By Bean Interactive

[Lilongwe, Malawi] May 15, 2024 – Today marks a pivotal moment in the agricultural landscape of Malawi as AGRA and the Mastercard Foundation hold the first youth convening of the Youth Entrepreneurship for the Future of Agriculture (YEFFA) program in Lilongwe, Malawi.

This groundbreaking initiative, backed by a five-year partnership, is poised to transform the lives of over 1.5 million youths in Africa, offering them sustainable and dignified opportunities in the agricultural sector.

“We at AGRA Malawi are incredibly enthusiastic about YEFFA,” says Eluphy Nyirenda, Country Director for AGRA Malawi. “This program has the potential to be a game-changer for young Malawians in agriculture. We look forward to witnessing their transformation into future leaders of our nation’s agricultural sector.”

In a region where agriculture employs a significant portion of the workforce, especially the youth in rural areas, the challenges are numerous and formidable. According to the World Bank (2023), these individuals often face limited awareness of opportunities, a lack of technical skills, restricted access to land and finance, and barriers to market entry, all of which hinder their full potential. The YEFFA program recognises these obstacles and is designed to address them directly. Its goal is to empower young Malawians by providing them with the necessary skills, resources, and market connections to succeed in the agricultural sector.

To this end, “YEFFA represents a critical investment in Malawi’s future,” says Eluphy Nyirenda, Country Director for AGRA Malawi. “By fostering a new generation of successful young agricultural entrepreneurs, we are not only creating jobs and ensuring food security but also building a more prosperous Malawi.”

Through a multifaceted approach, YEFFA is set to provide comprehensive support to young Malawians, including facilitating market linkages, ensuring access to affordable financing tailored to their needs, imparting essential knowledge and capacity building, advocating for youth-friendly policies, promoting climate-smart agriculture, and ensuring inclusivity regardless of gender or background.

“We are particularly excited about YEFFA’s commitment to inclusivity,” said Rex Chapota, Executive Director of the National Youth Council of Malawi. “This program ensures that all young Malawians, regardless of gender or background, have the opportunity to participate and thrive in the agricultural sector.”

YEFFA offers a unique opportunity for young Malawians to become not just farmers but successful agribusiness leaders,” explains Mr. Chapota. “This program empowers us to take ownership of our futures and contribute meaningfully to Malawi’s economic development.”

Moreover, YEFFA goes beyond simply connecting young people to agriculture. The program provides a holistic support system designed to empower them as successful agri-entrepreneurs. This includes unlocking access to affordable financial products and services specifically tailored to their needs, a major hurdle for young people starting businesses.

“Investing in young Africans is not just about creating jobs, it’s about unlocking a continent’s potential for innovation and prosperity,” explains Dr. Agnes Kalibata, President of AGRA. “Through YEFFA and similar initiatives, we aim to empower millions of young Africans to become the architects of a food-secure and thriving Africa.”

The YEFFA program equips youth with skills in sustainable farming, business, and finance, while advocating for policies that support youth agribusinesses, addressing land, financing, and market access.”

AGRA and the Mastercard Foundation’s commitment to empowering Malawi’s youth extends beyond the borders of this nation. Expansion plans include reaching out to other African nations such as Rwanda, Burkina Faso, Mali, Mozambique, Ghana, and Tanzania, with similar initiatives aimed at fostering youth entrepreneurship in agriculture. Through these efforts, AGRA and the Mastercard Foundation aspire to drive economic growth and development across the continent, harnessing the potential of millions of young Africans in agriculture.

“By investing in the youth of Malawi through programs like YEFFA, we aim to reduce poverty, drive economic transformation, expand agricultural innovation, and enhance food security, ultimately building a more prosperous and sustainable future for generations to come,” explained Dr Agnes Kalibata, President of AGRA.

Notes to the Editor

About AGRA

Established in 2006, AGRA is an African-led and Africa-based institution dedicated to placing smallholder farmers at the core of the continent’s burgeoning economy. AGRA’s mission is to transform agriculture from a mere struggle for survival into a thriving business. In collaboration with its partners, AGRA catalyzes and sustains an inclusive agricultural transformation aimed at increasing incomes and enhancing food security in 11 countries.

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