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Youth face various constraints in joining a cooperative. Some cooperative by-laws stipulate membership conditions such as landownership and the payment of membership fees, to which youth often cannot adhere. Youth typically do not own (enough) land and cannot pay membership fees. After a Youth Kick-Off Workshop in 2018, Ngiryi cooperative, member of UCORIBU in Rwanda, helped their young members to address this issue by supporting them to create a side business.

“We came to realize that our cooperative does not have a future if we do not involve the youth. Youth offer a potentially dynamic labour force which is needed in the agricultural sector as a whole and more specifically in rice production. Even if there are opportunities in the rice sector, it is still hard to mobilize youth into the sector as they are looking for quick wins” (Emmanuel, chairman of Ngiryi cooperative).

Emmanuel continues: "After the Youth Kick-Off Workshop, we talked to one of our partners (JICA) and they agreed to provide training to our youth to make compost using rice hulls. A group of 30 youth was trained and started making compost on their own. Each piece compost (2.4m length; 1.2m width and 1.2-1.5m height) made is sold at 40,000 Rwandan Franc (equal to 40 Dollars) and is sold to members of the cooperative and other farmers in their vicinity. The profit is shared among the youth. All those youth have finally paid their value share and some of them started renting fields to grow rice. The compost does not only provide them money but also helps our cooperative and farmers in general to increase the production as it is rich in carbon and increases the water and nutrient holding capacity of soil".


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