Farm Concern International, FCI will be participating and exhibiting at The 1st All Africa Post-harvest Congress & Exhibition at Safari Park Hotel in Nairobi from 28th – 31st March 2017. The Congress provides an optimal opportunity for FCI to share its statistical evidence as an Africa-wide agri-market development agency in creating vibrant rural economies through agricultural commercialization, promotion of pre& post-harvest management solutions, value addition and market access. At the FCI exhibition booth, will be post-harvest interventions on cassava processing extending shelf life from 24hrs to 18 Months, AFMA Super Grain Bag hermetic technology, grain post-harvest interventions, labor saving technologies for women, cyanide reduction to promote food safety among others.
At FCI, intervention in Agricultural Value Chains by promotion of appropriate post-harvest technologies and solutions is not an end in itself, but a critical & complimentary component to competitiveness of smallholder farmers in the market place. Increased profitability and better incomes drives FCI’s agenda to create sustainable partnerships enabling smallholders to participate in the marketplace as respectable players.
Cassava is a source of food to approximately 8.6 million people in Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda. Cognizant of this fact, FCI designed a strategy for scale up in the commercialization of cassava; a climate resilient crop. Upon harvest, cassava roots undergo rapid physiological deterioration within 24 - 72 hours rendering them unpalatable and unmarketable. FCI in partnership with various stakeholders has designed innovative technologies for processing cassava into different storable products therefore extending shelf-life from 72 hours to 18 months. Processing technologies promoted by FCI has managed to reduce Cyanide, a poisonous substance inherent in many varieties, to tolerable levels for safe consumption.
Farm Concern International, FCI is deliberate on youth livelihoods and creation of opportunities along the agribusiness value chains that enhance employment for youth. Provision of agri-services in Commercial Villages including cassava chipping & value addition, Commodity transportation, sales coordination and actual crop production has created hopes for youths to be engaged productively within commercial Villages.
FCI firmly believes that farmers are able to make better and informed investment decisions if adequate information is provided to aid in evaluating farm enterprise options. Private Sector driven demand for market intelligence is reminiscent for smallholder farmers therefore FCI invests on their behalf through value chain analysis, market research and cost benefit analysis to enable farmers’ integration in profitable market segments.
FCI Africa Director, Mr. David Ruchiu will be speaking in the Global Food Security Symposium 2017 by Chicago Council on Global Affairs in Washington DC running from 29th -30th March 2017 on “how the agriculture sector is emerging an opportunity not only for the next generation, but continent as a whole”. Mr. Ruchiu will be sharing emerging statistical evidence on how Farm Concern international has been changing the narrative of spiralling youth unemployment in Africa through successful retention of youth in Commercial Villages and initiation of entrepreneurship programmes for creation of employment.The event whose theme is Stability in the 21st Century is aimed at convening award winning speakers and delegates from across the world to contribute to design and development of sustainable interventions that foster food security and agri-investments. FCI Board Chair Prof. Meme Kinoti will also be participating in the symposium as a contributor towards its objective of achieving a food secure world.
In Africa, the number of youth is growing rapidly with a population of 226 million youth aged 15-24, accounting for 19% of the global youth population. By 2030, it is projected that the number of youth in Africa will have increased by 42 per cent. Youth account for 60% of all African unemployed, according to the World Bank. According to data from the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in sub-Saharan Africa, the youth unemployment rate averages around 12%. While this is slightly lower than the global youth unemployment rate of 12.4%, the African region has the world’s highest rate of working poverty; people who are employed but earning less than US$2 a day.
Farm Concern International has been changing this narrative through successful retention of youth in Commercial Villages and initiation of entrepreneurship programmes for creation of employment. The Commercial Village Model; designed, tested and upgraded by FCl has been a vehicle of employment creation in Africa. Currently, 1,020,000 members of Commercial Village farmers (30%) are youth who have been capacity built on agri-enterprise planning and management with majority running successful business enterprises and a further over 5 Million influenced in over 24 countries. The Domestic Markets Programme funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and implemented by FCI in Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda and Tanzania transformed the lives of 115,491 Smallholder Farmers with 32% being youth farmers. Employment further reveals the multiplier effect beyond target direct clients of the Domestic Markets Programme to an additional 682,565 people benefiting through employment.
FCI’s experience has proven that commercialization at the village level triggered higher demand for labor increasing wages up to 75%. FCI Commercial Village data is increasingly including employment and value paid in annual amounts to farm employees with special focus on value chain-wide employment for women and youth.
FCI VISION : To have commercialized smallholder communities with increased incomes for improved, stabilized & sustainable livelihoods in Africa and beyond