The primary objective of this program is to enhance the entrepreneurial acumen of young individuals by helping them conceptualize, manage, and expand their promising and inventive ideas. This marks the official completion of the first phase of the program on October 13, 2023. This Horticulture project is slated for completion by 2025, with numerous young entrepreneurs set to receive training on bolstering horticulture practices to increase yields, enhance product value, and tap into lucrative markets.
During the closing ceremony, Fred Mugisha, the Chief Finance and Operations Officer at AEE Rwanda, underscored the significance of engaging youth in agriculture as a means to bring in fresh, capable hands and instigate positive transformations. Mugisha expressed gratitude to the European Union, Tearfund, and all project partners, including the Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Youth, NAEB, RYAF, districts, and other collaborating institutions and organizations working towards the development of Rwanda. He also acknowledged the commitment of the participating youth to embrace professional agriculture.
Graduates of the training program are eager to implement the knowledge they have gained into their projects. Additionally, they are poised to use the Rwf1 million funding to expand their agricultural products. For example, Emelyne Mukamugema, a chili farmer, highlighted how the program enhanced her understanding of chili processing, enabling her to produce chili powder and chili oil. She plans to utilize the financial support to expand her operations, acquire essential equipment, and seek additional funding from partners to bring her vision to fruition.
Nzamutashya Jean Pierre, specializing in sustainable and climate-resilient agriculture, emphasized the importance of selecting the right project, developing a business plan, managing, and collaborating with supportive partners. Pierre aspires to extend his impact globally by sharing his newfound knowledge with farmers worldwide, aiming to improve their farming practices, businesses and lives.
The entrepreneurs have been trained in four distinct categories: six of them focused on value addition, particularly for chili, while two received training in modern agricultural practices that conserve soil and adapt to climate change. An additional five entrepreneurs received training in compost production and pesticide making, and another five were educated in the use of modern and automated irrigation technology.
Uwiringiye Simeon, the project’s Manager at AEE Rwanda, underlined the training’s goal of making a difference in the realm of vegetable and fruit farming by equipping passionate young individuals with the requisite knowledge. He urged the trained youth to persist in their endeavors and assured them of continued support and monitoring. He also called upon project partners to support these youth in utilizing their newfound knowledge productively.
Simeon expressed gratitude to Agri Research Unguka Ltd, YEAN, IPRC Gishari, and Nyarutarama Business Incubation Center for their invaluable contributions to the project, as well as RYAF and the districts of Gasabo, Bugesera, Rwamagana, and Kayonza for their ongoing support.
Representing the Ministry of Agriculture in the event, Mukamugena Alice, an expert in horticulture value addition and market department at Minagri, emphasized the ministry’s role in daily monitoring of such activities. She stressed the importance of collaboration with various agencies to ensure that these projects reach their full potential. She lastly said that MINAGRI will continuously point out possible opportunities that the youth can grab.
The AEE Rwanda disclosed that an initial investment of around Rwf35 million was made in the first phase of the training program.