IITA-Kalambo Youth Agripreneurs (IKYA) was established in November 2013 as a youth-led venture in Bukavu town (South Kivu) to explore opportunities for self-employment through agribusiness. The group started with 32 members (35% women). Initially, the group was engaged in crop and seed production (bean, cassava, maize and soybean) then diversified into value additon of cassava- and soybean-based products.
Several baked products were developed that rely upon substitution with lower cost cassava flour, and protein fortification with soybean flour that comply with the standard of the National Food Control Agency. Several cassava-based and soy-based products were developed. These products are sold in local markets under the brand name IKYA. As a marketing strategy, the group developed packaging materials with the IKYA label that has become a recognized brand within the market.
IKYA also produces tilapia fish to meet the high demand on the local market and is worked with the Department of Fisheries to jointly manage a network of 38 ponds. In addition IKYA is engaged in training of women and youth to enable them to explore agro-processing enterprises and to diversify household diets. With steady effort, the group is advancing its innovative ideas of farming and food processing, and expanding its operations to other locations in DR Congo. IKYA has replicated another group in Kinshasa, Kisangani.