International Youth Day 2021: How the F2F Program is Transforming Food Systems through Youth Innovation

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Youth between the ages of 15 and 35 comprise 67% of the Tanzanian labor force. This group has the potential to make significant contributions to agriculture and food production as well as drive positive change within their communities and beyond. To further unlock this potential, the USAID-funded IESC Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) Access to Finance Program addresses challenges and barriers in the agro-financing ecosystem to support youth in Tanzania. Since 2018, the program has made notable achievements in implementing this objective.

One collaboration in particular is with the Sokoine University Graduate Entrepreneurs Cooperative (SUGECO). SUGECO’s mission is to support university graduates in Tanzania to succeed in agriculture through a variety of experiences and opportunities. Through the support of IESC’s F2F program, SUGECO has received technical assistance in two major areas: improving their communication strategy and developing their strategic plan and vision. Through both locally-based and remote U.S. F2F volunteer-led training workshops, SUGECO has established sustainable revenue streams and implemented the organization’s programs more effectively.

One of these programs that SUGECO offers its members is its flagship internship program. This program engages new graduates to work on farms in the U.S. and Israel for one year to receive hands-on farm training. Novatus and Iteyo, pictured above, are among the more than 100 youth who had the opportunity to work abroad through this program. Both are now back in Tanzania implementing successful agriculture projects and sharing the knowledge gained from the experience by training others. Specifically, Novatus was trained on improving horticulture crop production and Iteyo studied the production of beneficial insects. Using their newly attained knowledge, the pair have been hired as consultants to help run a farm which belongs to the Catholic Diocese of Kondoa in Dodoma, Tanzania. Through F2F’s technical assignments and the support of local Tanzanian volunteers as well as U.S.-based remote volunteers, Tanzanian youth are making major impacts on their local and regional food systems.