Derived from two root words; 1) agriculture and 2) Entrepreneurship, agripreneurship all goes back to finding entrepreneurial solutions through agriculture to solve a problem which in most or all cases is needed to contribute towards the over-arching issue-hunger, malnutrition and generally food and nutrition insecurity.

YOUTH INNOPRENEURSHIPAs any other entrepreneur, agripreneurs develop their entrepreneurial activity, either through an existing problem, an opportunity or through necessity. Agripreneurs can either identify an opportunity or can also create one. However through necessity a clear cut need is identified, so an innovation is developed to fulfil that need. Interestingly enough the opportunity and necessity identification can be created or developed anywhere along the value chain. Whether in the marketing of agriculture, branding of agriculture or even through Agricultural Extension Strategies there can be room for idea identification. In addition, there is opportunity in input supply, primary production, harvesting of produce, post harvesting, processing, exporting and even sales of the produce.

Important to note is that from each of the topics mentioned previously, there still can exist further subsets from each. For example if we look at processing; innovations can be developed to add value to handling of post-harvest good, packaging of products labelling, sealing, storage, transportation etc.

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WHY-outh

The concept of agripreneurship has been creating some buzz among the youth in particular. This can be seen from a recent example of a call for proposal which was made by GFAR for GCARD3 project entitled Youth Agripreneurship Project. A resounding success of over 500 young people from over 200 countries submitted remarkable proposal.

 WHY? What’s creating this buzz?

In many countries youth participation in agriculture has been steadily declining. A major reason for this unwillingness of young people to adopt roles in agriculture is due to the lack of proper marketing of this noble profession. agriculture is not viewed as having much to do with creativity, fun, innovation, passion, and excitement. It has appeal to a vision for a young persons’s livelihood.

agriculture has been branded as an “Old Man” working the land all day with “burst up” clothing; he/she is extremely tired because of a very labour intensive job. Therefore the young generation automatically and subliminally knows that they do not or will never consider becoming a farmer. But this is not true: There are some marvellous ideas and potentials in that occupation:

  • You can grow food using innovative technologies such as greenhouse farming, vertical farming and hydroponics systems.
  • Upon harvesting your crop, there exists the possibility of removing the middle man, obtain a market on your own or even process it yourself.
  • Obtaining food security requires a multidimensional approach, so you not only need the “basic” tools for growing crops/ rearing animals etc but also a wide range of media, information and communication tools to assist agriculture Marketing and branding of agriculture, consultancy, extension providers and even many aspects from the creative industries lend their support to agriculture.
  • You can be/ look as professional as you like and work in agriculture, whether it is on the field, office or lab.
  • You can develop your own breakthrough agrilution (agricultural solution) to any problem throughout the value chain  or even before or after the value chain and turn that innovation into a viable business career.
  • Make Money and be your own “BOSS” or in better word become a leader.

All this makes agriculture more appealing to youth. Exploring their imagination and guided by a vision, youth are able to create an opportunity if one doesn’t exist. Youth is able to develop innovations and transfer it into entrepreneurial activity. Youths are able to let their voices be heard and ensure their innovations are impactful and take on major leadership role in their communities and countries at large.

by Alpha Sennon

Founder and Executive Director of WHYFARM - We Help You-th Farm
Trinidad and Tobago