Youth test Farm
In both Malawi and Kenya, there are high rates of youth (18-35 years) unemployment. The agricultural sector offers multiple livelihood and employment opportunities for the youth, and is in both countries the backbone of the economy. However, youth often have a negative perception of agricultural activities. To make farming attractive to youth and build capacity, we want to set up a youth test farm in each country with help of local youth clubs and local partner organizations by focussing on the following 3 elements:
- Climate Smart Farming Practices
- SMART farming technologies/tools
This project will facilitate trainings for the youth. The trainings will focus on climate smart farming practices and farming technologies/tools that are SMART: Simple, Market based, Affordable and Repairable Technologies. Besides this, trainings on how to start a farming business will be given as well as part of the project. This in order to assure that the youth will continue using the practices and technologies/tools after the project is finished and there will be a sustainable impact on the long term. These practices and technologies aim to create a farm that is resilient to climate change. Next to this, they aim to increase the water productivity from source to crop, using water and land efficiently and preventing land degradation (erosion) while increasing profits. This involves aspects like small dams (incl. dam lining), water harvesting and storage (both surface and subsurface), drip irrigation, flood-based farming, agroforestry (incl. tree nursing), horticulture, integrated aqua-agriculture (fish farming), poultry farming, beekeeping, essential oil farming, mulching, improved seed varieties, land preparation techniques, and organic fertilization.
In order to provide a lasting impact of the project on the long term and to make an impact at regional and national level, the ‘horizontal learning’ principle is a key element troughout the project. This principle focuses on the exchange of knowledge and ideas within social networks. Social media platforms will be used to share photos, videos and tips. Knowledge is also shared through trainings by experts and visits to other innovative farms. Besides this, the project itself and the youth will invest in farming that will increase profits which make it attractive to continue with these practices. Once other youth see that it works they will copy it creating a snowball effect.
Experience has shown that many experienced farmers are willing to share experiences and teach others how to farm sustainably. Exchange visits to farmers that are using climate smart farming practices and SMART farming technologies will be organised for the youth. This way they can see the effects of the farming practices and technologies with their own eyes. The example farmers will be part of the test youth farm network. This way, the youth will be able to contact example farmers to ask for information/knowledge about materials and resources.