The Rural Youth Employment Support (R-YES) program are equipping youth with income generating skills.
Grace Nyiramboneyehose started a modest poultry farming business in 2018 with 50 birds, but she lost 20 due to a lack of poultry farming expertise.
The young lady is now hopeful that the poultry farming skills she learned via the Rural Youth Employment Support (R-YES) program would shield her from such losses when she returns to the company.
Her dual-purpose SASSO chicken, which is reared for both eggs and meat production, perished as a result of a coop that was in bad condition, according to the Bugesera District resident.
“With my limited skills, I had no idea what disease was afflicting my chickens, and I had no idea how to effectively combat it,” she told The New Times in an interview held at Integrated Polytechnic Regional College Gishari (IPRC Gishari) in Eastern Province’s Rwamagana District on Friday, May 20, 2022.
“The loss of my chicks discouraged me, so I decided to cease raising chickens until I learned the necessary skills for a successful poultry company,” she explained.
She said the skills she learned, such as poultry farm management, getting excellent eggs for hatching, caring for day-old chicks, proper feeding, and disease prevention, had renewed her desire to return to chicken farming.
Nyiramboneyehose is one of 339 young people from 16 districts around the country who are now enrolled in the R-YES project’s inaugural cohort.
The five-day visit by a technical team from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) from Rome to the Rwanda Agribusiness Hub to give implementation support to the IFAD grant project (R-YES), monitor its performance, and assess the impact on beneficiaries ended on Friday.
Their exercise concluded with a visit to the IPRC Gishari, an R-YES grant project partner in Field Irrigation and Poultry Farming Operation and Maintenance.
The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) have partnered to launch the R-YES project, which will run from June 2020 to December 2024.
Kilimo Trust Rwanda leads a consortium that is implementing it. The Rwanda Youth in Agribusiness Forum (RYAF) and Rwanda Polytechnic (RP) are also members of the consortium, with Integrated Polytechnic Regional Colleges (IPRCs), TVETs, and agribusiness industries serving as training sites.
It focuses on seven agribusiness value chains that have the ability to attract and give good (self- and pay) employment to adolescents in the industry. Dairy, pork, potatoes, maize, rice, poultry, and vegetables comprise the value chains (chili, green pepper, and French beans).
Sylver Munyabugingo, a resident of Kayonza District in Eastern Province and another project recipient, said the main issue is that the area receives little rainfall and is prone to drought, which has a detrimental impact on farm productivity.
“Last year, I lost half of my tree tomato harvest due to dryness, as I only obtained 100 kg of fruit from the same acreage,” he explained.
Fortunately, he claimed he has learned irrigation techniques that will allow him to grow crops throughout the year without relying on rainwater.
Beneficiaries were taught how to use various irrigation technologies such as surface, drip, and spray irrigation, all of which have varied benefits depending on the crops.
“With our irrigation system skills, we can grow crops in all seasons without fear of losing our investments,” Munyabugingo said. “This will ensure sustainable food security, a surplus for the market, and a significant income.”
R-YES Project Team Leader Andrew Gashayija stated that they have realized that this model and partnership with TVET institutions are critical in assisting youth to enter the labor market and become entrepreneurs or good employees at already established companies because they possess the necessary skills.
“We’ve been amazed by the youth’s level of success so far because we’ve seen them manufacture a variety of items in different regions where we’ve been.” “Those working in milk processing, for example, at IPRC Musanze, have a variety of [dairy] goods they may market,” he said.
So far, he claims that several businesses have committed to hiring the children who are being trained, even offering them jobs before they complete the program.
Those who desire to start a business will be assisted in establishing solid business plans and collateral from the Business Development Fund (BDF) in order to obtain funding. According to Gashayija, this step will also assist to address the high failure rate of young people’s start-ups, which has been a source of concern.
Potential employers in the [project] ecosystem are participating in curriculum development, as well as youth training, according to Tom Anyonge, Acting Director of the Environment, Climate, Gender, and Social Inclusion Division at IFAD Headquarters in Rome.
“The three incubation centers we’ve seen so far are quite promising, and we’ve already seen really good value for money,” he said, praising the collaboration between Kilimo Trust, the Rwandan government, and other local stakeholders with IFAD. “This is an innovative alliance with the potential to boost the number of jobs in the agricultural sector, which can benefit young women and men.”
It’s worth noting that the R-YES project’s main purpose is to contribute to long-term employment (self-employment and decent wages) and income-generating opportunities for 3,000 Rwandan adolescents involved in agriculture-related activities via an integrated agribusiness hub.
This pilot project, which is worth little more than Rwf2 billion, will inform future extended initiatives by IFAD and other development partners in Rwanda and other African and global countries.