The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has launched 23 field projects aimed at promoting youth employment in local milk value chains in West Africa and Chad. The projects were selected following a call for proposals to promote youth employment in the agroforestry and fisheries sector, specifically in the local milk sector.
The projects are grouped into three thematic areas: improving milk and animal feed production, collection, processing, and distribution of local dairy products and specific equipment, and the provision of innovative financial and non-financial services that create employment for young people.
The total cost of the 23 field projects amounts to $7,261,701, which will be funded by the overall budget of Phase 3 of the ECOWAS Regional Programme to Support Farmers’ Organisations (PRAOP). The funding comes from the ECOWAS Commission, states, socio-professional agricultural organisations, and the private sector.
The four-year program, set to last from 2022 to 2026, aims to improve the access of young people (men and women) to decent and lucrative jobs in the local milk value chains in targeted areas. The program is a consolidation of the achievements of two previous phases that were funded by the Swiss Cooperation and that have enabled the development and validation of strategies for the promotion of local milk value chains and youth employment in the agro-sylvo-pastoral and fisheries sector with their respective priority investment programs.
The projects will not only promote youth employment but also improve milk production, animal feed production, collection, processing, and distribution of local dairy products. The provision of innovative financial and non-financial services will also create employment opportunities for young people.
For the most part, the initiative will benefit young people in the region who are struggling to find decent and lucrative jobs. The promotion of local milk value chains and youth employment in the agro-sylvo-pastoral and fisheries sector is a positive step towards achieving sustainable development goals in the region.
In a nutshell, the launch of these projects by ECOWAS is a commendable effort towards promoting youth employment and achieving sustainable development goals in the region. The initiative will not only create employment opportunities for young people but also improve the local milk value chains in the targeted areas.