Fail, recalibrate, adapt, achieve: how Yapasa used the market systems approach to create opportunities for Zambia's rural youth

Short description

It seems like an increasing number of development initiatives have set-out to create youth employment in small-scale agriculture, however, creating these opportunities is easier said than done. The challenges in small-scale agriculture are vast, the potential reward is limited and laden with risk, and the opportunities few. Rural youth know first-hand how tough agriculture can be – they’ve worked their family farms and have survived on subsistence for as long as they remember. And as the challenges aren’t going away any time soon, they are migrating away toward cities across Sub-Saharan Africa in search of a better living.

That raises the question, can opportunities for rural youth in agriculture be created? The Yapasa project in Zambia set-out to not only find these opportunities for rural youth but also create them using the market systems approach. This brief dives into Yapasa’s four and a half year journey, which included a series of early missteps and strategic recalibrations, to ultimately deliver better business and employment opportunities for those that need them most. The process was slow and difficult, but in the end, Yapasa managed to address some key market constraints – which plague smallholder farmers the world over – to support over 14,000 rural businesses and improve more than 5,000 jobs, 2,000 of which were for youth.

Tags: youth employment, rural employment, employment creation, income generating activities, young workers, rural workers, rural development, agribusiness, agricultural development, agriculture, youth, value chains,

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