NEPAD and FAO launch rural youth project at the 11th CAADP Partnership Platform

25 March 2015, Johannesburg 


The New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), today launched a 4-year project that aims to create decent employment opportunities for young women and men in rural areas, through the development of rural enterprises in sustainable agriculture and agribusiness along strategic value chains. The USD$ 4 million project is funded by the African Solidarity Trust Fund.

Speaking at the signing ceremony for the project, NEPAD’s chief executive officer, Dr Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, lauded this partnership. “The collaboration between NEPAD and FAO will go a long way in ensuring that the youth, Africa’s future, are not forgotten. It is by creating an economic environment that stimulates initiatives – particularly by conducting transparent and foreseeable policies – and at the same time by regulating the market in order to deal with market failures that we will attain results and impact through the new thrust given to our farmers, entrepreneurs and youth.”

The project – which will see over 100 000 young men and women in rural Benin, Cameroon, Malawi and Niger benefit – is anchored in the Rural Futures Program of NEPAD. Rural transformation is at the heart of this Programe where equity and inclusiveness where rural men and women can develop their potential and thrive.

Agriculture and agribusiness transformation required

FAO Assistant Director General for Africa Mr Bukar Tijani said, “Today marks an important milestone in moving forward and upward in terms of empowering youth in these four countries – especially women, as 2015 is the African Union’s year of women empowerment. This is actually also one of the concrete ways that we can see the declarations made in Malabo in mid 2014, coming to fruition by opening new paths for African youth within the agricultural arena”.

Over half of the continent’s population is below 25 years and approximately 11 million young Africans will join the labour market every year for the next decade. Despite strong economic growth in many African countries, wage employment is limited and agriculture and agribusiness continue to provide income and employment for over 60 percent of Sub Saharan Africa’s population.

However, the laborious, subsistence-oriented small-scale agriculture is often not the preferred choice of work for many young people. IfAfrica is to reap from this demographic dividend, it will need to attract young people in to the agri-food sector. This will require transforming the agriculture and agribusiness sector to be more modern, profitable and efficient capable of providing decent employment opportunities for this young labour force.

Africa leaders need to set policies that encourage skills development in the agriculture sector to train the youth in different aspects of agribusiness and ‘Agripreneurship’ along agriculture value chains for them to take agriculture as a business. The emphasis of this project is on acquisition of skills along specific value chains and the transition of the trainees into business in the sector.

Ending Hunger by 2025

In 2012 the African Union Commission, NEPAD Agency, the Lula Institute and FAO formed a partnership aimed at ending hunger in the continent. A year later, the four partners organised a high-level meeting of ministers – in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – leading to a declaration to end hunger and a road map for implementation.

This Declaration was subsequently endorsed at the 2014 African Union summit in Malabo, Equatorial Guineaand incorporated as the “Commitment to Ending Hunger in Africa by 2025” in the Malabo Declaration on Accelerated Agricultural Growth and Transformation for Shared Prosperity and Improved Livelihoods. In providing a model for advancing the Commitment to Ending Hunger by 2025, it contributes to the implementation of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), which aims to boost agricultural productivity and food security on the continent.




Media Contacts

Mwanja Ng’anjo

NEPAD CAADP Communications



Edward Ogolla

FAO Southern Africa Communications


Posted in Youth and Women Role Models, Youth in Agribusiness | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment


THE CALL          
The Competitive African Rice Initiative (CARI) Tanzania wishes to announce its second call for Concept Notes under the CARI Matching Grant Fund (MGF).

The Concept Notes are expected from consortia comprising of private sector and led by rice millers/processors who are willing to work closely with suppliers of inputs, machinery, finance, business development and extension services. A consortium will jointly develop and implement a sub-project that would build sustainable market linkages between smallholder rice farmers and other rice value chain actors.

The Competitive African Rice Initiative (CARI) aims to improve livelihoods of rice farmers in selected countries in Sub-Sahara Africa by increasing the competitiveness of domestic rice supply to meet increasing demand. CARI is being implemented in Burkina Faso, Ghana, Nigeria and Tanzania with the target of reaching 120,000 farmers and at least 30% should be female rice producers.

The Matching Grant Fund (MGF) is used to leverage private sector participation/resources by implementing jointly planned activities and to accelerate the development of the rice industry in the four project countries. The overall aim of the MGF is to accelerate the process of achieving the vision and objectives of the CARI project by interesting private sector to drive the rice value chain in Tanzania. Sub-projects approved under the fund shall result in sustainably increasing income of rice farmers through:

  • Increased productivity and quality of paddy rice and complementary crops.
  • Increased efficiency of local rice sourcing, processing and marketing.
  • Improved access to financial services for all value chain actors.

The fund will co-fund activities and investment undertaken by:

  • Private Sector Organizations (PSOs) – organized agribusinesses i.e. processors, millers, off-takers, seed and input companies, technology service providers etc. that are legally recognized and empowered to enter into binding agreements.
  • Public Sector Institutions (PSIs) – research institutes, ministries, departments and agencies of governments that are legally recognized and empowered to enter into binding agreements.
  • Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) / Non State Actors (NSAs) that are legally recognized and empowered to enter into binding agreements.

All partnering entities must have existing operations in Africa in the rice industry at the time of their application and are willing to work with smallholder rice farmers.

