Hundreds of young people in ACP countries have benefited from a wide range of projects under CTA’s Agriculture, Rural Development and Youth in the Information Society (ARDYIS) project, as well as other CTA activities that encourage entrepreneurship. Indeed, encouraging youth entrepreneurship in agriculture is at the heart of CTA’s strategy and there have been many success stories. Here we highlight just one.
MEDIAPROD, a communication for development agency based in Burkina Faso, responded to a call for proposals issued by ARDYIS in 2015. The project was seeking to identify and reward young people who had come up with innovative ideas involving the use of ICTs in agriculture. As one of five winners from over 500 applications the company was awarded a grant which enabled it to create Agribusiness TV and develop and expand its activities to over 12 sub-Saharan African countries.
“Agriculture used to be just about growing your own food,” says MEDIAPROD founder, Inoussa Maiga. “This is how my parents and the generations before perceived it. But my generation sees it differently. Agriculture is a business and there are many opportunities along the value chain. That is why I want to contribute to rebranding agriculture in Africa. The market is there and young Africans are ready to innovate.”
Agribusiness TV is the first of its type in Africa, in that it produces videos made by young people for young people. The web and mobile application is embedded in MEDIAPROD, which was launched by Maiga in 2013. Every month, Agribusiness TV makes up to six 4-minute videos, which cover a wide range of topics, from food production to value addition, from nutrition to sustainable employment creation. The company also publishes related material, such as blogs and articles, on an online platform in both English and French.
“Agribusiness TV has been a tremendous success and we are very proud of the fact that we have supported it,” says Ken Lohento, CTA’s Programme Coordinator for ICTs and youth activities. “They have produced over 100 high-quality videos. Many of these are inspiring young people to become entrepreneurs, and helping existing agri-entrepreneurs to find new markets.” After they have watched the videos, people often call or write in to ask for details about the entrepreneurs who have been featured. As a result, some have even started their own businesses in agriculture and many agripreneurs featured in the videos have expanded their business.
In 2017, agribusiness TV was awarded the United Nations World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Project Prize in the ‘media’ category. During the year they also won the Francophone Innovation Prize, another international award. By the end of 2017, their videos had received over 6 million views on various platforms. This is testament to the company’s success and the impact it is having in terms of promoting agriculture among young people in West Africa.
After they accepted the WSIS award, Maiga and his colleague Nawsheen Hosenally had this to say: “The grant we received through CTA’s call for proposals has been a boost in starting Agribusiness TV. We are now expanding our activities, notably in the production of new video formats, and a TV programme that will be aired nationally in Burkina Faso.”
With the increase in internet penetration in Burkina Faso, as well as elsewhere in Africa, the predominantly young target audience of Agribusiness TV is connected to the online service through their mobile phones. The mobile application, which is available for free on Apple’s App Store and Google Play, has been downloaded over 6,000 times to date. It enables users to access and watch all the videos produced by Agribusiness TV, read blog posts and contact one another using the chat function.