Agribusiness is not for us, youth

In Summary

• Lending to the youth is risky because of their weak financial capacity

• Agriculture has high vulnerability to external shocks

A man sorting out his harvest of sweet potato./file
A man sorting out his harvest of sweet potato./file

Quick turnaround business ventures or secure and constant income courses attract the youth more compared to agribusiness, according to a government  strategy paper.

The Kenya Youth Agribusiness Strategy 2017-2021 by the ministry of agriculture, livestock and fisheries indicates that youth would rather take up jobs like bodaboda and sale of mitumba. 

It notes that 64 per cent of unemployed youth which constitutes the largest percentage of unemployed Kenyans currently at 40 percent are venturing into quick cash businesses 

“I have been unemployed for over two years and agribusiness has never crossed my mind. As youths, we love quick money. In boda boda, one can comfortably make Sh1,000 a day, quick money,” Janet Moraa said.

Agriculture is considered risky by financiers and the youth themselves, the report says.

“Agriculture has high vulnerability to external shocks including extreme weather events, pests, diseases and nature of seasonality,” says the report. 

“I would easily invest in the business of wigs and lady wear. Ladies are impulse buyers meaning I will get returns as soon as I invest. Agriculture is a risk as weather changes, pests and diseases are inevitable. I need a sure business,” Annette Wairimu said.

The report notes that while feasible agribusiness initiatives call for capital investment and insurance as a requirement, finances are a great hindrance to the youth.

Insurance in the agricultural sector is also low compared to sectors such as services and manufacturing.

It says that lending to the youth is risky because of their weak financial capacity, lack of collateral, poor saving culture, minimal financial track records and education systems that do not equip them with financial literacy.

Currently, over one million young people enter the labor market annually having either dropped out of school or completed high school and are not enrolled in any institution of higher learning.

Considering the factors involved, most of the unemployed youth opt to gamble so as to get quick money to settle their bills. “Betting feels safer since we cannot afford to do agribusiness, it is way expensive and too many risks are involved,” Andrew Jones said.