Inducing youth participation


Icyerekezo cooperative, one of the 12 cooperatives supported by Agriterra in SDGP Potato project, participated the Youth Participation Workshop delivered by Agriterra.

Icyerekezo counts 1,216 members and 387 of them are youth. As a result of the training, Icyerekezo cooperative initiated a Youth Council “Imbaraga z’ Icyerekezo” operating within the cooperative to empower young members and prepare them for future leadership of the

The youth council has 30 members (19 males, 11 females) and has been working to improve the socio and economic participation of its members within the potato value chain. Imbaraga z’ Icyerekezo youth group initiated a local seed potato collection, storage, and distribution
business as a means to improve own and members’ financial position.

Agriterra delivered the Youth Participation workshop to cooperatives under SDGP Potato project to increase awareness of youth participation in potato value chain through farmer cooperatives. Icyerekezo cooperative was at the forefront of youth initiatives upon participating in the workshop by creating a youth group operating within the cooperative. Thirty youths were promptly interested to join the group.

Supporting youth business initiatives

The youth group identified the low access of seed potatoes to local farmers as one of the issues affecting ware potato production. Most local farmers were required to travel long distances to access SPF seed potato storage facilities, and the group initiated a seed potato distribution
business. The cooperative agronomist identifies certified seed potato multipliers within Icyerekezo and links them to the youth group.

The group rents a seed storage locally to facilitate access for nearby farmers. Through Icyerekezo cooperative, Agriterra provided financial and advisory support to the youth group to initiate the business.

Strengthening the financial position of local youth 

The youth group initiated the seed business as a means to have a positive impact on income of its members. They started off with 500,000 RWF (EUR 500) capital in 2022, and its equity has raised to 1,200,000 RWF (EUR 1,200) in two years. They provided one sheep (worth 40,000 RWF) per member as part of the profit generated from the seed business. Currently, the group is able to source and store up to 2 tons of seed potatoes from seed producers.

With the business still in its infancy, the youth group has two main ambitions attract more youth members (especially those who are not members of Icyerekezo cooperative), and scale up the seed business.

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