Der nachfolgende Artikel wurde von dem jungen Organisationsteam erstellt und verbleibt daher in englischer Sprache.
Article by Grenda Mweemba and Innocent Maphango, AKTC
‘By the youth for the youth’ was the theme for the 2019 Zambian-German Agricultural Knowledge and Training Centre (AKTC) Youth Day. The youth event, which took place on the 15 and 16, October 2019 was intentionally organised with the idea in mind that, if an initiative is to be embraced by young people, they themselves must take the lead both in the planning and in the implementation of the activities that are meant for them. Hence the theme ‘by the youth for the youth’.
Over 100 youths from various agricultural backgrounds attended this years’ youth day event exceeding the initially targeted 60 attendees by 40 plus. The participants 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) attended the Youth Day as well as young farmers from around the AKTC in Chibombo district.
In attendance was also Chance Kabaghe, Executive Director from the Indaba for Agricultural Policy and Research Institute (IAPRI). Hon. Kabaghe gave the keynote speech at the opening of the event. With more than 30 years of practice in the Zambian agricultural sector, Hon. Kabaghe shared his experience with the young people, emphasising on the possibilities and untapped potential the sector had for the Zambian youth.
Mr. Mainza, a representative from the Enhanced Smallholder Promotion Programme (E-SAPP) presented opportunities in small agri-business finance followed by presentations on organic farming practices by Mr. Rolf Shenton, the director for Grass Roots Zambia Trust. The afternoon of the first day was characterised by field visits at the Golden Valley Agricultural Research Trust (GART) seed demo plots where the youths could compare the practices of conventional and those of organic farming.
The second day of the event started with a presentation by a youth entrepreneur, Kangwa Mwila on digital agriculture followed by Adrian Bignel presenting conservation agriculture highlighting the effects of climate change. Further practical field and mechanisation demonstrations were presented at the AKTC fields.
Furthermore, the group visited an emerging young farmer in Mwachisompola (a rural area near the AKTC project), who is growing tomatoes, cabbages and green maize for the market. The young farmer Benjamin Miyoba owns 13 hectares of land. He narrated his story saying ‘’I first bought 5 hectares of land and planted some tomatoes on less than 5 hectares. After selling my first produce and those that followed, I have been expanding my land up to 13 hectares now’’. Benjamin also stated that he decided to buy land in the rural area because it was far cheaper than that which is around the cities like Lusaka.
Such an inspirational story from a young farmer was truly an encouragement to many Zambian youths of today to use their abilities and power to develop themselves and the nation at large. As AKTC, embedded in our mandate is agricultural knowledge transfer and so we hope that the young people who were inspired by Benjamin’s story and other activities of the event have emulated one or two things and can implement them in their personal lives, to develop themselves, the communities they live in and the nation of Zambia at large.
AKTC is grateful to the Germany Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) for the financial support rendered towards this year’s youth event. Further gratitude goes to GART as well as the AKTC private sector partners for various support rendered in making the event successful.