Looking back, Three Years of YALTA

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After three fruitful years, the YALTA initiative, a collaboration between NFP and the IKEA Foundation, concluded its work last December. Its been quite a journey and to celebrate and reflect on YALTAs many achievements, not least the creation of a new generation of young agripreneurs, we created an online publication that offers an in-depth illustration of the programmes key lessons, outcomes and results.

To achieve SDG2, Zero Hunger, we need sustainable food systems that provide more socio-economic benefits and fewer environmental consequences. One method that supports this transition is agroecology, which aims to optimise the interaction between plants, animals and people.

Having young people involved in agroecology is crucial for the future, yet their involvement remains limited. So we tried to engage youth through the Youth in Agroecology and Business Learning Track Africa (YALTA) initiative, a collaboration between the Netherlands Food Partnership (NFP) and the IKEA Foundation that ran between January 2020 and December 2022. With a market-based approach, it convened a wide range of stakeholders including agripreneurs, farmers, policy makers and academic experts.

YALTA ensured the inclusion of youth every step of the way and connected to a broad base of youth networks in Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda.

NFP and its partner organisations, PELUM Uganda, F&S Ethiopia, AAA Kenya and Three Mountains Academy Rwanda, supported young aspiring entrepreneurs in improving their business opportunities and capacity to apply agroecology principles. Ensuring the inclusion of youth throughout, YALTA also supported the development of networks and coalitions working on issues for change. This helped make youth feel more involved in agroecology initiatives, increase the effectiveness and efficiency of youth agroecology initiatives and improve attention for youth in research, policy agendas and the education curriculum.

What a journey it has been!

YALTA has created a movement of young agripreneurs ready to change their food systems by advancing agroecology.

These young men and women have developed a wide range of scalable business models along the value chain, from inputs to production, to processing and advisory services. Learning from each other through best practices in the field, they started applying more and more agroecological practices, converting old practices and creating new products and services. Youth and agroecology are now firmly on the agenda of policy makers, business development service providers, donors and researchers, and strong networks and coalitions continue advocating for an enabling environment where young agripreneurs can thrive.

The YALTA online publication shares the stories of the youth and experts that made the journey with us and the lessons we learned along the way, as well as our achievements.

What's next?
While the YALTA initiative has come to a formal end, support for youth in agroecology will continue. Networks and partnerships of agroecology experts, young agripreneurs, business development services, government agencies, researchers, NGOs and CSOs will work together to support youth to drive sustainable food systems in East Africa and beyond. Because at YALTA we know youth are crucial for the future of our food and planet.


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Bente Meindertsma

Coalition Builder Netherlands Food Partnership

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