Best Ideas 2018 features all the nominated entries submitted to the Youth Citizen Entrepreneurship Competition under ‘Submit your Idea’ category. All the entries consist of innovative solution or proposition for an enterprise that champions the Sustainable Development Goals. They can be on the conceptual, planning, or start-up stage. If you want to know the 10 finalists in this category, click HERE
Green Youth Advancement Project/Farmvoz
Explain your idea in details:
One of the greatest challenges facing Ghana is the rising youth unemployment. For many young people seeking employment, moving to urban centers to seek jobs that do not exist becomes their option while others risk their lives through deserts in an attempt to reach Europe. However, agriculture has been identified as one of the potential and important sectors for generating gainful employment for the youth. This project, therefore, seeks to tackle youth migration and unemployment and improve nutrition by creating a network of youth partners for the production of sunflowers and honey using climate-smart farming techniques such as cover cropping, mulching, crop rotation, minimum-to-no soil tillage and use of cost-effective water harvesting methods for irrigation. A climate-smart training center will be established for youth. A sunflower model farm will be established around the training center to serve as a demonstration site for all the climate-smart farming methods. A processing facility comprised of a sunflower oil mill, honey filter press and vacuum evaporator machines will be installed at the center. Prior to this, a youth needs assessment research will be conducted to better understand the youth partners, their needs, expectations and probable challenges in order to develop effective local strategies. Following this, the youth partners will be registered into the project for training as out-growers of sunflowers and producers of honey. The project will involve community leaders from the onset in order to facilitate access to land for the youth partners. The center with the model farm will also serve as place for students and other young people who are not part of the project to visit and learn more about our project and agriculture. A revolving fund will be set up to create opportunities for more youth to be part of the project and also contribute to sustainability.
Expected impact of your idea on sustainable development
This project will build the capacities of many youth to become independent and work on their own farms, creating entrepreneurs and employment opportunities for them (SDG#8) and contributing to poverty reduction (SDG#1). This should reduce migration both in country and outside the country. In the face of climate change, this project will contribute to the a number of young farmers who are conscious about their environment and produce crops in a sustainable and environmentally responsible way to reduce the effects of climate change (SDG#13) resulting from farming. The integration of sunflowers and honey production will support the growth in bee populations in the project area, which will be important for the pollination of other crops in the project area benefiting other farmers who are not part of the project. By connecting to school feeding programs and providing bakeries with quality sunflower grains for incorporation into bread and snacks, we are contributing to nutritious food for many people. Measure of success: (1) The number of youth who will register for the training in year 1; (2) The share of registered youth who will complete the training in year 1 as a percentage of all those who registered; (3) The share of trained youth who will join the project as out-growers or youth partners after the year 1 training has ended as a percentage of all those who completed the training. (4) The percentage of youth who respond, yes to the question did training meet your expectations? (5) The degree to which targets of time and cost are met. Targets: (1) The project is expected to reach 400 to 500 youth partners in the first year. (2) At least 80% expected (3) At least 70% expected (4) At least 85% satisfaction expected (5) Excellent (assessment scale: 1=poor, 5=excellent).
Plans for implementation and sustainability
Produce from the youth partners (out-growers) will supply the processing center. The sunflowers will be processed into edible grains and cooking oil. The honey will be packaged for sale in local shops. The sunflower grains will be sold to local bakeries for adding to bread and pastries. We will connect with school feeding programs that provide snacks for children in rural schools to incorporate sunflower grains for improved nutrition. The oil will be sold to restaurants, roadside food vendors and households. As the project expands, we will strive to reach growing supermarkets with our products. Trained youth sales agents will undertake door-to-door sales campaigns especially during festive occasions when the demand for cooking oil is high in Ghana. The agents will be rewarded based on a commission system. The by-product from the oil processing, a residual cake, will be packaged and sold to poultry farmers for preparation of poultry feed. The main input of sunflowers is the seed and fertilizer and for honey production, the beehive and harvesting equipment. The project will set-up a revolving fund around these inputs in two ways. First, a partnership agreement will be made with local input supplier for seeds and fertilizer for the youth partners so that they can pay back during the harvest period. Second, a committed percentage that is raised from any grant or project rewards through a competition or proposal will be made into the pool of revolving fund to support sustainable production. We intend to raise funds by applying for grants and competitions to get the initial funds for project commencement. Once we fully launch, we will then look for investors who believe in our vision of working with the youth to make an impact, as this is important in order to not lose focus or direction.
After spending sometime working on the frontlines of innovations in ICTs for agriculture, I decided to leave my regular job to pursue a dream I envisioned. As daunting as this may sound, I took the jump. With a backpack containing a camera, an audio recorder and a mobile phone, the journey seemed uncertain but I was confident. The idea was simple: to talk to smallholder farmers in their natural farming environment and use research and storytelling to connect their voices to a global audience. Well, after several months on the road, traveling to remote areas in Ghana and spending time with smallholder farmers and the youth on their farms, I learned so much from this journey and I have a lot to share to inspire the youth in agriculture. This journey has inspired me for the next phase of my initiative to contribute to tackling some of the major challenges affecting the youth. This project aims to create a network of youth partners, establish a processing facility and a climate-smart training center with a site to serve as a demonstration field to support the youth partners for a sunflower-honey integration project in the Brong-Ahafo region in Ghana. I was born in 1984. Coming from a farming family, I was motivated to study agriculture in Ghana and I got the opportunity to further study rural economics and management at the University of Ghent in Belgium. Passionate about agriculture and rural development, I moved back to Ghana right after my studies and proceeded to work there as a field researcher on several agricultural research projects. I have had the opportunity to speak at conferences in South Africa, the Netherlands and in Belgium about youth and agriculture.