Following the intervention of the Sustainable Agricultural Intensification and Food Security Project (SAIP) in Rwamagana District, Eastern Province, young people in the area have invested in chili pepper farming to promote commercial agriculture.
The 5-young graduates ventured into chili farming after receiving support from SAIP, in terms of improved agricultural inputs and irrigation system, among others.
“After graduation, we realized that, we needed to focus on something that would bring in cash, instead of sitting home waiting for employment. We were inspired by SAIP’s engagement in supporting and encouraging farmers including youth in our area to give more importance to agriculture most especially focusing more on commercial agriculture,” said Valens Ntawiha, leader of the youth group.
He explained that the team has cultivated chili on a hectare, but the yield and income from chili has since exceeded their expectations.
“We thank SAIP for its continued support to us, as young farmers. SAIP has created an enabling environment that makes agriculture an attractive and profitable venture for all farmers including youth,” emphasized Ntawiha.
The young people have since formed a company named “One Mission, One Direction Group Limited” after realizing the profitability that lies within commercial agriculture.
“We are determined to make our company big and attractive to more young people willing to venture into agribusiness farming. We are aiming at making use of the opportunities availed to us by SAIP,” said Ntawiha.
He pointed out that agriculture is one of the sectors that could provide employment to jobless youth if well managed.
Ntawiha said that the secret to all this is also getting proper training on horticulture farming which has enabled them to understand how to handle their crop and cut on post-harvest losses which he attributes to SAIP agricultural extension staff.
According to him, the young people are targeting to expand chili production from the current one hectare to five hectares, because the venture has turned out be lucrative and well paying.
He added that agriculture is a lucrative business that anyone can take on with the right skills and guidance.
SAIP has enhanced the development of sustainable market linkages and value addition, through increased performance and commercialization of selected value chains; vegetables and fruits for domestic, regional and international markets, maize for domestic and regional markets, Irish potatoes for domestic and regional markets while beans for domestic markets.
The project is also boosting agricultural productivity, with much of the emphasis on commercialising agriculture using modern inputs and encouraging the integration of smallholders into agricultural value chains, particularly those producing for export markets.
SAIP targets to increase agricultural productivity, market access, and food security of the targeted beneficiaries in the project intervention areas.