Milking the opportunities left behind

19 November 2021

Youth migration from rural to urban areas is often attributed to a lack of employment in the rural areas. Statistically, more youth crowd up the cities searching for better opportunities, and those who stay back may find opportunities for income and livelihood in excess. In Kyotera District, Uganda, just like in many other countries, this is the case.

 

Trainees
ENABLE-TAAT livestock training participants, Diana and Sumaiya from Rakai, in Kyotera District, Uganda.

In 2020, Diana Nikum and Sumaiah Nakate were caught up in the COVID-19 pandemic-induced lockdown that caused many schools and organizations to shut down. They took the opportunity to participate in livestock training through the youth compact of the Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT) project.

After the training, both ladies purchased five exotic breed sheep. They herded the sheep on a massive expanse of land abandoned by those who went to cities searching for opportunities.

Eight months later, they had grown their enterprise from five to 105 sheep, with a projection to have up to 130 sheep before the end of the year. With very minimal input, both ladies are running a profitable business. “There is so much grass around for the sheep to eat, and we get free vaccines from other herders in the community,” Diana said during an interview. The ladies have the vision to diversify into value addition as the enterprise expands further.

Apart from the technical training, the youth compact, also known as ENABLE-TAAT, also renders business development services. Diana and Sumaiah have now developed their business plan and have received funding from Equity Bank Uganda to expand the enterprise.

Sponsored by the African Development Bank (AfDB) as part of its Feed Africa Initiative, TAAT’s main objective is to improve the business of agriculture across Africa by raising agricultural productivity, mitigating risks, and promoting diversification and processing in 18 agricultural value chains within eight priority intervention areas.

Led by IITA, ENABLE-TAAT provides capacity building and technical assistance to establish and expand youth-led agribusiness enterprises along TAAT value chains, such as high iron beans, cassava, fish, maize, small livestock, rice, and orange-fleshed sweet potato.