WORRYING TREND

Fewer youths enrolling in agricultural courses

This was noted in the 2018 Economic Survey by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics

In Summary

• Decline blamed on fewer students qualifying for the course, not lack of interest

Visitors in Rodgers Kirwa’s model farm in Nandi county
Visitors in Rodgers Kirwa’s model farm in Nandi county
Image: MELANIE MWANGI

The 2018 Economic Survey by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics stated that degree enrolment of agricultural courses decreased from 24,221 students in 2017 to 18,165 in 2018.

The report, however, attributed this to the limited number of students attaining requisite grades in cluster subjects for the course, not lack of interest.

“Diploma enrolment in agriculture courses at Egerton University declined further to six students in 2018 from 196 in 2017. Enrolment levels in diploma courses at Animal Health Training Institutes (AHITIs) decreased by 17.5 per cent in Kabete and increased by 22 per cent in Ndomba,” the report said.

“Overall, enrolment in certificate-level courses at the AHITIs increased by 17.8 per cent from 247 in 2017 to 291 in 2018. However, enrolment in certificate-level courses at Nyahururu dropped from 74 students in 217 to 71 students in 2018.

“There was a 7.1 per cent increase in enrolment in short-term vocational courses at Athi River Meat Training to 69 students in 2018.”

Men dominated the agricultural industry at 212.9 thousand, while women were at 123.7 thousand. Overall, people in the agriculture industry grew from 332.1 thousand in 2017 to 336.6 thousand in 2018.09

The survey also stated that the agriculture, forestry and fishery industries are among the three leading sectors providing wage employment.

“The value of agricultural production increased in the last four years by 11.4 per cent to Sh497.9 billion in 2018. Agricultural output at current prices increased by 7.8 per cent to Sh3,346.3 billion, while input increased by 13.5 per cent to Sh461.1 billion in 2018,” it said.

The World Bank, in a report released this year, said agriculture is the biggest contributor to Kenya’s economy, accounting for about half of the GDP.

“Growth is expected to be 5.9 per cent in 2020 and accelerate to 6 per cent in 2021, driven by recovery in farming and supported by private consumption,” the World Bank report said.