Various ministries including the ministry of Agriculture and animal resources, the Ministry of Trade and industry, the Ministry of Education and the Ministry Youth and ICT, public and private institutions , youth in agribusiness associations and development partners gathered to find sustainable solutions that can attract youth to benefits numerous opportunities that agriculture sector holds for the development of the country.
The Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources, Dr Geraldine Mukeshiman and the minister of Youth and ICT, Jean philbert Nsengimana during the launch of RYAF
During the meeting that was dominated by discussions and debates between youth in agribusiness, policy makers and development partners, it was remarked that the mindset still the major challenge that bocks the young generation both elite and non elite to venture into agriculture.
Although various participants agreed that agriculture sector in Rwanda holds several potential opportunities that can end poverty and create employment for young generation, there are many who still think that agriculture is associated with poverty.
The Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources, Dr Geraldine Mukeshimana while opening the launch of Rwanda Youth in Agribusiness Forum, RYAF, stated that it’s time to bring on board new faces ,youth, that will lead the Rwanda agricultural transformation agenda.
“We wonder to use this forum to create impact in terms of employment creation, in terms of increasing rural income and eradicating poverty in general.” Dr Mukeshima indicated in her penning remarks.
The Rwanda Youth in Agribusiness Forum, RYAF, launched on 03rd May, 2016 is platform that is going to bring together the youth and the stakeholders with the aim of strengthening and empowering actors operating in agribusiness. It‘s seen also as a space to bring out youth expectations and to know main reasons that are pushing young generation to not actively involved in agriculture business.
The Agriculture sector in Rwanda is employed more that 70% of its population and it contributes 32 % in National GDP, but farmers are still less harvesting because of old methods that they are still applying.
Rwanda also still spending more than 100 millions USA$ per year in importing food, and this is seen as a potential market in doing business.
During the meeting, various opportunities were exposed to show the youth where they may invest. Those include among the others, Horticulture, Fishing, Meat, honey, wood, and many more as it was indicated.
Various ministers including François Kanimba of Trade and industry with the Mico also attended the event
François Kanimba, the ministry of Trade and industry has outlined a number of opportunities that aim at supporting young generation that have various initiatives with business oriented, pledged to continue supporting the forum agenda.
Young people in Rwanda are equal to 70% of the Rwandan population, and 90 % among them belongs to various education institutions as indicate by the minister of Education Dr Musafiri Malimba Papias.
Dr Musafiri Malimba indicated that the immediate challenge and need opportunity for education sector is how to prepare the young people by equipping them with right skills and altitude; so as to be change agents as fall as agriculture and related business are concerned.
From the experience got from model farmers that have modernized their farming activities, the minister of Youth and ICT, Jean philbert Nsengimana recommended the participants to use agriculture to graduate families from at least extreme poverty to poverty.
Minister Nsengimana indicated that to transform agriculture by engaging young brains does not require high skilled people, but to change the mindset that is still the main barrier in making agriculture as source of national development by ending poverty and creating jobs.
Minister Nsengimana also urged young people who want to venture into agriculture, to be creative if they want to be successful.