23 January 2013

Tanzania: NGO Launches Programme to Promote Agriculture

IN a bid to teach youths in the country how to make money from farming, Femina HIP, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) that promotes healthy lifestyles amongst youths, officially launched the Ruka Juu Young Farmers in Business television programme.

The Assistant Director of Crop Production Promotion Services from the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives, Mr Beatus Malema, while addressing the Femina HIP 7th annual conference in Dar es Salaam on Monday, said that the initiative has the potential to inspire and motivate youths to take charge of their lives, through agriculture.

He further went on to say that, "With the majority of the population being under 25 years of age, we need to remember that it is these young people who hold the key to the country's agricultural future.

"As the younger generation gets older and becomes our work force, we need to empower them with skills they need to have productive farming businesses. The Executive Director of Femina HIP, Dr Minou Fuglesang, said the youths in Tanzania are faced with tremendous challenges including staying healthy, receiving proper education, obtaining sustainable livelihoods and gaining access to participating in decision-making in their communities.

He added that, "We are well aware that there is a lot of stigma around farming. It is seen as unattractive, heavy, dreary and dirty. It's for the older generation and not modern enough for young people. "At Femina we want to challenge these myths and create a mindset change, when it comes to agriculture.

If productivity is improved and business skills are learnt, agriculture has the potential to be a very profitable and 'modern' enterprise."

Through the television programme, viewers will follow six young contestants cultivating crops for income generation and will put their agricultural and entrepreneurial skills to the test as they face practical challenges on the television show.

The show will commence at the beginning of March. The programme will also be broadcast on radio weekly. The half-hour programme will provide voices from farmers and experts.

The programmes are timely as government has invested heavily in the 'Kilimo Kwanza' campaign. It is important for young people to understand the huge potential agribusiness holds. Farming can mean money, jobs, stability and security.

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