Programme profile

Yapasa: Youth in agribusiness

Programme Index Listing

Main implementer
2013 - 2019
Total budget
US $ 8.2 million
Annual budget
US $ 1.3 million

Project description / objective

To create decent work, increasing income for rural youth in Zambia.
We use agricultural value chains with high potential for employment creation and enterprise development to benefit local businesses and increase income for young people.

Expected outcomes:

  • Decent jobs created for rural youths in agriculture
  • Rural Agricultural enterprises created/improved
  • Increased production and productivity of rural producers of of freshwater fish, soybeans and other horticultural products
  • Increased income for rural youths engaged in aquaculture, soybean and horticulture value chain

Market systems focus

  1. Improved access to quality inputs for young small-scale farmers in rural areas.
  2. Greater access for rural youth to entrepreneurship support services including insurance, business and technical skills training and linkages with larger markets.
  3. Policy, legal and regulatory framework that supports expansion of productive activities and youth engagement in the aquaculture and soya sub-sectors.

Programme interventions

Soybean sector

Access to quality inputs:
Working with commercial input suppliers to help them setup and adopt last mile distribution systems for quality soybean inputs targeting young rural smallholder farmers. The inputs are seed, inoculant and chemicals for fertility, crop protection and land preparation.

Access to quality entrepreneurship support services for rural young farmers:
Working with grain traders and processors to set up out-grow production schemes for soybean with embedded support services including input credit and training.

Effective sector coordination:
Supporting value chain actors, their representative bodies, government and other policy stakeholders to identify and work on issues affecting the value chain performance through the formation of the private sector led Soya Policy Action Group.

Aquaculture Sector

Access to quality fish feed:
Working with feed companies and distributors to stimulate demand for fish feed in rural areas by expanding distribution networks and undertaking promotional activities. Feed demonstrations, field days, and media advertisement are some of the activities undertaken. 

Access to quality fingerlings:
Supporting government and private hatcheries to expand their fingerling production and distribution capacities by integrating local fish nurseries in their distribution networks. Nurseries in the rural areas work both to stimulate demand as well as improve local access to the improved supply of fingerlings of prescribed native species. 

Access to markets:
Supporting the development of a processing facility in order to enable smallholders’ products to adhere to the requirements of mine canteens and hence open up that large untapped niche market, capitalising on growing pressure on mines to source local products.

Access to Youth entrepreneurship support services:
Supporting fish traders to work as outgrow operators for fish production. The outgrow operators further support the farmers with the provision of input credit and technical support for fish farming which includes technical guidance, monitoring performance and troubleshooting problems. 

Sector Coordination and Communication:
Supports Aquaculture Development Association of Zambia (ADAZ) and Department of Fisheries to identify and communicate business opportunities in aquaculture with potential beneficiaries and also identify and promote policy provisions/issues affecting the sector.


Access to markets:
Supporting the development of transparent community-level aggregation services in collaboration with national commodity traders, agro-processors and local aggregators in order to enable greater access to markets for rural smallholders. Local aggregators also provide embedded services ensuring that products meet market requirements and that quantities are sufficient to satisfy demand from off-takers.

Access to inputs:
Supporting agro-dealers to develop last mile distribution through community agro-dealers (CADs) to reach remotely located farmers and facilitate access to inputs during the off-season. CADs also run marketing activities such as demonstration plots to promote the use of inputs and good agricultural practices.

Notable results (systemic change, poverty impact)

Soybean sector

12 market players including input suppliers, insurance providers and outgrower operators have engaged in business arrangements with 2,505 smallholder farmers for outgrow production of soybean from 2015 - 2017. Among these 1,323 are young farmers under 35.

A large input supply company has established an input credit mechanism targeting smallholder farmers by working with outgrow operators to register them as agrodealers. The company supplied inputs including seed, inoculant, fertility chemicals and plant protection inputs to 1.875 farmers in the 2016/17 season. The total value of inputs was approximately $400,000. The input supply company is expecting to adapt the model and expand it with other agro-dealers and outgrow operators.

Aquaculture sector

Government and private hatcheries have adopted the nursery model to expand their fingerling supply networks to more remote rural areas. So far one feed company has adopted the rural smallholder focused feed distribution model. The company has expanded its fish feed production capacity and is expanding its reach to more rural areas.

Though modest in scope compared to the soybean outgrower schemes, the fish outgrower model piloted during three successive seasons has been recognised as an effective mechanism to facilitate smallholder access to inputs and business development services, as evidenced by other development projects active in the region incorporating similar models in their strategies.

The Aquaculture Development Association of Zambia has developed a model and begun a series of Aquaculture Business Opportunity Seminars (trade fairs) in the districts bringing together input suppliers, support service providers and small-scale fish farmers to highlight potential in aquaculture business in key areas of Zambia.

A processing unit with a capacity of 180 mega tonnes per year destined to facilitate the supply of locally produced pond fish to mine canteens was set to open as of February 2019.


Four agro dealers have taken up a last mile input distribution model comprised of a combined network of 76 active community agro dealers, of which 80 per cent are youth. Through this intervention the project reached 10,878 farmers (61 per cent youth) resulting in productivity increases following adoption of certified seeds, chemicals and improved agronomic practices.

Four market players have set up trusted and transparent community aggregation services in various districts, in effect enabling greater market access for smallholder produce such as soybeans, maize and dried cassava chips. Coupled with this service they are providing other valuable services such as training on post-harvest handling and market information services.

[updated July 2019 / programme ended in February 2019]