AN ASSESSMENT OF YOUTHS ENGAGEMENT AND INCOME EFFECTS IN AGRIBUSINESS: CASE OF MUSHROOM (PLEUROTUS SP.) CULTIVATION AND MARKETING IN BUEA, CAMEROON.
By: Zanfack Woubeng Aurelie Lucie | Department of Development Studies | Environment and Agriculture
This study focus on assessing Youths Engagement and Income Effects in Agribusiness, using the case of mushroom (Pleurotus Oestratus) Cultivation and Marketing in Buea, Cameroon. Specifically, the study identify how youth are being engage in mushroom agribusiness, the income effect of those who are engage in the mushroom business, the challenges they faced and possible solution to overcome the challenges in other to improve and engage more youth in the business. Data was collected using questionnaires, observations and key informant interviews. The results revealed that 83.3% of mushroom farmers in Buea were youth and the government and NGO provided facilities such as training programs, workshops, provision of seed and material in other to engage promote mushroom agribusiness. In addition, most of the farmers (96.2%) generated income that affected them positively. The mean selling price of mushroom in Buea (2500 FCFA) was relatively higher than that of other regions, probably due to high demand and scarcity of the product in Buea. However, most of the mushroom farmers (>95%) do not transform and market their mushroom. The net value added at the production stage of the mushroom value chain was 1707.5/Kg of fresh mushroom, giving a net margin of 68%. Therefore, although the production stage presents a high net income, mushroom farmers in Buea can make more income if transformation and marketing stages (the remaining 32% net margin) are harnessed. The challenges farmers faced include; lack of marketing platform, lack of adequate material for transformation, storage and poor attitude of the consumers toward the product. It was recommended that training programmes organised by the government and NGOs should focus on building youth capacity towards mushroom transformation and marketing. The latter should undertake multiple communication strategies so as to increase the number of youth participation and expression for interest should not be limited only to agricultural students but rather should encourage youth in other academic disciplines, who have entrepreneurial interest. Furthermore, agriculture and entrepreneurship management courses should be included in the school curriculum.
Key words: Mushroom, youth, challenges, agribusiness, income effect.