GOVERNMENT SUPPORTS THE YOUTH TO ENGAGE IN AGRIBUSINESS

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The Kenyan government will spend Kshs. 8 billion in the next five years to assist the youth venture into agriculture. The Principal Secretary for Livestock Andrew Tuimur has confirmed that the government will start implementing the Youth and Agribusiness Strategy (2016 – 2021).

The strategy, he explained, seeks to position the youth at the lead of agricultural development and thus help tame high levels of unemployment and poverty.

“There will be increased incomes and employment opportunities for the youth through active engagement in agribusiness, enhanced food and nutrition security,” noted Tuimur. He was speaking during the second day of the ministerial conference on agriculture and nutrition data and fourth Agritec Africa international exhibition in Nairobi. He said involving youth in agriculture would ensure more production.

“In Kenya, the average age of farmers is 65 years implying more young people need to be encouraged to adopt farming so that food production can be sustained. Further, the strategy will ensure continuity in terms of youth taking over from the old,” he said.

Tuimur said there will be enhanced access to factors of production, utilisation of modern technology and good agriculture practices to increase efficiency as well as equip youth with appropriate agribusiness skills, knowledge and information.

During the conference, the youth said that many of them lack interest in agriculture because of inadequate skills, knowledge and information as well as limited access to financial services.

Further, they attributed the problem to low absorption of innovation, research and technology, limited access to land and low productivity.

The approach, Tuimur said, will promote youth-inclusive climate smart agricultural technology, create green jobs for environmental sustainability and transform mindsets and perceptions of the youth towards agribusiness.

“The programme will equip youth with appropriate agribusiness skills, knowledge and information and enhance access to affordable and youth friendly financial services,” he emphasized. Towards that end,   some of the current procurement regulations will be reviewed to allow more youth access funds.

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