THE Ministry of Agriculture has announced a call for grant and soft loan applications for youth and women in farming activities as part of the Building a Better Tomorrow: Youth Initiative for Agribusiness (BBT-YIA) programme.
According to BBT-YIA booklet, over the course of eight years, the programme aims to achieve 12,000 profitable enterprises across 12,000 villages in Tanzania, by training 200,000 youths and engaging 20,000 young people in internship programmes as well as mentoring and coaching 15,000 youth-led agribusinesses through incubation programmes.
This financial initiative, which will be provided through the Agricultural Input Trust Fund (AGITF), was announced in a call note published on the ministry’s website.
The application period for these financial opportunities runs from January 15th, 2023, to April 30th, 2023.
The BBT programme aims to address the challenges faced by young people and women in the agriculture sector, including access to land, capital, technology, and markets.
The announcement states that the initiative will provide grants and soft loans to youths and women involved in commercial crop value chains to support the growth of a sustainable and successful agribusiness sector.
“To be eligible for the programme, applicants must be a Tanzanian youth aged 18-40 years and have experience in agricultural activities,” the announcement says.
They must also be actively engaged in an agricultural enterprise at the time of application, using land that is theirs or family’s or rented (with specific conditions for those who are renting).
The Tanzanian government is using BBT programme to support the growth of a thriving agribusiness sector and address the challenges faced by young people and women in the agriculture sector.
The selected beneficiaries will be divided into four clusters: youth entrepreneurs in established agribusinesses, youth entrepreneurs whose agribusinesses are yet to be established, youth trained to be the workforce in established agribusinesses, and youth with no interest in agriculture.
The BBT-YIA programme will be funded through a combination of government resources, development partners, NGOs, and the private sector with the Ministry of Agriculture serving as the facilitator and coordinator for the BBT-YIA programme.
In Tanzania, there are approximately 16 million youths, where about 51 per cent are those aged 15-24 years, and another 46.6 per cent are those aged 25-34 years engaged in farming.
In the course, off-farm agri-food systems provide employment opportunities for 8 per cent and 16 per cent of youths aged 15-24 years and 25-34 years, respectively.
Other sectors outside of farming and agri-food systems employ around 19 per cent and 31.5 per cent of youths aged 15-24 years and 25-34 years, respectively.
Meanwhile, the ministry has invited local and foreign investors to express their interest in investing in Block Farms through the Building a Better Tomorrow (BBT) programme.
This initiative is aimed at engaging youths and women in the development of Block Farms, creating sustainable and empowering opportunities for these groups.
As the leading producer of crops such as maize, rice, cassava, beans, and more in the region, Tanzania is well-positioned as a food powerhouse and a net exporter of agricultural goods. By investing in block farms through the BBT programme, investors can tap into this success and potentially realise significant returns in the long run.
The ministry has identified 162,492 acres of arable land for crop production in various regions of the country, including Mbeya, Dodoma, Kagera and Kigoma.