The maximum grant amount per sub-project shall be fixed at Euro 200,000. The minimum amount of the grant shall be Euro 36,364.

The grants provided shall be matched as follows:

  • For every 1.5 euros invested by the private company, the grant fund will match it with 1 euro up to a maximum of Euro 200,000 of grant per consortium.
  • For every 1 euro invested through public funds (government and its agencies), the grant fund will match it with 1 euro for all public partners applying for the fund, provided grant amount requested is not more than Euro 200,000 per consortium.
  • The contribution of private or public may be in cash or in-kind or both.

Note that Submitted concepts should target a minimum outreach to 5000 rice farmers when requesting for the maximum grant allocation.

To apply, download the Application Form and Matching Grant Fund Guidelines for more information.

Please submit your consortium Concept Note in soft copy latest on Monday 13th of April, 2015 17:00 hours (05:00 PM) East African Time to reach the address below.
First floor Plot 1481, Rufiji Street, Masaki, Dar es Salaam Tanzania or

Successful candidates with innovative business ideas will be shortlisted and invited to develop full proposals.


Posted in Call for Concept Note, Grains, Grant Opportunity | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

ABCs of Soybean

(Glycine max)

Soybean plant

Soybean is a leguminous vegetable of the pea family that grows in tropical, subtropical, and temperate climates. Soybean was domesticated in the 11th century BC around northeast of China. It is believed that it might have been introduced to Africa in the 19th century by Chinese traders along the east cost of Africa.


It consists of more than 36% protein, 30% carbohydrates, and excellent amounts of dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals. It also consists of 20% oil, which makes it the most important crop for producing edible oil.

Malnutrition, particularly protein deficiency, is prevalent in many parts of Africa as animal protein is too expensive for most populations. Many leguminous crops provide some protein, but soybean is the only available crop that provides an inexpensive and high quality source of protein comparable to meat, poultry and eggs.

A by-product from the oil production (soybean cake) is used as a high-protein animal feed in many countries. Soybean also improves soil fertility by adding nitrogen from the atmosphere. This is a major benefit in African farming systems, where soils have become exhausted by the need to produce more food for increasing populations, and where fertilizers are hardly available and are expensive for farmers.


More than 216 million tons of soybeans were produced worldwide in 2007, of which 1.5 million were in Africa. Africa imports nearly as much soybean as it produces. Africa exports about 20,000 tons annually.

Nigeria is the largest producer of soybean in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), followed by South Africa. Low yields (<1 t/ha in tropical Africa) and a shortage of fertilizer constrain the ability of some countries to increase production. In Nigeria the haulms and post-processed pulp (soybean meal) serve as important sources of animal feed. A 30% annual growth in the poultry industry from 2003 to 2008 fuelled such a demand for soybean meal that an increase in imports was required.

Commercial soybean production on large farms takes place in Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa. However, it is mostly cultivated by small-scale farmers in other parts of Africa where it is planted as a minor food crop among sorghum, maize, or cassava.


Nearly 95 million hectares of soybeans were harvested worldwide in 2007, with 19 million in Asia, 3.5 million in the USA, and 1.2 million in Africa.

Depending on the variety, soybeans can be harvested between 100 and 150 days after planting. Labor requirements in Africa are high since most cultivation and harvesting are done manually.


Worldwide consumption of soybean is nearly 11 million tons. Africa consumes about 618,000 tons annually, and uses another 4,800 tons for animal feed. Nigeria is the largest consumer of soybeans in SSA followed by Uganda.

In Africa dry soybeans are used to produce milk substitutes and flour. The bean curd is fried and eaten as a snack or breakfast food. Mature beans are not easily digested and contain toxic compounds, which require soaking and prolonged cooking.

Disease and constraints

Diseases in Africa include rust, red leaf blotch, frog-eye leaf spot, bacterial pustule, bacterial blight, and soybean mosaic virus. Pests include pod (stink bugs) and foliage feeders, bean flies and nematodes.

Soybean rust, caused by the Phakopsora pachyrhizi fungus, attacks and destroys the leaves of the plant and can cause up to 60% yield loss. It is widespread throughout many parts of the world and is considered the most destructive of soybean foliar diseases.

Other problems include pod shattering that reduces seed longevity, and production and distribution difficulties. Dual-purpose improved varieties of soybean have not reached many soybean growers to increase production. In many countries only a small market exists for soybean so many farmers are not willing to grow it, and not many people know how to process it or prepare meals with it.

IITA’s research and impact

IITA researchers developed combined rust-resistant and high yielding varieties. Other varieties include low pod shattering and soil deficiency tolerance; and resistance to frog-eye leaf spot, bacterial pustule and bacterial blight. They also developed efficient and rapid methods of evaluating rust-resistant varieties; and new techniques to aid resistance breeding.

IITA launched a project to combat malnutrition in Nigeria by encouraging soybean production and to increase its dietary consumption. They also researched and adapted farming techniques to reduce labor and various soybean processing machines for use in SSA. These activities resulted in an increase in consumption and in the number of farmers growing the crop.

IITA food technologists developed a wide range of soybean food products and up to 98% of households in some Nigerian communities started eating soybean foods. Some products are now produced and distributed on a large scale, providing income for the manufacturers.

This article is copied from IITA

Posted in Africa Agribusiness, Agri-Business Advisory, BUY LOCAL, Grains, Horticulture, Production, Traditional Food | Tagged | Leave a comment