The Government has launched a five-year strategy to increase participation of the youth in agricultural activities.
With youth unemployment soaring, the Government is betting on Kenya Youth in Agribusiness Strategy to lure more young people to agriculture, which currently contributes 24 per cent to the country’s economy.
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“The strategy is aimed at providing new opportunities for the youth in agriculture and its value chains. The impact of youth engagement in agriculture will be evident in sustainable economic growth and in the reduction of poverty and malnutrition,” said Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Willy Bett yesterday at the launch of a three-day forum to discuss the strategy in Nairobi.
The ministry, together with county governments and other development partners, hopes the strategy will lead to creation of innovative, attractive and sustainable employment for the youth through agribusiness.
Mr Bett said about 300,000 young people were being left out of the job market every year, yet opportunities were aplenty in the agriculture sector. Most of those engaged in agricultural activities, he noted, were between 50 and 65 years and still predominantly relied on traditional and subsistence farming practices.
The youth account for 35.4 per cent of Kenya’s population, with about one million entering the labour market annually, according to the 2014 Kenya Country Report on Youth Employment. “The situation is exacerbated by perception of agriculture as a career of last resort, one of drudgery and low monetary benefits,” says the ministry in the strategy document.