Q1) How would you describe your experience as an Africa youth engaged in the agriculture sector in your country ? What motivated you to engage into the agriculture sector
Sierra Leone is blessed with a rich agriculture soil in especially our District Kono. Being rich agricultural as a District can support it citizens with necessaries food if properly invested. Growing as child, agriculture is term as a poor and old man job because only subsistence farming in being taken in the country especially my district which is not enough to support even the household on a yearly not to talk of the family. As a result of this our parent’s advice to go school and not even pay attention to anything that has to do with agriculture as it the field for the poor people.
What to add to the discouragement in agriculture is the school setting, the teachers also use agricultural work as punishments for those who misbehaved in school. So we the young people growing up see agriculture as a complete slavery for people and no profit.
After my high school, I started looking at all the things we use at home and put more our finances into for the home to look better. I came to learn that 80% of our expenditure at home goes in agriculture materials especially food. In 2013, we formed a team and take survey of the agriculture food items that imported in to our country which is to be grown by we the citizens. We then came to learn that for only our District Kono on a yearly: Rice $ 1 500,000 is imported in to the District poultry products $ 1,000,000 fish $ 800,000 and corn milk and onion $ 700,000 to name but few. Upon that we agreed that for any country to develop its citizen especially youths most embark on mechanize and productive agriculture to improve on the livelihood, employment and develop the economic.
In April 2015 we came together and formed the Yormatah Youth Farmers Association-Kamara, YYFA which AIM; Commitment to sustainable economic empowerment of youths, in the agriculture, food security sector and the use of natural resources to meet the demands of future generations of youths. This as a concerted effort is done through support from stake-holders and partners thereby enhancing development of youths
VISION: YYFA sees a positive youth generation emerging as useful adults capacitated to make meaningful contributions to the development aspirations of their communities.
MAIN FOCUS: Empowerment of rural youths through sustainable farming related and income generation activities for youths.
Our experiences as Youth Farmers has always being challenging in the area of access to land, finance, improve farming equipment and support from stakeholders, where mining companies are dominating farming to access the facilities. As it is now there is no tractor in the Kono District to encourage for we the farmers to embark on the large mechanize farming. Our immediate solution to this tractor challenge we are able to mobilize our young members to engage on three hours ploughing of the land as way to achieve target for this years.
Q2. What have been your major achievements? Do you have any experience or innovative ways that have helped you in your work that you would want to share? Do you have a success story – either your own or any other that you are aware of - of youth engaged in agriculture in your country? What is the story?
Our successes over the years as Youth Farmers are as follows:
- Acquiring of 30 acres of land
- Construction of operational office.
- Mini poultry farm funded United Nation Food and Agricultural Organization.
- Fish pound funded United Nation Food and Agricultural Organization.
- Training of other youth farming in the district.
- Yearly vegetable production.
Our innovation in solving communities’ problems in agriculture is through practical way we have started with three young people whom we called community solution volunteers in the SGDs pillar 1, 2 and 13.
The volunteer have help in turning three mini out pits in to fish pound, created local battery cage in poultry, Promoted and development mini out inland swamp into productive agricultural places for rural farmers.
Through our lobby innovative we were able to have found and land from our local authority the paramount chief to support us in building our operational office