By Silindzelwe Nxumalo
The Youth Enterprise Revolving Fund (YERF) and the Women Farmer Foundation (WFF) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) aimed at empowering young women agricultural entrepreneurs.
YERF CEO Mandla Nkambule said the MoU was aimed at training young aspiring commercial farmers on protected farming using tunnels, nets, greenhouses, etc to create a vibrant and sustainable Horticulture Sector.
He mentioned that it was also aimed at introducing and exposing the youth to other youth Agri-related businesses such as food technology, agro-processing, etc.
“This MoU is also aimed at improving the youth entrepreneurship environment in agriculture and youth agric- projects coordination and management,” he said.
Nkambule said the desired outcomes of this partnership included making agriculture fashionable among the youth creating conducive conditions for agri-businesses run by the youth, and improving the value added of the Agric sector and access to finance for unemployed youth in all the regions including graduates.
He added that other outcomes included promoting climate-smart agriculture and establishing a risk-sharing framework for youth in agro-business including developing innovative funding and insurance (micro-insurance) to cover potential climate-related risks and infrastructure (tunnels, greenhouses, nets, etc).
“Through this MoU, we are hoping to also achieve a decrease in youth unemployment in the country, decrease imports of agricultural products, create sustainable market linkages for both domestic and export markets, and improve the country’s food security,” he said.
WFF CEO Sonia Paiva said it was important for the two entities to identify ways in which they can assist the youth of Eswatini to join the agricultural space.
She mentioned that it was important they work towards changing the mindsets of the young people and ensure that they think about agriculture in a modern and exciting way.
“From the WFF we are so excited about this partnership because the work we have been doing has had an impact on people’s lives just not for the magnitude we would have loved to see,” he said.
Paiva stated that it was important for emaSwati to work together in assisting the youth in agriculture in order to see results and assist them in achieving the best.
“Through sharing information and exposing the youth, we will be assisting them in achieving their goals as young women,” she said.