After cooperative IABM had recognized the issue of high youth unemployment rates and realized that elderly people make up for the majority of their membership base, they decided to take part in Agriterra's Youth in Agribusiness trajectory.
They participated in the Youth Kick-Off Workshop in 2017 and thereafter, the coop trained a part of their own youth members in leadership and cooperative values. Since the group was big, they decided to create two groups: one to create new businesses and another one to become more active in the cooperative and the board,. Both groups have their own mentors to help the youth and give support.
Soon after they had started, the business group found out that youth are typically looking for quick wins and that they do not have a lot of land. They also were aware that the cooperative had a non-active mushroom nursery, so they decided to train 40 young members in mushroom cultivation. The youth do not need to buy extra land, as they can use already existing facilities of the cooperative. On top of that, mushrooms grow relatively fast , so it quickly generates cash.
The youth are all working in the nursery now and the challenge they face is the lack of mushroom spawns, so they want to learn how to cultivate them and, on top of that, how to find a market for the mushrooms. The youth also created some savings to be able to pay additional activities.
Lat but not least, the youth committee of IABM created a internal manual on how to organize themselves within the cooperative and they have regular discussions with the board of the cooperative on different kind of matters related to the business and youth.