Best Ideas 2019 features all the nominated entries submitted under ‘Submit your Idea’ category. All the entries consist of innovative solutions or propositions for an enterprise that champions the Sustainable Development Goals. They can be on the conceptual, planning, or start-up stage.
No-till Organic farming for Youth employment
Explain your idea in details:
The main objective of the project is to establish the first-ever no-till organic farm academy that aims at training, supporting and motivating youth farmers to increase their participation in the agricultural value chain for employment, economic development and food security. No-till organic system is a concept of farming in which we do no tillage of the soil. It requires less capital to start, and it is less labour intensive, more productive and profitable, and climate-smart. The high labour intensive and low productive and profitable nature of agriculture discourages youths from grabbing opportunities in the agricultural value chain. The grasses are mowed and covered cardboards to stop photosynthesis, eventually, they will rot and turn to manure and support microbial activities. Compost is applied to the soil and seedlings are grown to suppress the weeds from growing again. This improves soil carbon which supports rapid plant growth. The academy will also introduce other innovations to reduce the effects of post-harvest losses. Women are mostly forced to sell their crops at lower prices to avoid total losses. We will introduce simple affordable post-harvest losses prevention which includes the use of charcoal to construct a cool storage room, solar drying chimney for preservation, red brick walls with sand and water drips cool storage and coolbot for a long time storage of crops.
Expected impact of your idea on sustainable development
This project will increase youth employment opportunities, economic development and national food security by reducing the demotivating factors stopping youths from seeing agriculture as the most ideal occupation for income generation and development. The Gambian youths are affected by high rates of unemployment, poverty and a high dependency ratio. This leaves young people without options to succeed, forcing many to travel illegally by land and sea to Europe and engage in other illegal activities. Young people with incredible potential have nowhere to go. The project will train, motivate and support youths to use agriculture as an option for employment and economic development. Since no-till organic farming is more productive and profitable than other the existing farming systems, It will create employment opportunities for youths in the agricultural value chain which will increase food production in The Gambia for food security. It will also help The Gambian farmers produce healthier crops for the citizens. The project will also help reduce illegal migration of our youths in search of greener pasture. The metrics for this project is the numbers of youth farmers and entrepreneurs trained and supported to establish their own businesses and farms to supply food to the population. Besides the training, the academy performance metric will include the amount of food supplied to the markets to feed the people. Externally, we will also us the number of youth employed through the project and their income status, national reports on agriculture's contribution to the GDP and vegetables imported from other countries. This is mainly geared towards knowing the impact of the project on combating food insecurity and youth unemployment. The training records, established farms and agribusinesses, supplies of food by the youth farms and the academy, increased in youth employment in the agricultural value chain in The Gambia.
Plans for implementation and sustainability
The no-till organic farm academy will operate as a business to serve the youths of the country. It will train and support youths in no-till organic farming for youth employment and economic development while growing crops, rearing livestock and sell them for reinvestment and sustainability of the program. The farm will create more employment opportunities by hosting interns, training them and support them to establish their own farms who will provide part of the labour during the training. It will supply its produce to youths in the agricultural value chain to support them establish their own businesses in the agribusiness especially women. They will sell this produce within the community markets for food security and take the profits and return the farms share to the farm. The main product is the concept of No-Till Organic farming practices with simple technologies that will attract youths into agricultural value chain by eliminating their challenges on its high labour intensiveness, low productivity and low profitability, also supply the product to others in the market to establish agribusinesses and food security.
Born to a farming community on November 14, 1985. I started working with farmers immediately after completing my High School education by mobilizing youths to form a small community-based organization called the Shepherds and Livestock Owners Association to fight against the ever increasing livestock theft in the community. Due to the success of the organization, it was embraced by other communities, it expanded and increased its membership to the district, regional and then to national level to form the National Livestock Owners Association of The Gambia in which I am the Secretary General. In 2015, I was appointed as the National Youth Coordinator of National Coordinating Organization for Farmers Association The Gambia (NACOFAG) Youth College. During my service with the farmers, I attended The Gambia College to be trained as an Agriculture Teacher from 2008 to 2011. I used the knowledge gain from the college to train farmers especially youth farmers. In 2018, the McCain Institute for International Leadership in the USA selected me to take part in a one-year leadership training program specialized in Agriculture. In this training, I focused on No-till Organic farming with some simple affordable techniques for farmers. The NACOFAG Youth College comprises youths who have a minimum of 5 years in agricultural production. These people will train farmers in the field on production headed by me.