Providing the youths with empowerment and development programs to prepare them for emerging challenges providing avenues for their positive growth is close to our heart at the Foundation.
Farming is not glamorous. It suffers from entrenched negative perceptions in the minds of many Africa youth, a farmer is someone like their parents, doing backbreaking labor in the fields and getting little to show for it. Nonetheless, agriculture is the engine driving our economy outside the famous oil and gas. This sector of the needs the support of the NGOs interested in ending or at least reducing hunger in Africa. The energy of the Youths is very resourceful if agriculture will be used as a tool to reduce poverty in the rural communities.
BKF works to change the ugly image of poor, ragged and weather beaten farmers which put off many young people. Through our advocacy we raise the confidence of the youths to believe in the potentials of growing the community through agriculture and teaching them about new innovations and technologies in farming. This is receiving a positive feedback but needs a lot of support.
The World Bank estimates that African agriculture and agribusiness could be worth $1 trillion by the year 2030. Over the years, agriculture in rural communities has travelled a bumpy road. Obstacles have included food price spikes, climate change, poor harvests and poor storage facilities during times of plenty. The result has been the failure of agriculture to generate high job numbers and make a noticeable dent in poverty.
Benjamin Kalu Foundation has realized that for youth to be actively engaged in agriculture, they need access to land, access to financial services like cheap loans, insurance and technology for modern farming. We observed that youth unemployment is a ticking time bomb, as youth population is rapidly increasing, with WHO putting the figure at 200 million for the 15-24 year old group. We intend to give our youth an edge by giving support in the agricultural sector, which can provide food and jobs. According to a report by the World Bank in 2013, although farming is now often done by the elderly, the profession's requirements for energy, innovation and physical strength make it ideally suited for those in the 15-34 year old range, that is, the mature youth.
At Benjamin Kalu Foundation, we believe that increased focus and investment in agriculture could enhance productivity, reduce food prices, increase income and dent youth unemployment.
We intend to partner with the communities to secure a leasehold on communal land for farming activities for their youth.
BKF is using the cooperative model to unite the youths into circles of farmers for easy cordination and supervision .
The introduction of current innovations and technologies in farming serves as our key approach towards changing the subsistence style of farming to mechanized and commercial farming .
BKF looks beyond farming to processing and packaging of the harvested commodities as a strategic tool to improving on their income. Currently, they are packaging casava ( Garri), palm oil and crayfish, a percentage of the sales goes to the foundation.
Benjamin Kalu Foundation, raises fund for the indigent farmers for the provision of both seedlings , skill and farming tools as well as no interest soft loan, repayable with farm products after harvest.
We are currently constructing a food processing and storage centre at Ugwu Ugba Bende and calls on sponsored to partner with us in this our Youths and Agriculture Project.