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Guinea-Bissau encourages cassava and aquaculture value chains to curb youth unemployment

Women fish processors in West Africa. Photo/Minkoh

Bissau, 25 February 2015 – The Government of Guinea-Bissau and the FAO have launched a project aimed at creating jobs for the youth in the aquaculture and cassava value chains; it is being financed by the Africa Solidarity Trust Fund for agriculture and food security and nutrition (ASTF).    

In sub-Saharan Africa, 60% of the unemployed populations are the youth. Over 72% of the youth live on less than USD2 (1.150 FCFA) a day. The situation is particularly worrying in Guinea-Bissau where the youth aged between 15 and 35 years make up more than 65% of the country’s population and more than 89% of them are unemployed. 

According to Mr. Ildefonse BARROS, Secretary of State for Fisheries and Maritime Economy, the project seeks to attract young people into the aquaculture and cassava sectors. 

The proposed strategy is about initiating a national all inclusive political dialogue on employment creation for the youth and giving them all the needed support to help them set up small and medium aquaculture and cassava businesses, capable of generating decent and sustainable employment.      

In Guinea-Bissau, the agriculture sector has a limited number of youth as part of its manpower. The association of aquaculture and cassava sector operators can reverse this trend; fish and cassava are mutually beneficial to human development,’’ said M. Joachim Laubhouet-Akadie, FAO Representative in Guinea-Bissau. 

“The water and the mud from the aquaculture ponds are excellent fertilizers for the cassava. From the nutritional and food security point of view, cassava is a good source of energy in the human diet just like the fish is a rich source of protein and minerals,’’ he added.   

On his part, Mr. Nathanael Hishamunda, FAO specialist in charge of Aquaculture Economy, Policies and Planning informed that one strategic component of the project is to build the institutional and technical capacities necessary to develop and implement initiatives aimed at creating decent and sustainable employment for the youth. 

The whole project covers six countries in West Africa. It is financed by the FAO managed-Africa Solidarity Trust Fund, with a total budget of about FCFA 2.3 billion, out of which 296 million are allocated to Guinea-Bissau. 

 

Amadu Baba CAMARA

FAO -Guinée-Bissau

(FAOGW) fao-GW@fao.org

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