State Sh8 billion to lure youth into agriculture

State Sh8 billion to lure youth into agriculture
Photo: Tea farming. Photo/Courtesy

Government will spend Sh8 billion in the next five years to assist youth venture into agriculture. Principal secretary for Livestock Andrew Tuimur has confirmed that government will start implementing the Youth and Agribusiness Strategy (2016 – 2021).

The strategy, he explained, seeks to position youth at the lead of agricultural development and thus help tame high levels of unemployment and poverty.

“There will be increased incomes and employment opportunities for the youth through active engagement in agri-preneurship, enhanced food and nutrition security,” said Tuimur.

Programme financing National government, County government, development partners and public benefit organisations will finance the programme.

Tuimur was speaking during the second day of the ministerial conference on agriculture and nutrition data and fourth Agritec Africa international exhibition in Nairobi. He said involving youth in agriculture would ensure more production.

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“In Kenya the average farming age is 65 years implying more young people need to be encouraged to adopt farming so that food production can be sustained. Further the strategy will ensure continuity in terms of youth taking over from the old,” he said.

Tuimur said there will be enhanced access to factors of production, utilisation of modern technologies and good agriculture practices to increase efficiency as well as equip youth with appropriate agribusiness skills, knowledge and information.

During the conference youth blamed lack of interest in the agriculture sector to inadequate skills, knowledge and information, and limited access to financial services for agribusiness.

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Further, the huge disconnect between youth and agriculture is attributable to low absorption of innovation, research and technology, limited access to land and low productivity.

The approach, Tuimur said, will promote youth-inclusive climate smart agricultural technologies, create green jobs for environmental sustainability and transform mindsets and perceptions of the youth towards agribusiness.

“The programme will equip youth with appropriate agribusiness skills, knowledge and information and enhance access to affordable and youth friendly financial services for agri-preneurship,” added Tuimur. To achieve this the PS stated that some of the current procurement regulations will be reviewed to allow more youth access funds.

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