A consortium made up of Youth Engagement in Agriculture Network (YEAN) in partnership with the Rwanda Agriculture and Animal Resources Board (RAB) and the University of Lay Adventists of Kigali (UNILAK), conducted a one-day event to launch two agricultural knowledge hubs, which are the AGRIBUSINESS INCUBATION AND INNOVATION HUB (AIIH)—UNILAK KIGALI HUB and AGRICULTURE KNOWLEDGE HUB on April 4th, 2023.
The event brought together youth and key project partners including the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources (MINAGRI), AGRA, Cordaid Rwanda, Rwanda Youth in Agribusiness Forum (RYAF), the Private Sector Federation (PSF), CNFA Rwanda, Youth agripreneurs and youth beneficiaries.
In his opening remarks, Mr. Etienne NIYIGABA, the project lead, stated that these facilities are available to everyone, particularly the youth under the Private Extension and Advisory Learning Experience (PEALE) program.
The Agribusiness Incubation and Innovation Hub will serve as a space for agripreneurs to facilitate their transition from ideas into strong and successful agri-businesses models. It will provide a co-working space, coaching and mentorship, network and linkages, and knowledge sharing to agripreneurs.
On the other hand, the Agriculture Knowledge Hub is a center for agriculture knowledge production, management and dissemination for effective extension and advisory services to farmers and agripreneurs.
Youth agripreneurs will use these hubs to develop and disseminate agriculture learning products, access incubation services to develop and scale their initiatives in agribusiness and innovation, and facilitate in strengthening youth led resilience programs including youth led private extension and advisory services.
In his speech, Dr. Emmanuel HAKIZIMANA, the Deputy Vice Chancellor of Academics and Research of UNILAK expressed the pleasure, the University has, for hosting the Agribusiness Incubation and Innovation Hub and said that it is one of the university priorities to make impact in the community through different initiatives implemented with the community through their campuses in Kigali city, Nyanza and Rwamagana District. He added that UNILAK will be glad to facilitate the replication on the same hub to their other 3 campuses.
All speakers at the event reiterated prioritizing knowledge in agriculture especially in agribusiness to create diversified opportunities for job and wealth along the agriculture value chain.
Mr. Octave NSHIMIYIMANA, Director General of Agriculture Value Chain Management and Trade at MINAGRI, advised youth and participants to make good use of the resources that have been made available. He added that to achieve your objectives once you are exposed to opportunities, knowledge should be an integral part of the journey. He shared with youth available opportunities in the ecosystem from different partners for youth in agriculture and urged them to work hard to secure those opportunities.
The hubs are part of the implementation of the AIRTEA Project which seeks to contribute to achieving sustainable agrarian livelihoods and rural transformation by fostering an inclusive innovation environment with specific objectives of strengthening the capacities of youth and women in East Africa’s multi-stakeholder innovation platforms and link to solutions within national, regional, and global food systems.