Best Projects 2019 features all the nominated entries submitted ‘Submit your Project’ category. All the entries consist of innovative projects run by existing enterprises in the form of businesses, NGOs or informal programs.
Munda Wathu (Our Farm) by Foundation for Agribusiness and Youth Empowerment (FAYE), Malawi
Explain your project in details:
Munda Wathu (which means Our farm in English) is social business model, whereby the Foundation for Agribusiness and Youth Empowerment (FAYE) and Youth Clubs are jointly acquiring land and invest on it. The idea came after several consultative meetings with youth clubs of Traditional Areas of Kalolo, Mbwatalika and Malili where lack of access to land and startup capital were core challenges raised by the youths. For example, during FGDs with Gaba youth club in Lilongwe rural, one young lady said that rising in population has led to commodification of land in the area and land prices, which are exacerbated by land acquisition by urban elites. She lamented that the rural youths are not able to compete with these urban elites on the land market. Following these discussions with rural youths FAYE came up with idea of Munda Wathu to provide a solution to the constraints the rural youths were facing. The aim of Munda Wathu is to engage youths to actively participate in and take control of agriculture value chains. In this model FAYE works directly with already established youth clubs to address social inequities. FAYE provides funds that the youth clubs use to rent land and buy necessary agriculture inputs such as improved seeds and chemicals. FAYE also provides extension services, including access to market, to the youth clubs while the youth clubs provide production labour. The youth clubs decides what agriculture business to venture to do. Total costs incurred by FAYE on each youth club activities is calculated. The labour provided by youth club members is also imputed based on prevailing labor wages for the specific task in the area. Revenue generated from the youth club activities is shared with FAYE based on the ratio of how much each party contributed to the costs
Impact of your enterprise on sustainable development
The program is being piloted with rural youths of TA Kalolo and TA Malili in Lilongwe district with 60 youths from 2 youth clubs. Each youth club produced Soybean on 3-hectare land and according to our business plan with one of the youth club we were expecting to spend K260,000 ($361) to produce the crop on one-hectare land, but we spent K207,000 ($276)/ha. On the yield our target was 1500kgs/ha, but we have managed 1000kg/ha at least above the average yield of soybean in Malawi which is 800kgs/ha (GoM, 2014), and following current prices of soybean which is ranging from K220($0.29)/kg to K250($0.33)/kg, we can earn not more than K1,500,000 for the entire 6000kgs of soybean that we have realized with the two youth clubs. FAYE targeted only two youth clubs with only three hectares of land for each in the piloting stage of this programme because we did not have enough resources since all operations of FAYE are solely from my meager resources from survey enumeration employment opportunities that I do undertake sometimes. I am sure that if the program can target more youth clubs with at least bigger land size can bring more impact in the rural youths and the community. In summary, the program was being piloted with two youth clubs and a total land of 6ha was used. FAYE contributed K432,000($576) for land rentals, certified seed, inoculum and plastic bags, while the youth clubs contribute K810,000 ($1080) in form of labour for entire production activities. This means our total cost was K1,242,000($1656). We have realized 6000kgs of soybean of which we are waiting for better prices to sell at a better profit.
Sustainability and future plans
The next production year (2019/2020), FAYE is planning to up scale the programme and reach out to 150 youths from five youth clubs in the rural areas of Lilongwe. As such a total land of 60ha will be required for the program with 12ha per each youth club. FAYEs total budget for all operations this year is budgeted at K10,000,000($13,333). This cost will include: cost of land, certified seed, chimicals, consultation meetings and training workshops. The labour cost will be contributed by youths as explained in the model of the business above. The establishment introduction of the concept to the youths in new targeted areas will be carried on from June to October before the start of the production season. In the long run, as one among the objectives of Munda Wathu approach is to increase agro-processing of different products in the agriculture value chains to seize existing domestic market opportunities, FAYE has come up with three products that it intends to be processing from soybean. This will be achieved by procurering soybean flour processing machine in the next two years and plant it nearest our working areas (Chitipi) to enable easy access to the produce from the beneficiaries (youths). This will again engage more youths along the agriculture value chains not only on production side as some will be employed as marketing agents for the processed products.
Your profile as an entrepreneur
My name is Aubrey Mchonkhwe, born on 25th December, 1989 in Kasungu district, Malawi. I am the Director of Foundation for Agribusiness and Youth Empowerment (FAYE), an organisation that was founded in 2016 and incorporated with the Trustees Incorporation Rules in 2017. I graduated from Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR) with a Bachelors in Agribusiness Management in August, 2016. I was inspired by the Agribusiness Courses at LUANAR that encouraged an entrepreneurial spirit. After graduating I decided to establish FAYE as a means of empowering other youths to be self-employed and utilize their skills to employ others. The idea started when I realized that many young people especially in rural areas lack skills to run small scale businesses. With my skills gained from LUANAR, I am among the few that have those skills in theory. The critical problem is unemployment or underemployment, even among the youths that graduated from colleges and universities. As a result, many youths have the skills but no opportunity to utilize them on the ground.