International Youth Day: Celebrating the Youth Agripreneurs transforming Africa’s Food Systems

International Youth Day is commemorated annually on August 12 to appreciate the role youth play in different sectors of the economy. In the agriculture sector, the youth have been at the forefront with new innovations solving food system challenges and creating additional employment opportunities for their peers. This is despite existing challenges such as inadequate access to finance and land among others.

To celebrate the occasion, Generation Africa in partnership with VC4A held a webinar themed “Intergenerational solidarity: creating a world for all ages” to highlight young agripreneurs’ contributions towards food and nutrition security.

The webinar aimed to promote sharing and learning about successful models of youth transforming food systems while highlighting their contributions towards food and nutrition security. The youth agripreneurs also discussed current challenges they were facing and stakeholders provided solutions for their businesses to attract financing, market, and business development support services. A fascinating audience of agripreneurs and stakeholders supporting the youth attended the webinar.

Idoko Nnaedozie George, Founder of Solaristique in Nigeria; Jannifer Muthike, Founder of Dudu Masters Limited in Kenya; and Oumar Diouck, Communication Lead at Heifer Senegal were all present to discuss their role towards food systems transformation and share opportunities available for youth, respectively. Read more about them below.

Mejury Shiri, the VALUE4HER Coordinator at AGRA, and Tracy Kimathi, Founder of Baridi Kenya and  2021 GoGettaz Agripreneur Prize Winner jointly moderated the webinar.

Speaker Highlights:

Jannifer Muthike Founder of Dudu Masters Limited in Kenya

Jannifer Muthike, is an entomologist and the founder of Dudu Masters Limited, an insect company that produces organic fertilizer and protein feed for animals. To bridge the existing knowledge gap between academia and industry, they partner with secondary schools and vocational training centers where they train students and raise awareness about insect farming. They raise insects such as black soldier flies, mealworms for chickens, crickets that feed on grain waste, and red bombs that feed on waste from animal manure.

Muthike advises youth to ensure that they have a strong support system, be consistent, conduct a lot of research, and apply for open grants and innovation challenges to access financial resources for the scale-up of their enterprises.  

Idoko Nnaedozie George, Founder of Solaristique in Nigeria

Solaristique recycles old refrigerators into solar-powered freezers, enabling them to reach out to communities with limited or no access to electricity. Because not everyone can afford freezers due to the cost, they designed ice blocks that take 48 hours to defrost as opposed to traditional ice blocks. As a result, food losses have been reduced by more than 30%, and traders have increased their revenue by more than 25%.

One of its products, ‘Ayogu,’ is a detachable tricycle mobile solar freezer specially designed for cooling drinks, especially helpful for transporting dairy products to markets, stalls, or homes. Once at the destination, the freezer and the solar panel can easily be detached from the tricycle, enabling consumers to get fresh products. This prototype model has a 150 liter capacity and can be scaled up to 1000 liters.

Nnaedozie recommends young people to stay imaginative, develop affordable products, and find a good mentor to help them on their agripreneurship journey.

Oumar Diouck, Communication Lead, Heifer Senegal

Heifer International recently commissioned a study, “The Future of African Agriculture: An Assessment of the Role of Youth and Technology” with an aim to understand technological innovation in agriculture, its adoption rate, barriers to entry, scalability, and the potential impact on agricultural development across the continent. The study revealed that only 23% of youth engaged in agriculture use some form of technology.

To address this challenge, Heifer International launched the AYuTe Africa Challenge. Which stands for Agriculture Youth Technology. The competition awards cash grants of up to US$1.5 million annually to the most promising young agritech innovators across Africa.

Heifer International has joined forces with other like-minded institutions to provide more opportunities such as training, sensitizations, funding and networking opportunities with other industry stakeholders to support youth modernizing and leverage on the scalability of their agricultural practices.

If you missed the webinar, never fear: the video recording is available here: