• The expert said that the youth needed responsive policies to enable them to get access to credit
• They noted that high rates of unemployment create significant obstacles to young people’s ability to become self-reliant.
Lack of land, limited access to financing, and lack of knowledge have been identified as the main hindrance to youth engagement in the agriculture sector.
Several agribusiness experts at the Regional Youth and Agroecology Summit in Nakuru urged the encouraged the youth to be resilient and passionate in their aspirations of engaging in agriculture and related trades.
Country Director of Africa Agribusiness Academy, Charles Gitau said youth are constrained by lack of skills, low wages, lack of land, and limited access to financial services.
Gitau said his organisation in partnership with AgriProFocus Kenya under the sponsorship of the IKEA Foundation had come together to engage and empower the youth and offer solutions to the aforementioned challenges through mentorship.
“The partners are educating the youth involved in agricultural production, food processing, aggregation, transport and anything to do with agribusiness through the Youth in Agroecology, Business Learning Track Africa Project, a three-year initiative funded by IKEA,” he said.
Gitau said they were sharing with the youth ways the younger generation could support the food system besides producing and processing by preserving the environment.
He noted that the main aim of the regional summit was to build a common vision on how to generate sustainable, inclusive jobs for youth.
Gitau added that the youth needed responsive policies to enable them to get access to credit, agricultural inputs and equipment, and insurance as they engage in their farming activities.
They noted that high rates of unemployment create significant obstacles to young people’s ability to become self-reliant.
He observed that agriculture presents a huge opportunity for the creation of employment to absorb the youth but the majority of them do not consider it because it is either tedious or they think it is less profitable.
AgriProFocus Kenya Country Coordinator Andrew Mwaura said there was an increasing gap between food consumption and food production due to urbanization coupled with rural-urban migration.
He observed that youths have not been involved in policymaking on any activity, adding that the summits gave them the opportunity to make their inputs.
Mwaura said the YALTA project was in four East African countries.