Co-authored by Evrard Guei, President, La Terre Ne Trahit Jamais (firstname.lastname@example.org)
& Natalija Vojno (email@example.com)
Evrard Guei, a young person from the Ivory Coast founded LA TERRE NE TRAHIT JAMAIS “the earth never betrays” — a movement dedicated to accelerating the economic integration of young people through agricultural entrepreneurship. In much of the world, a revolution in thinking is needed to once more celebrate farming as a noble and lucrative profession. While such a movement can shift the values of young people facing unemployment more is needed beyond a shift in behaviours.
The Ivory Coast is the world’s largest exporter of cocoa and about six million people are dependent on earnings from cocoa. Their livelihoods were put at risk when the price of cocoa fell by 40% from 2016 to 2017 due to weak demand. When the government increased the price buyers must pay farmers, about 80% of buyers backed out of contracts purchased a year in advance. This left many farmers penniless.
Conflict over land adds to the difficulty faced by farmers. In 2017, a youth leader, Modeste Nenonhon, was shot dead in the village of Beoua. Similar violence has forced nearly 7000 people to abandon their cocoa plantations in the same year. A lack of land tenure reduces security and prevents more long term sustainable practices to the point that the Ivory Coast is experiencing one of the world’s fastest deforestation rates.
Evrard Guei is not waiting for someone to change the situation for his peers but is working directly towards increasing the productivity and income of small-scale farmers. Next month, he is gathering a group of fishermen and another group of gardeners in the city of Daloa. By gathering grassroots communities and training them in how to manage their financial resources, how to save, and how to invest, he intends to help them increase their turnover and to establish a more stable and secure livelihood. He works in several localities of the Ivory Coast to first provide advice to young people who produce a diversity of crops like rice, maize, and livestock according to their region. In addition to his work as founder and president of La Terre ne Trahait Jamias, Evrard is the general secretary of an housewives rights defending association.
If you are inspired by the work young people are already doing to build a more sustainable and peaceful future then consider helping. According to Evrard, the management of financial resources is a real problem for farmers in Africa. Technical partners that can help carry the project throughout 2019 are needed to work with the youth, in collaboration with agricultural cooperatives, and rural women’s associations.
Farmers harvest cacoa beans in the Ivory Coast