In Rwanda, the coffee sector shows a growing gap between ageing coffee farmers and the up-and-coming generation. There is a need to attract youths to join the coffee business, and more particularly the production. To tackle this challenge Agriterra is partnering with primary coffee processors, to attract young people to get involved along the entire value chain of coffee.
Awareness is Key!
It is not a given fact that cooperatives are ready to start with a youth trajectory, like participating in Agriterra’s Kick-Off Workshop. To raise awareness and to sensitize the community and its members on the importance, it sometimes takes a team of people …or a team of football players!!!
Abakundakawa is a primary coffee cooperative located in the highlands of the Northern Rwanda in Gakenke District. Some facts about this cooperative:
• It is involved in collecting cherries from members, pulping, washing, fermenting, sorting, drying and transportation to their dry mill.
• In 2018 the cooperative was counting 100 youth members
• This number has increased to 262 in 2020, with a total member count of 1962
• At least 80% of members are between 50-70 years old
The cooperative is still willing to attract many youths to enter in the coffee production business through collective actions. The cooperative collaborated with Agriterra to organize tournaments in athletics and football for young men and women, of which the finals were played on the 8th of August 2019.
The objective of the tournament was to:
• Inspire youths to engage in coffee production through entertainment
• Inform cooperative representatives and young members the role of youth in the future of farming
• Share the role of youths in cooperative leadership
Expected results of the efforts was an improved mindset of the youths toward coffee farming and agriculture in general, to engage more active youths in cooperative activities, and an improved mindset of the board of cooperative towards youth involvement in cooperative leadership.
The event was also an occasion for the farmers to address their issues to local authorities who participated in this event.
The president of the cooperative, the district representative as well as Agriterra country representative all urged youths to join the cooperative and be more active in cooperative activities.
• The final game was between Kageyo and Joma villages where Kageyo won on penalties
4-1 after two teams ended with a draw of 2-2
• The winner of the tournament got 150,000Frw, the Cup and a ball
• In total 262 youths have already joined cooperative thanks to the partnership between cooperative and Agriterra
• The president of the cooperative urged the youth to stop underestimating the agriculture sector but invest in it because it is a profitable business that remains.
Agriterra Rwanda country representative Jasper Spikker (left) handing over the award to the second-place team