YOUTH IN KAJIADO AND BUNGOMA BENEFIT FROM SAFARICOM FOUNDATION FUNDED AGRIBUSINESS PROGRAMME

Nareto Youth Group member Semelei Kanai weeds a plot of land with onions during the Safaricom Foundation Wezesha Youth in Agribusiness Launch in Oloitoktok, Kajiado County. [PHOTO – COURTESY]
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Close to eight hundred youth in Oloitokitok, Kajiado county have benefited from a Kshs.  32 million funded Safaricom Foundation youth in agribusiness programme. Another fifty   young women in Bungoma are also being supported in poultry farming. In Kajiado, the  youth have been supported to grow rain fed and high value crops such as sunflower, onions and tomatoes. The programme has also been tailor-made to empower the youth by giving them access to land, inputs, learning content and infrastructure. “There is an opportunity for us to create employment for youth and increase their productivity in the agricultural sector. Through this programme, we are reinforcing that farming is a viable and dignified source of livelihood, not a retirement option,” said Frankline Okata, trustee, Safaricom Foundation.

 Statistics from the Ministry of Agriculture’s Sector Transformation and Growth Strategy show that agriculture contributes to 33% of total GDP, 60 % of informal employment and 60% of exports. The latest census data shows that 39 % of youth eligible for hire are unemployed. “This programme is part of our economic empowerment pillar where we seek to provide opportunities for youth to become productive self-reliant citizens,” Okata said.

The youth also have access to input loans of between Kshs.  5,000 to Kshs.  20,000 depending on the value chain with those producing high value crops also receiving financial support to increase access to water and improve irrigation systems. Additionally, the programme provides the farmers access to a guaranteed market for their produce at favourable rates. The pilot programme has been running for five  months with a view of scaling it up to other parts of the country thereafter.

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