Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Building capacity of youth in rice entrepreneurship brings new hope to Senegal

Over 100 young Senegalese from the Senegal River Valley gained technical knowledge and entrepreneurial skills related to the rice value chain thanks to the project ‘Promoting youth entrepreneurship and job creation in the West African rice value chain’ (PEJERIZ).

The training course, which was conducted at the AfricaRice Regional Training Center in Saint Louis, Senegal, 15-26 October 2018, focused on entrepreneurship, integrated rice crop management, rice processing, rice commercialization and service provision.

The PEJERIZ project is a partnership between the ACP-EU Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA), AfricaRice and the Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture to build and strengthen entrepreneurial capacities, create market linkages and enhance livelihoods of the rural youth in Mali and Senegal by actively engaging them in the improvement of rice value chains, leading to sustainable employment and economic growth.

Africa has the largest population of young people in the world, with some 200 million aged between 15 and 24, who account for 60% of the continent’s jobless people. The need to create sustainable economic opportunities in the agriculture sector to engage rural youth is urgent. AfricaRice strongly believes that the rice sector has the potential to employ many of the 17 million young people who enter the job market in sub-Saharan Africa each year.

Specifically, the PEJERIZ course trained the Senegalese youth in principles and skills relating to entrepreneurship, leadership and personal development; basic concepts of financial management; improved cropping practices through an integrated rice management approach; rice processing and marketing techniques; and the knowledge and appropriate tools for service provision relating to the rice value chain.

The interactive course, blending theory and practical sessions, was conducted by a team of subject-matter specialists. Representatives from AfricaRice and partners such as the Regional Direction of Rural Development of Saint Louis (DRDR), the National Agricultural Research Institute of Senegal (ISRA), the National Department of Land Management (SAED) and the University Gaston Berger incubator as well as media agencies were invited.

 “Our aim is to strengthen the capacity of the youth in technical aspects relating to the rice value chain as well as enhance their entrepreneurial skills,” said Dr Mandiaye Diagne, PEJERIZ Project Coordinator. “We hope this will pave the way for a more robust rice enterprise sector and our youth can earn a decent living.”