•The five-year project being implemented by Practical Action is aimed at establishing vibrant and inclusive rural economies by promoting agricultural livelihoods for youths using regenerative agricultural practices.
•Project manager Oliver Furechi said focus is to break the cycles of low productivity and increasing rural poverty.
More than 6,000 young people in Kisumu and Homa Bay counties have benefited from the transforming rural economies and young livelihoods project.
Out of the beneficiaries, 40 percent are young women.
The five-year project being implemented by Practical Action is aimed at establishing vibrant and inclusive rural economies by promoting agricultural livelihoods for youths using regenerative agricultural practices.
Project manager Oliver Furechi said focus is to break the cycles of low productivity and increasing rural poverty.
“The objective is to increase youth income either employed or self-employed through sustainable and regenerative agribusiness,” he said.
This, Furechi said they do a through holistic and gendered approach which enables young men and women to increase their income through agribusiness.
“Through the project, Practical Action is advocating agro-ecological approaches that foster innovation and create social enterprises for youth in rural economies,” he said.
The approach also targets reduced farm inputs cost, and restored the productivity of soil and water, leading to increased farm productivity, food security and income.
Through partnership, the organisation has implemented the project in Homa Bay and Kisumu which enabled young people to take up agribusiness as a livelihood option for them.
Furechi pointed out that more than 800,000 graduates from various higher learning institutions and colleges are not able to secure the white collar jobs.
“With the project, we are supporting them to take regenerative agribusiness that are not harming the environment and adaptive to climate change, and reduce the level of greenhouse gas emissions to earn a decent income,” he said.
Since the inception of the project in 2019, the young people have been able to increase income from Sh7,000 to Sh19,000 monthly.
Beneficiaries are working within the value chain of poultry, groundnuts and African leafy vegetables.
“We are also supporting them to pick up tomatoes and using technologies that enable them to maximize the nutrients that they produce,” Furechi added.
They are also supported to leverage output from one unit as into the next production unit.
For sustainability, the project manager said they work with the county governments to ensure they take up one of the models that they are supporting such as mentorship that is driven by business relationships.
“For instance where one person is working with another set of 10 of them and come together to pull resources for agribusiness. This allows them to expand their businesses and capture lucrative markets for them,” he said.
The goal is to embed the model into the County Integrated Development Plan (CIDP) III that will be running into the next five years.
“We expect the model once resourced will benefit the young people,” Furechi said.
The project has resulted in increased income, jobs creation among the youth and improved soil health.
They have been able to produce more from the same piece of land compared to previously, which are mitigating against climate change.
With more young people adopting the project, Furechi is optimistic that the project will attract more funding to scale up the model to reach more people.
Beside the model, they also support young people to take up rearing of Black soldier fly which has got multiplicity of benefits.
“One of them is to produce organic manure that can be used by farmers as well as manage waste. This means that county governments that are grappling with waste management are something that we can be able to turn to create jobs for young people,” Furechi said.
Black soldier rearing also ensures organic manure that is contributing less in terms of greenhouse gas emission, creating income and making farmers more resilient and reducing their cost of inputs which increases the income of farmers.