Mpongwe youth resetlement project challenges
Youth from Daff Society has finally been trained in business planing and proposal writing and 10 of our member acquired a piece of land 5 hactares each and a house built already by the Ministry of Sport Youth and Child Development in Mpongwe.
Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) if well planned and harnessed have the ability to bridge the digital divide and accelerate the rate of growth of economic groups that have traditionally been marginalized. They enhance accuracy and efficiency in work output at all levels of production in not only agricultural fields but also in all rural developmental strategies. Furthermore, they have the potential to provide effective collaboration among practitioners engaged in similar practices for exchange of ideas, experiences, challenges, knowledge sharing which broadens practitioner’s knowledge base and consequently improves work output.
The Copperbelt Province of Zambia has in the recent last two decades experienced an increase in a lot of people taking up agriculture as the main source of living and business. The Government of the Republic of Zambia has put up policies and strategies aimed at enhancing access to agricultural land, inputs, livestock and training to the locals through The Ministry of Agriculture and Co-operatives. Lately, the Ministry of Sport, Youth and Child Development in collaboration with the Land Resettlement Scheme under the Vice President’s office and the Ministry of Agriculture and Co-operatives has combined efforts in equipping youths with agricultural land, inputs/livestock and in some areas little start up capital. This programme aims at providing sustainable livelihood initiatives to youths since most youths in Zambia are not in formal employment or education. This programme has resulted in many youths acquiring land, inputs and training from various parts of Zambia such as Lukanga North Youth Resettlement Scheme on the Copperbelt Province. However, the main challenge faced by these youths is little or limited market exposure of agricultural products. Young farmers have very poor methods of advertisement and marketing for their produce. Owing to this challenge, they are exploited by the few buyers that buy their products as they dictate the price at which to buy from them.
2. Overview of Initiative
In order to address the marketing/advertisement challenge faced by most farmers especially the young person, a tool that could be used to expose specific agricultural products produced by particular youths including contact details to a variety of buyers could be developed. This tool can provide both audio and visual information and would be developed by using Free and Open Source Software such as Dreamweaver and easy Php for web designing, MySQL for databases and Wikipedia for blogs and wikis. This tool is a listing website that can be designed specifically for the marketing of agricultural products for young farmers.
4. Specific Objectives of the Initiative
• Market and Advertise Agricultural products and services for young farmers
• Provide a link between agricultural participants and the users
• Inform users about the type of agricultural products available in a particular area
• Enhance competition among farmers
• Create a standard for marketing prices for agricultural products
• Save people’s time in looking for agricultural products
• Expose various agricultural activities practiced in Zambia
5. Implementation of the Initiative
In order to obtain the database needed to be on the site, a simple structured form would be designed and deployed to be filled in by the young farmers on the Copperbelt Province of Zambia. The form would be designed in such a way that it furnishes the information required to be uploaded on the ‘Find the Young Farmer’ website which would include among other things the name of the farming business, contact person and address, type and category of agricultural products available etc. After the form is filled in, a digital/video camera would be used to capture photos and videos of the particular farmer including the agricultural products that are produced by the farmer for sale. These farmers would be encouraged to get trained in basic ICT literacy to allow them navigate the internet. The information obtained is used to create farmer profiles.
The website can be marketed to all government ministries and departments, telecentres, organizations and also on in the local press and media. By making the site popular, the farmer’s product gets to be marketed and advertised.
In order to run and manage the site, there is need to obtain very good bandwidth. Costs required to pay the hosting Internet Service Provider and any other initiatives made towards enhancing marketing of the products and administration would be realized by making the farmers pay for space. However, this is only possible after the participating young farmers actually realize the benefit of advertising the goods on ‘Find the Young Farmer’ website.
With the implementation of the ‘Find the Young Farmer’ listing website, farmers would have their agricultural products highly advertised and consequently marketed. The farmers would reach out to a variety of customers for their products. Users of the website would save time on looking for farmers having a particular product that they need. It should be noted here that the design, deployment and implementation of the ‘Find the Young Farmer’ website involves the use of ICTs in order to improve access to market for agriculture products from young farmers on the Copperbelt Province
Daff Society Project Coordinator