By Sylvia Kalemera, Kessy Radegunda, Eileen Nchanji, Patricia Onyango, Justin Machini, Owen Kimani, Jean Claude Rubyogo
According to the UN report on Youth 2015, Africa constitutes 19% of the global youth population with 60% of the entire continent aged below 25, making it the youngest continent in the world. In Tanzania, youth unemployment stands at 11.5 %, despite the high economic growth rates in the past decade averaging at 7%. When equipped with knowledge and opportunities, youth can be a strong development force, contributing to the country’s economic growth.
The Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT (Alliance), in collaboration with Tanzania Agriculture Research Institute (TARI) Maruku, have been providing technical support to Tanzanian farmers including youth, through capacity building, in seed production, mechanization, and market linkages with other bean value chain actors. The support has helped young farmers like Pastory Tarasisi to advance and diversify their business portfolio.
Pastory Tarasisi is a 34-year-old youth agribusiness champion based in Kagera region. He is a jack of many trades in beans. He prides himself in agribusiness as a lead farmer, seed producer, crop threshing service provider, local grain aggregator/trader, and an upcoming agro-input supplier. The young farmer plans to use his knowledge and capacity to improve his life and those of other farmers in his community. He started as a lead farmer providing extension services to other farmers, during which, he noted several challenges that many farmers faced and decided to turn them into business opportunities.
Bean seed producer
Having noted the seed availability and accessibility challenges in Missenyi District, TARI Maruku conducted a bean seed production training for farmers in 2015; Pastory was among the trainees. Immediately after the training, he started producing bean seeds. Since then, Pastory has been producing bean seeds and has managed to reach 1,250 farmers with quality seeds in his ward, earning a substantial amount of income, which helped him support his family and expand to other businesses.
However, the road has not always been smooth due to constant climate variability. In the last season of March – June 2020, he only harvested 300kg of Selian 13 from 1.5 acres compared to the 0.9MT on one acre in 2015, due to heavy rains that flooded his farm and destroyed the crop. It is for this reason he decided to diversify his business to minimize future risks.
Upcoming agro input supplier
Through interactions with seed and grain producers, he noted a growing demand for agro-inputs around his village. This sparked his interest to take up a short training course on agro-input marketing and distribution to grow his knowledge. After the training, he bought a plot of land at the village center and built a shop to retail agro-inputs. The registration process for the agro inputs shop (agro vet) has been completed and will be in full operational capacity by the beginning of 2021. Currently, he uses the facility to sell the bean seeds during the cropping season.
Bean threshing service provider
Threshers reduce drudgery and save time for smallholder farmers especially women and youth in Tanzania, who are always engaged in manual threshing. Through the linkage with TARI Maruku and PABRA, Pastory got in touch with Imara Tech Ltd – a thresher fabricator in Tanzania and bought one in March this year and started providing services to farmers. Due to high demand and good profits, he invested in a second thresher within six months of the business. He moves from farm to farm with the thresher on a motorbike traveling up to 52 kilometers (one way) to offer his services (Graph 2). He charges 2.2$ per 100kg of beans. However, farmers located far off are required to have a minimum amount of 500kg. Since he started the threshing services, he has served more than 50 farmers from 8 villages. The business has also earned him a total of Tsh. 1.6 million (approx. US$ 690) in just six months.
His passion has caught the interest of other development partners such as Alliance For Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) who will be providing him with 2 additional threshers, 1 tricycle, and 1 motorcycle on cost sharing basis to enhance his threshing business. Graph 2 shows the villages and distance covered by Pastory.
The Grain aggregator
Pastory has used his experience on seed sales to predict the bean grain demand in and around Missenyi district. He has built a store both for seed and grain. The building has an extra room where his wife has set up a tailoring business to supplement their family income. She will be able to supervise the seed and grain sorting in the shop as she runs her business.
Photo 5 on the left: Pastory at his seed and grain store recently expanded from sales of seed and grain.
Photo 6 on the right: Pastory and his wife and child at their home in Byamutemba village