The youth councils of PKWI and Kibinge Coffee Farmers’ Co-operative Society organised an exchange visit in August 2018. One of the goals of this visit was to learn from each other's leadership models and daily operations by building a sustainable partnership amongst the youth. Moreover, to improve farming practices, learning more about cooperatives in general, finding solutions to making farming a business and sharing experiences by conducting farm visits.
During the 4-day exchange visit, the youth learned about the importance of having a youth group in the cooperative, how to speak in public, recordkeeping and what kind of roles youth can take up within the cooperative (farm management, land management and becoming part of the staff). The youth also discussed about the limitations in agriculture and the way forward to go about these limitations jointly, as a youth council.
During the farm visit the following key issues were identified: diseases like coffee wilt, leaf rust and black coffee twig borer. Technical solutions for the way forward were being discussed, such as spraying, cutting of affected plants, pruning intercropping with other crops like bananas and adopting coffee varieties that grow better.
Another issue brough to the table was farm succession. The youth is now promoting a sustainable succession plan of the family farms, with the aim of leaving the farm intact and prepare it for further growth in the following generations.
It is clear that there is a shift going on, whereby youth are taking up various (new) roles within the cooperative. These roles come with responsibilities which might be new to the youth as well as the cooperative. They may require certain knowledge and skills, which will be developed and taught to the youth by their mentors in the cooperative.
In general, the in-country exchange between youth groups generated a lot of enthusiasm. Most costs were covered by the youngsters themselves. Agriterra contributed to the payment of the bus and driver, to bring the youth together and safely to the other part of the country.