Agriculture Commercialization (AGCOM) has encouraged youths to venture into agri-business so that they can assist government in creating one million jobs.
National Project Coordinator for AGCOM, Teddie Oliver Nakhumwa said this on Thursday during a media briefing at Bingu International Convention Centre (BICC) in Lilongwe.
He said government is implementing a six-year AGCOM nation-wide project from 2018 to 2023 with a World Bank loan estimated at US$ 95 million.
The project aims at supporting a minimum of 300 Productive Alliances (PAs) and 100, 000 farming households in the country.
“We encourage youths to create cooperatives and farmer organisations so that they can develop and submit their proposals on the selected agriculture value chains covering crops, horticulture, livestock and aquaculture,” he said.
He assured that qualified youth organisations and cooperatives will be awarded AGCOM matching grant that would transform young farmers from subsistence to commercial and able to employ other youth in the country.
Chikumbutso Khalidwe, 28, who is a fourth-year-student at Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR), thanked AGCOM for giving them chance to take part in the project.
“I will engage my fellow students to formulate a cooperative that would be able to fulfill AGCOM goals of changing youth farmers from subsistence to commercial,” Khalidwe pointed out.
He said the group will cultivate groundnuts, tomatoes, and practice aquaculture fisheries and livestock such as dairy, cattle poultry and honey.
He added that their cooperative would assist them create job opportunities and able to employ others.
Early this year, Mtendere Tea and Horticulture Cooperative Society Limited from Thyolo, Minyali Cotton Marketing Secondary Cooperative Society Limited from Chikwawa and Cheka Integrated Agriculture-Aquaculture Cooperative Society Limited from Ntchisi were awarded the grant.
Mtendere Cooperative received K48 million, Minyali K80.9 million and Cheka K37.9 million.