Youth in Agriculture for Economic Development (YAED)

Happy Arnold , Malawi

Happy Arnold founded Youth in Agriculture for Economic Development (YAED) in January 2015 to encourage young people in Malawi to pursue a career in agriculture. The average age of a farmer in Malawi is 65 and this is a threat to their future food security. YAED seeks to reverse trends of young people moving to large cities for jobs by demonstrating the benefits of working in agriculture. YAED currently has projects involved in growing legumes and maize as well as establishing pig farms operating in the districts of Zomba and Chiradzulu. Through YAED projects, young people are empowered and informed on modern farming technologies, included in decision making towards agriculture economy, acquire credit facilities for farming and advised on processes of marketing their products. Thirty young people have been trained through the programme to date, each earning $2,000 per year on average from their agricultural produce as well as being able to retain produce for their families. YAED primarily trains young women and mothers to help them provide for their families. Training is offered by the International Potato Centre which teaches participants how to grow orange fleshed potatoes and how to manage their land effectively. YAED also conducts entrepreneurial induction training with university students to teach them about agribusiness. To date, 110 students have been trained. YAED works with community leaders to establish cooperative and constructive relationships, and it has plans to expand its reach over the coming months. YAED also hosts entrepreneurship hub clubs in schools to engage children from a younger age and to encourage positive perceptions of farmers and for children to consider agriculture as a viable career choice in the future.