By Phiwa Sikhondze
In a bid to empower young agripreneurs, the Woman Farmer Foundation (WFF) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Youth Enterprise Revolving Fund (YERF).
The two organizations have committed to collaboration towards the empowerment of a new generation of climate-adaptive and viable youth-led agribusiness and ideas. This partnership was formalized on Friday 13 October 2023 at the YERF offices.
The partnership aims to prepare and guide the youth to successful agripreneurship enterprises by providing technical pieces of training, relevant information and opportunities, mentorship and coaching services, and financial resources to run their agri-businesses.
The founder and Managing Director Sonia Paiva expressed her excitement over this new partnership and emphasized that it will go a long way toward empowering and bringing more productive youth into the agriculture sector. Pavia said that their aim is to actually empower young people and ensure that they are successful entrepreneurs and they become sustainable.
“We are here to be able to empower the young people and look at entrepreneurship and sustainability,” she said.
She added that it is through this partnership that she believes they will have an increased number of graduates from their programmes as WFF.
In his remarks, the YERF Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mandla Nkhambule shared his vision for this partnership. He stated that there is a lot of collaborative work that the two organizations have to do to empower the Youth of Eswatini.
“We need to expose the young people to other areas of agriculture such as food technology, as they are manufacturing at Eswatini Kitchen where they have technologists. We are also looking at other products to support young people to develop the value chain from agro-processing,” he said.
Nkhambule added that this partnership will help close a lot of working gaps that exist in their organization due to a lack of expertise in some areas of work.
He noted the market as one as one area that they should work on by expanding what already exists and promoting market linkages for the young agripreneuers. Nkhambule also mentioned that through this partnership, they hope to have a training school at Sidvokodvo for climate adaptive agriculture where the young agripreneurs can learn more about adaptive farming which protects farming through tunnels.