Close to 800 youth in Oloitokitok, Kajiado county have benefitted from a Ksh32 million funded Safaricom Foundation Youth in Agribusiness programme. Another 50 young women in Bungoma are also being supported in poultry farming.
In Kajiado youth have been supported to grow rainfed and high value crops such as sunflower, onions and tomatoes. The programme has also been tailor-made to empower the youth by giving them access to land, inputs, learning content and infrastructure.
“There is an opportunity for us to create employment for youth and increase their productivity in the agricultural sector. Through this programme, we are reinforcing that farming is a viable and dignified source of livelihood, not a retirement option,” said Frankline Okata, Trustee, Safaricom Foundation.
Statistics from the Ministry of Agriculture’s Sector Transformation and Growth Strategy show that agriculture contributes to 33% of total GDP, 60 % of informal employment and 60% of exports. The latest census data shows that 39 % of youth eligible for hire are unemployed.
“This programme is part of our economic empowerment pillar where we seek to provide opportunities for youth to become productive self-reliant citizens,” Okata said.
The youth also have access to input loans of between Ksh5,000 – Ksh20,000 depending on the value chain with those producing high value crops also receiving financial support to increase access to water and improve irrigation systems.
Additionally, the programme provides the farmers access to a guaranteed market for their produce at favourable rates. The pilot programme has been running for five months with a view of scaling it up to other parts of the country thereafter.