The Southern Highlands of Tanzania, or the breadbasket of the country as the region is often referred to, produces plenty of fruits and vegetables as well as rice and maize. Though Tanzania has a booming youth population, agribusiness is not their first career choice, even if it offers great opportunities to earn a good income and build a strong and competitive business. For that reason, Rikolto wants to support 100 youth and women per year to set up a successful business.
Food systems across the Southern Highlands are characterised by unsustainable practices and poor inclusion:
But there are even more challenges for youth and innovative ideas:
Food systems across the Southern Highlands are characterised by unsustainable practices and poor inclusion. A first challenge is the food contamination of grains, fresh fruits and vegetables. Agri-enterprises are poorly organised, leading to the use of poor-quality inputs and the production of low-quality goods. Limited access to new technologies and farming techniques, effects the cultivation process of farmers, especially for smallholder farmers. Environmental issues such as soil erosion and water loss, remain important problems that are only exacerbated by climate change. Additionally, inadequate storage facilities and the limited use of cold trucks contribute to large post-harvest losses. Safe and healthy fruits and vegetables are hard to find, and dietary diversity is low, leading to a high prevalence of malnutrition among children. This is one of the causes of stunting and waisting.
Youth face even more challenges within the region. Due to high unemployment rates, young people struggle to develop innovative and sustainable food businesses. This is also caused by the limited access to resources and lack of agribusiness and entrepreneurship skills. Besides, sustainable and fair food systems require innovative solutions, creativity and a break from business as usual, but investing in innovative business ideas can be risky.
To tackle these challenges, Rikolto and its partner Sahara Ventures developed a Generation Food Accelerator to support 100 young entrepreneurs each year in the specific wards in Iringa, Njombe, Mbeya, Songwe and Katavi that are part of the EU programme. This accelerator will offer a range of skills and networking opportunities to youth to strengthen their businesses.
Some examples of specific activities are the following:
The project will contribute to the following objectives:
Ultimately, the project will contribute to our vision of sustainable and fair food systems in the Southern Highlands that increase the accessibility of safe and healthy food to all consumers, generates a fair income for all actors throughout the chain and reduces the ecological impact on the planet.
The Generation Food Accelerator in the Southern Highlands is a project that runs from May 2021 to May 2024. It will focus on young women and men between 18 and 35 from both rural and urban areas with a strong interest in developing their own business in the horticulture sector, such as young graduates, unemployed youth, and farmers.
We expect to target (each year):
This document has been produced with the financial assistance of the European Union. The contents of this document are the sole responsibility of Rikolto and can under no circumstances be regarded as reflecting the position of the EU.