IN a move to heed the government’s call, Tanzania Horticultural Association (TAHA) in collaboration with Horti-Tengeru college, has embarked on implementing an ambitious Ministry of Agriculture Youth Initiated programme-Building a Better Tomorrow (BBT-YIA) by offering theory and practical training to 36 youths in Arusha.
For many, BBT programme that was launched in August 2022 by the Prime Minister Mr Kassim Majaliwa in Mbeya is more than a grand plan to empower millions of young Tanzanians to participate in agri-business, but it is a tangible, forward-thinking vision for a more prosperous, sustainable, and food-secure future for all.
TAHA’s agronomists working in partnership with Horti-Tengeru training college are currently imparting practical agri-business skills to 36 out of 812 youths, who were selected by the Ministry of Agriculture to join the BBT programme countrywide.
“This is one of the government strategic initiatives targeting youths. TAHA as a development partner, we thought it is important to compliment the Ministry of Agriculture’s efforts,” TAHA Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Dr Jacqueline Mkindi explained.
She added: “We’ve commenced a comprehensive practical training on good agricultural practices through TAHA’s proven technologies as well as entrepreneurship and marketing skills to 36 selected youths to empower them to tap into 779 million US dollars industry.”
Dr Mkindi said that TAHA also provides training on financial literacy, records keeping, contract farming, research and policy advocacy skills as part of its comprehensive training package crucial for youths to venture into horticulture value chains of their choices.
TAHA package also includes the post-harvest loss management, nutrition and gender inclusion, standards and food safety (Global G.A.P) as well as perishable handling skills.
Training aside, TAHA is also involved in developing the infrastructure at Horti-Tengeru, one of national incubation hubs designed for training youths in agribusiness through BBT programme.
“We have developed the key infrastructure such as green houses for seedling nursery, install drip irrigation, and cover water reservoir with green shade net to avoid algae development at Horti-Tengeru model farm to provide practical knowledge on horticultural farming for 36 youths” Dr Mkindi noted.
TAHA will also facilitate exposure visits to commercial horticultural estates in the northern Tanzania and to the regulatory bodies such as Tanzania Agricultural Research Institute (TARI), Tanzania Official Seed Certification Institute (TOSCI), Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA), Tanzania Bureau of standards (TBS), Tanzania Fertiliser Regulatory Authority (TFRA) and Agricultural Seed Agency (ASA) and Tanzania Plant Health and Pesticides Authority (TPHPA).
Commenting, the Minster for Agriculture, Hussein Bashe said BBT-YIA strategic objectives are to inspire the youth through implementing behaviour/attitude changing communication strategy, empower youths through training mentoring and coaching.
Engage youths in profitable and sustainable management of agribusinesses, Mr Bashe explains, adding enabling youth-led enterprises by improving business environment; and coordinating effectively youth agribusiness support initiatives for synergy and efficiency.
BBY-YIA will see establishment and development of block farms for youths with a minimum of five acres in each region and later at each district.
The Minister further said that the programme will also witness the development of Youth Agribusiness Parks (YAP) to enable access of agricultural land for youths as the government has set aside over 77,000 hectors of irrigated land for youths through different schemes.
Implementations of BBT-YIA will provide hands-on trainings focusing on providing youths in agribusiness skills with close mentorship and coaching from experienced international and local experts in agribusiness.
Strategy is to establish BBT-YIA youth start-up and growth catalyst fund to mobilise at least 72bn/- and over 15,000 start-up capital applications to be processed and access funds.
By investing in the education, training, and entrepreneurial development of its youths, Tanzania is taking a strategic step to ensure the long-term sustainability of its agricultural sector.
This initiative recognises that the key to unlocking agricultural potential lies in harnessing its young population’s energy, creativity, and resourcefulness.
The BBT-YIA programme is poised to become a beacon of hope and inspiration for other African nations as they strive to address their agricultural challenges.
It serves as a reminder that, when given the right tools, resources, and opportunities, Africa’s youths can play a pivotal role in transforming the agricultural sector, driving economic growth, and securing a brighter future for the continent.