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Yapasa learning brief on Beam Exchange
Fail, recalibrate, adapt, achieve
It seems like an increasing number of development initiatives have
set-out to create youth employment in small-scale agriculture, however,
creating these opportunities is easier said than done. The challenges in
small-scale agriculture are vast, the potential reward is limited and
laden with risk, and the opportunities few. Rural youth know first-hand
how tough agriculture can be – they’ve worked their family farms and
have survived on subsistence for as long as they remember. And as the
challenges aren’t going away any time soon, they are migrating away
toward cities across Sub-Saharan Africa in search of a better living.

That raises the question, can opportunities for rural youth in
agriculture be created? The Yapasa project in Zambia set-out to not only
find these opportunities for rural youth but also create them using the
market systems approach. This brief dives into Yapasa’s four and a half
year journey, which included a series of early missteps and strategic
recalibrations, to ultimately deliver better business and employment
opportunities for those that need them most. The process was slow and
difficult, but in the end, Yapasa managed to address some key market
constraints – which plague smallholder farmers the world over – to
support over 14,000 rural businesses and improve more than 5,000 jobs,
2,000 of which were for youth.
Download the brief here: Yapasa Brief published.pdf