social Empowerment (CISE) support this project | http://www.twitter.com/cisemalawi http://www.instagram.com/cisemalawi

    1. We very much appreciate the support from CISE.
      Looking forward to working with you.

      Catherine and Tamanda

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