Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Democratic Republic of the Congo



Family Farm Schools – Train the Rural Youth for Careers in Agriculture- 2012

Today I have no financial problem with my parents. I am autonomous even if I still live with them and I can give them advice. I am farming while I wait to launch a chicken hatchery. At the moment I’m growing soya instead as it’s a very short cycle, and I already have a buyer – a pig farmer.


Student of agriculture CAP at the TIRE in Yamaoussoukro and previously a student of the Assinzé FFS

Careers in agriculture

In Cameroon, the Ivory Coast and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the majority of the population depends on agriculture. Demand for agricultural products is on the rise, with opportunities both within the domestic market and for export. In rural areas, the young people are often poorly trained and are lacking the skills necessary to develop a revenue-generating business. This limits their career perspectives and with almost 60% of rural communities living in poverty, pushes them to move to urban areas.

For more than 20 years, IECD and their local partners have been developing a network of Family Farm Schools (FFS) in order to train rural youths in agriculture and animal breeding. Three Training Institutes for Rural Entrepreneurship (IFER) offer training to a Certificate of Professional Competence level post FFS. These centres propose part-time training, leading to the observation of agricultural practices and techniques while in training in the field, to their adoption in school, followed by their application in the field.

An external analysis of the network in early 2015 reaffirmed the relevance of the model and led to review the training system to better meet the needs of youth and communities. Since September 2015, a young school leaver at the end of primary school can follow a 1-year, 3-year or 5-year training programme depending on his/her motivation and professional goals. With each cycle, the student acquires new skills that can be used to get a job. From the first year of training at the FFS, the student learns to conduct an income-generating activity in plant or animal production. After two more years in a regional FFS, he/she is able to manage his/her “first company” independently or within the family farm. At the end of the fifth year of training at IFER, young people can start a business independently, get skilled employment or continue their studies.

For the implementation of this scheme, 38 FFS benefit from educational and technical support, and improved equipment, including 10 FFS within the framework of innovative financial and technical partnerships with local companies in the agricultural sector.

2015 results:

  • 1,592 young people between 13 and 19 years old who have dropped out of school (of which 54% are girls) were trained in agricultural trades within the FFS or IFER network at the end of the school year June 2015.
  • 743 new students (of which 46% are girls) have begun a first year programme in September 2015.
  • 135 trainers were coached and trained in alternating training programmes.
  • 509 parents were trained to improve their agricultural production techniques.

Indirect beneficiaries:

  • Students’ families’ standard of living improves, increasing their revenues thanks to knowledge transfer of the new methods and techniques their children have learned.
  • Current and future employers (business, co-ops etc.) benefit from the technical and management qualifications of their employees.