The Youth Agripreneurs Project – YAP – is one of the innovative mechanisms created by GFAR and YPARD to stimulate smallholder youth entrepreneurship and to ensure that the voices of youth are engaged in shaping the future of agri-food research and innovation. Enabling youth to develop enterprise is an ongoing Collective Action theme within GFAR’s Medium Term Plan 2014-2017.

YAP provides opportunities to:

  • Increase the capacity and ability of young agripreneurs to financially plan and manage their innovation projects
  • Enhance the awareness and aptitude of young agripreneurs in managing business and professional relationships, contributing to their development and growth
  • Have the young agripreneurs share their successes and challenges widely via social media and so inspire others of the potential of investing in youth and agriculture

Getting to YAP

Leading up to the GCARD3 Global Event, GFAR launched an innovative global online campaign in which young agripreneurs could propose their ideas for innovative business ventures along the entire agri-food value chain. The interest was huge: 428 young people published their project ideas on the GFAR blog; over 60,000 comments were posted and were considered in the selection process of the winning projects. Through grants secured from FAO Caribbean, Agropolis International, SAI Platform, the European Commission and private donors, 6 young agripreneurs’ projects were funded in a pilot phase.

The young agripreneurs were sponsored by GFAR to attend the GCARD3 Global Event in South Africa, where they received intensive social media training. YPARD organized an inception workshop to kick off their 12-month YPARD mentorship program.

The YAP agripreneurs were each provided with:

  • Seed funding of $5,000 for their project
  • Matching with mentors to provide them with technical and motivational support over 12 months as part of the YPARD mentorship program

  • Leadership training

  • Coaching and business development guidance

  • Training, team building and networking opportunities at the GCARD3 Global Event

  • Social media training and access to the GFAR blog to share their journey

The six young agripreneurs in the pilot phase (from top left clockwise):

Kellyann – a young woman from Barbados working with farmers to provide the raw materials for her green beauty cosmetics

Nikki – an enterprising young woman from India who’s developing climate resilient cattle for small holder dairy farmers

Josine – a self-proclaimed “bug dude” who is developing a low-cost, farmer-friendly pest management system in the Philippines

Anil – a budding young ICT4D professional from Nepal who is developing a mobile app serving as a platform for farmers to access agricultural information with a single touch

Lillian – a Kenyan civil engineer turned social entrepreneur who intends to develop desert greenhouses based on Terrarium Crop Cultivation Technology

Jony – a young man from Ethiopia who’s starting a self-help business model in harmony with nature, using apiculture

Results from the YAP Pilot Project

Probably the best way to demonstrate the results of the YAP project is to hear from some of the agripreneurs themselves…

This [seed] money is like igniting a process to start my business journey.”         – Jony Girma

“My most profound take-away from the business coaching was how to set realistic targets. Small but measurable.”  

– Lillian Beauttah

We can say that we are [now] leading the agricultural [social] network here in Nepal.”

– Anil Regmi

I have more self confidence in what I set out to do as it relates to agriculture and the skin care industry.”                      

– Kellyann Allicott

“The YAP Project demonstrated an innovative approach. It offers the opportunity to outsource the burden of operations associated with such initiative if we would have to plan, coordinate and deliver it by ourselves. It also offers the opportunity to learn (both the Project coordination team and participants) and network (both the Project coordination team and participants).”

– YAP Project Financial Supporter

Lillian Beauttah and Jony Girma were invited to present their projects in July 2016 at the conference “AU-EU investing in food secure future”. Josine Macaspac was invited to speak at IFAD’s AgTalks, which present the latest thinking, trends and research on policies and innovations in small-scale farming.

A visit by Dr. Mahesh Chander to Nikki Chaudhary’s farm resulted in the launch of a rural youth mentoring program at ICAR Indian Veterinary Research Institute, a Partner in GFAR.

Watch the YAP agripreneurs pitch their projects at the GCARD3 Global Event.

Read all of the YAP proposals and progress reports on the GFAR Blog.