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FARMING YOUTHS

Mwingi youths venture into agriculture after failing to secure jobs

They say farming is the way to a better future for people will always eat.

In Summary

• They now challenge their colleagues, who are yet to secure white collar jobs, to try farming as it has a huge  potential being the backbone of the economy.

• They say farming is the way to a better future for people will always eat.

Mango farming training at Waita ward in Mwingi Central subcounty, Kitui
Mango farming training at Waita ward in Mwingi Central subcounty, Kitui
Image: LINAH MUSANGI

Some youths from Mwingi Central subcounty have opted to venture into agriculture after failing to secure jobs.

They have now challenged their colleagues, who are yet to get white collar jobs, to try farming as it has a  huge potential being the backbone of the economy.

The youths, who are undergoing mango farming training by the Kitui government, say agriculture is the way to a better future as people will always eat.

 

Ndanu Mwikali, a 23-year-old from Waita ward, says she was encouraged to venture into farming after visiting several mango farmers and discovered how easy it was and the yield was huge.

“In mango farming, a farmer only needs to ensure the mango trees are pruned, sprayed the right disease and pest control among other key factors and the farmers smile all the way to the market,” Ndanu, who holds a diploma in sales and marketing, says.

She challenged jobless youths to come back to the village as farming is the backbone of the economy.

“Even after spending a whole day in the office, one will still go back to the farmer for food,” Ndanu, who unsuccessfully looked for an office job, said.

She added that she has already started vegetable farming as she goes on with mango farming training.

Ndanu noted that farming also creates many job openings.

Jeremiah Mbithuka, who holds diploma in ECDE, has ventured into horticulture farming.

 

Kilonzo’s motivation is from his parents, who were small-scale farmers and raised and educated them trough farming.

He is yet to get a job since he completed his diploma course in 2008.

“While I waited to get a teaching job somewhere, I decided to try farming as I could not just sit at home idling,” Kilonzo said.

He then took from where his parents left and has since made his mind on fully venturing into farming.

“Through the ongoing training, I believe the acquired skills will be helpful, especially to us youths, who still have the energy and zeal to farm,” he said.

Kilonzi challenged jobless youths and even those who are employed to consider agriculture as there are many types of farming activities one can do.

Apart from the mango lessons, Kilonzi and a few of his friends have come together and started chilli farming.

Grace Kilonzi, said Mwingi being a semi-arid region, residents can fully depend on mango farming and better their lives.

Grace said that through the mango farming training, she now has over 50 mango trees and the lessons they are acquiring will be helpful in managing her mango trees properly for better yields.

She has a Diploma in social work and community development but she prefers farming to any other form of employment.

“Farming enables me to provide for my children and myself, making life a bit affordable,” Grace said.

She added that she has bought additional land to do more horticultural farming.

She urged the county government to continue training youth on agriculture as they need the knowledge.

Kitui county value chain addition specialist Temi Mutia, who is spearheading the training across six subcounties, said France needs over 500 tonnes of mangoes and urged farmers to be more serious with the venture.

Temi said a plan to add value to the mangoes is underway as the county government intends to start making quality mango flex which will be dried by solar, packaged and exported to countries such as France.

“A kilo of fresh mangoes goes from Sh10-15 but a kg of mango flex is sold at Sh500, thus the need to add value to our mangoes,” he said.

The training targets 500 youths across the county.

He stated that the training will end in January 2021 and participants be issued with a certificate from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, who are partners in the exercise.

Edited by EKibii

Kitui value chain addition specialist Temi Mutia trains youths on pest and disease control on mango trees
YOUTHFUL FARMING Kitui value chain addition specialist Temi Mutia trains youths on pest and disease control on mango trees
Image: LINAH MUSANGI
Ndanu Mwikali, 23, has started horticulture farming
FARMING Ndanu Mwikali, 23, has started horticulture farming
Image: LINAH MUSANGI