In many African countries and especially in Tanzania, agricultural cooperatives are for adults and elderly people, starting from 40 years of age. It is quite a challenge to find young people in cooperatives and even if you find them, their numbers are small compared to the number of elderly members.
However, there are times that you will find an exception to the rule...
With pride, Agriterra supports a financially healthy and successful youth cooperative named Kilolo Agriculture Youth Cooperative Society, abbreviated KAYCOS AMCOS ltd. It was established on 25 September 2018 by and for youth only, with 753 members consisting of 394 men and 359 women.
Let’s have a look at some key facts and figures of this youth cooperative!
Member Services offered by Kaycos Amcos Ltd
· Sharing information of various agricultural and livestock products
· Trainings, especially in the poultry value chain
· Distribution of agricultural and livestock inputs
· Discount prices on chicks
· Connecting members to financial institutions
· Any other services as required by members and the community at large
· 10 young agri-professionals got contracted in different roles; from manager tp accountant, to extension service director and officers, workers in processing feed units, security officers and a shopkeeper to sell inputs
· The cooperative has established a good cooperation with various stakeholders such as Kilolo municipal government, distributors of agricultural and livestock inputs and buyers of cooperative products
· The board members and management team have developed skills and knowledge in business and entrepreneurship, marketing, leadership and governance, recordkeeping and accounting
· Increased working capital from Tanzanian Shillings 3,000,000 in September 2018 to Tshs 15,000,000 in August 2020.
· Registration of agricultural and livestock inputs business and business license
· Business advertisement on local radiostation Furah Radio FM
· Small livestock feed processing plant launched
Challenges and Points of Improvement
· Young members are still looking for ways to produce a a higher rate to benefit the cooperative income
· Young members need to work on completing their share payments on time
· A greater area to sell the products, which is commercially viable and accessible
· Infrastructure, especially village roads
· Lack of reliable markets, stakeholders, buyers of cooperative and members products
Youths Cooperatives happiness moment! Together we build a strong economy. KAYCOS AMCOS ltd, WAMC AMCOS ltd, WINO SACCOS and MAHANJE SACCOS
Learning from Each Other
Because success is there to be shared and can help to inspire others, Agriterra Tanzania recently organized an exchange visit for the youth of WAMCS Ltd, WINO SACCOS and MAHANJE SACCOS from Songea, Madaba in Ruvuma region to learn, exchange experiences and sharing knowledge with their fellow youths of KAYCOS AMCOS.
The exchange visit was very positive and successful on both cooperative and individual level.
Not only did the youth learn that active youth participation primary cooperative to union level can boost the success of the cooperative towards achieving its goals, they also learned that it is possible for them to lead themselves if they create rules and regulations aligned with the cooperative and country laws.
Moreover, farming and selling crops to the cooperative can be a good way to create a descent income for youth and in that way, the system of an agricultural cooperative agricultural can be a catalyst in effectively decreasing youth unemployment. They can for example become self-employed more easily by applying for credit at the cooperative for farm preparations.
Investing in a processing facility is certainly possible, also for young people; but there needs to be a business and strategic plan for successful loan application. KAYCOS AMCOS applied for and received a loan of nearly 15 million Tanzanian Shilling to build their own feed processing units.
The youth learned various ways to motivate youth to join the cooperative, to increase the number of members, like a youth sports event. Moreover, they gained technical skills on rabbit farming, production and marketing and on constructing the best modern poultry sheds. In addition, they learned about the process of how individual members can create own small maize processing unit and sell maize flour to village members, under the umbrella of the youth cooperative.
KAYCOS AMCOS explained them how to request youth training programs to the cooperative stakeholders at municipal level and how to use various media like radio stations to improve the outreach of cooperative information to the youth members
Last but not least, participants of the exchange visit reported an improved level of self-awareness and self-confidence because of the opportunities they have seen and the things they have learned.
Without youth engagement and active participation in cooperatives, cooperatives and their operations will not be able to sustain in the future. Youth leadership and ongoing training can be a main source of cooperative success, because the youth are the future!
KAYCOS AMCOS ltd Feed Production Unit