Kenya: Agric Ministry develops youth programme to address agribusiness challenges

The Agriculture Ministry, Kenya, has developed the Enable Youth Programme (EYP) to address challenges affecting youth in agribusiness.

Speaking on Spice FM, CAS Anne Nyaga said the EYP was reached on following countrywide consultation on ills affecting youth eyeing agribusiness.

Some of the main issues that came to the fore included a negative perception towards agriculture, access to affordable financing, market, skills and knowledge and the impact of climate change.

The Enable Youth Programme will address incubation, mentorship and nurturing as well as boost access to funds.

Nyaga, who was previously the Embu county Agriculture CEC, said there is a need to bring to life the Kenya Youth in Agribusiness strategy development.

It seeks to implement plans and design programmes through the Kenya Youth In Agriculture, a document put together in 2018.

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According to the CAS, the EYP is only one of more than 15 programmes set up to boost youth interested in agriculture.

In 2019, the Ministry of Agriculture and county governments set out to mobilise about Sh22 billion to implement the strategy aimed at making farming attractive to young people.

As part of the Government’s goal of addressing youth unemployment, the Kenya Youth Agribusiness Strategy is meant to offer interventions to stimulate young Kenyans’ interest in agriculture.

Youth engagement in agriculture, according to the report, has been hindered by a lack of information on markets, land and financing.

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They reckon that the majority of those engaged in agriculture are aged between 50 and 65 and still predominantly practise traditional and subsistence farming. The negative perception towards agriculture, according to CAS Nyaga, has further hurt youths’ interests.

“The decreasing number of youth involved in farming as an occupation/business is a national signal of distress in the agricultural sector. This is already negatively impacting the economy,” reads part of the report.

According to KENDAT community development officer Cynthiah Peter, agriculture presents a huge opportunity for employment creation to absorb the youth and improve their livelihoods, contributing 26 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and another 27 per cent of GDP indirectly through linkages with other sectors.

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“The sector employs more than 40 per cent of the total population and more than 70 per cent of Kenya’s rural people,” she told Standard last August.

“As a country, we have made progress in modernising agriculture in Kenya but we still have a long way to go to achieve our full potential.

“To achieve this potential, we must do agriculture differently, from how we develop policy at the national level, to how we allocate resources in our farming households.”

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