EAST AFRICA – The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and Agricycle Global Inc. have agreed to work together in nurturing youth groups in Kenya, and refugees and host communities in Uganda in the development of fruit and vegetable value-chains.

Areas of collaboration will focus on safety standards, business opportunities along the value chains, documentation of youth empowerment business models, transfer of knowledge and skills for adoption of technologies and publishing of best practices, among others.

Through this agreement, targeted beneficiaries will improve their access to market, as well as technology, such as solar driers/ dehydrators, and gain capacity development trainings on quality control of their produce.

These interventions will eventually help them to improve their incomes and livelihoods, contributing to decent rural (youth) employment and reduction of food waste and loss.

Signing the agreement, David Phiri, FAO Subregional Coordinator for Eastern Africa and Representative to the African Union and United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, noted that youth employment in the food and agriculture sector in the subregion was a key area of focus given that youth constituted a large segment of the population.

“In order to address issues such as rural exodus, unemployment, and food and nutrition insecurity, it is critical to engage and invest in youth, and this is a priority for the subregion.

“In this regard, collaboration with Agricycle Global Inc. would add value given its unique business model, and its local presence in the targeted areas of FAO projects,” Phiri underlined.

Josh Shefner, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Agricycle Global Inc., on his part, said his organization is a social enterprise whose objective is to eradicate extreme rural poverty, with a focus on offering women and youths market-based solutions to food waste.

Agricycle is offering markets for dehydrated tropical fruits and vegetables and fruit flours, and supplying the youth with technical knowledge and skills on how to use dehydrators and other equipment needed for fruit- and vegetable-drying in safe condition.

“Women and youth have been historically excluded/discriminated against in the agricultural value-chain even though they have an important role to play in the agri-food systems. Agricycle is here to change that, to include them, empower them and break barriers by investing in inclusive economic growth.

“Our collaboration with FAO will play an important role in ensuring we deliver on our promise to be part of the fight towards ensuring rural women, rural youth and refugees are economically empowered, able to make decisions and knowing that they are seen,” stressed Shefner.

FAO engages with the private sector to bring about transformative change and innovation, as well as measurable, sustainable impact and benefits, to meet its aspiration of Leaving No One Behind through sustainable, inclusive and resilient food systems for better production, better nutrition, a better environment, and a better life.

This partnership will scale up collective multistakeholder efforts, and bring about country-owned and country-led innovative solutions to help target groups to improve their livelihoods.

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