This is the success story of Chupai Pita Andicene, a 25 year old young entrepreneur from rural Mozambique who lost his parents at the age of 13 and was left to fend for his sibling. Thanks to the skills he gained in the SNV youth employment project in the Beira corridor funded by Europe Aid, he was able to improve his income and lift himself out of poverty.
Chupai had to drop out of school because he could not aford the school fees. His dreams to start working in the city were dashed. Instead, he had to start cultivating his parents' farming plot to earn income for himself and his siblings.
"When the Opportunities for Youth Employment (OYE) project came to my community I just thought that it was one of those projects that come and go without bringing impact to the community. After attending the life skills and entrepreneurship training, I was motivated to work hard as I realised I could turn my own agriculture activities into a successful business." says Chupai with a smile on his face. After the training, he kick-started his business by creating a production and commercialisation plan.
The project also linked Chupai with a company that promotes and sells crop seeds. On his family plot, Chupai planted a hybrid seed maize. As a result, his harvest greatly improved: from 800 kg per hectare, Chupai now harvests 3 tons per hectare. Thanks to his great harvests and use of good agricultural practices, Chupai was chosen the best young farmer in the district of Sussundenga. He was invited to showcase his crop produce during the provincial annual agriculture show in Chimoio town.
Chupai on his farming plot
The seeds company selected Chupai as Village-based Agent (VBA). As a VBA, he sells certified seeds to farmers in his community and coaches them to use good agriculture practices. Becoming a VBA was the turning point in Chupai´s life. He was able to implement the entrepreneurship skills he acquired during the OYE training programme. With the seeds company's assistance he was able to open a small agro-dealer shop. And to show other farmers the benefits of using good agriculture practices and different crops, Chupai and 14 other young people established several demonstration plots.
"The OYE project provided sustainable initiatives to solve the problems of this community. The shop is very welcome in our community. It saves much time and money. Before, farmers had to travel 80 kilometers to buy their supplies." said Mrs Maria Pedro Rice from Sussundenga district.
Chupai is also a mentor and has created employment opportunities for other young people. He has two permanent employees; one works in his agro-shop and the other on the family plot. During peak labour periods like planting, weeding and harvesting, he contracts an additional 3-5 young people to help him work the family plot. Now, Chupai plans to expand his business by investing in draught animal power and irrigation pumps. These steps will enable him to produce more throughout the year. "I would like to register my business so that I get all the documents that I need to sell my produce to government institutions and other organisations that need invoices and receipts", Chupai explains.
During the 2016-2017 farming season (which lasts 8 months), Chupai managed to generate an income of €1,200 from his family plot and the agro-business shop. On average, Chupai now earns €150 per month, which is well above the official poverty line.
The Opportunities for Youth Employment in the Beira Corridor project aims to improve the livelihoods and prospects for young people living in rural central Mozambique (the Beira corridor), by creating (self-)employment opportunities.