‘By the youth for the youth’ was the theme of the 2019 Zambian-German Agricultural Knowledge and Training Centre (AKTC) youth day, which took place on the 15th and 16th of October. The idea was for the Youth to take the lead in both the planning and implementation processes of activities that are meant for them.
Over 100 youths from various agricultural background attended this years’ youth day event exceeding the initially targeted 60 attendees by 40 plus. Among the participating institutions included youths from AKTC’s partner Bayer AG, the Conservation Farming Unit (CFU), International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Young Emerging Farmers Initiative (YEFI), Zambia Young Emerging Farmers Association (ZAYEFA), students from the Natural Resources Development College (NRDC) and the University of Zambia (UNZA) as well as young farmers from around the AKTC project Centre in Chibombo district.
The event was opened by Chance Kabaghe, Executive Director from the Indaba for Agricultural Policy and Research Institute (IAPRI). In addition, Hon. Kabaghe was one of the panellists during the panel discussion forum. With 30 plus years of practice in the Zambian agricultural sector, and having served in various capacities both within Zambia and the Southern African region, Hon. Kabaghe shared his experience with the young people. His message focused on the limitless possibilities and untapped potential the sector had for the Zambian youth.
IAPRI Executive Director Hon. Chance Kabaghe giving the keynote speech during the Youth Programme.
As part of this event, other activities included a presentation on Small Agri-business Finance by Mr. Mainza, a representative from the Enhanced Small holder Promotion Programme (E-SAPP), Chibombo district office, as well as a presentation on Organic Farming Practices by Mr. Rolf Shenton, the director for Grass Roots Zambia Trust. The afternoon of the first day was characterised by some field visits at the Golden Valley Agricultural Research Trust (GART) seed fair demo plots were the youths compared the practices of Conventional and those of Organic farming.
Youth on agricultural machinery in conservation farming.
On the second day of the event, Kangwa Mwila, a young entrepreneur, gave a presentation on digital agriculture. AKTC experts in the Climate Adapted Farming Methods (CAFM) project also gave a presentation on conservation agriculture, highlighting the effects of climate change and the need to go conservational ways of farming. The presentation was then illustrated by practical demonstrations on the soil profile, as well as tractor drawn implements.
Afterwards, the participants visited Benjamin Miyoba, an emerging young farmer in Mwachisompola, a rural area near the AKTC project, who is growing tomatoes, cabbages and green maize for the market. Mr Miyoba shared:
Benjamin Miyoba (Director-Miyo Farms) gives the youth a tour through his farm in Machisompola, Chibombo district.
|“I first bought 5 hectares of land and planted some tomatoes on less than 5 hectares. After selling my first production and those that followed, I have been expanding my land up to 13 hectares now”|
Benjamin also gave an inspirational story on how he started his farming practices, sacrificing his government salary in the Ministry of Health for one year. To him, farming was not just a hobby but a business that was more lucrative than his job with the government. The story of this young farmer was truly inspiring to many Zambian youths who want to put to use their abilities and power to develop themselves and the nation at large, waiting for a helping hand from the government.
AKTC is grateful to the Germany Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) for the financial support to organise this year’s youth event. Further gratitude goes to GART as well as the AKTC private sector partners for various contributions in making the event successful.
For more information, visit the AKTC website (www.aktczambia.com)
Source: Grenda Mweemba and Innocent Maphango (edited)