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PRECAUTIONARY MEASURES AFFECT ECONOMY

Youths should take up agribusiness during Covid-19

Many have been laid off or sent on unpaid leave in the wake of virus

In Summary

• As the virus cases rise fast, there is a great concern about the disease’s potential impact. 

• Youths should utilise programmes such as Biashara Fund for training and financial support for agribusiness. 

The Youth Enterprises fund whose offices are at TSS Nkrumah Road, Mombasa.
SUSTAIN ECONOMY: The Youth Enterprises fund whose offices are at TSS Nkrumah Road, Mombasa.
Image: FILE

In the wake of the unprecedented Covid-19 pandemic, many young people have either been laid off, declared redundant or sent on unpaid leave.

As the virus cases rise fast, there is a great concern about the disease’s potential impact. 

To mitigate the spread of Covid-19, the government has put in place a raft of measures such as dusk-to-dawn curfew, cessation of movement in and out of infected areas, ban of international passenger flights and closure of borders. 

But this means the active population is restricted from conducting business to make a living given that most ventures run late into the night while some cross borders. 

Overall unemployment among the youth is at 55 per cent. 

The government has come up with several affirmative action programmes and policies. For example, Kenya's Youth Enterprise Development Fund was set up in December 2016 to help youth acquire work skills and so reduce unemployment. In 2017, the fund reported that, since inception, it had loaned money to about 880,000 beneficiaries and trained over 360,000 in entrepreneurship and agribusiness.

This was merged with Uwezo Fund and Women Enterprise Fund to Biashara Kenya Fund which loans money to youth groups for business.

Youth should utilise such programmes for training to be effective in business. A challenge that is facing most farmers is that they've little or no training on matters entrepreneurship, hence are at risk of manipulation by brokers.

However, with the inception of technology, we've online applications such as Twiga Foods and Mkulima Young that remedy the situation by directly linking farmers to traders by passing the crafty, cunning and deceitful middlemen.

 

National coordinator, Youth Senate Kenya