The County department of Agriculture, Irrigation, Livestock and Fisheries together with its partners today organized a stakeholder’s workshop to deliberate on resource mobilization that is crucial in the formulation of the Kisumu County Youth Agribusiness Strategy (KCYAS).
The Kisumu County Youth Agribusiness Strategy draft financed by the GIZ seeks to streamline the activities of the youth in Agribusiness sector in the County. It envisages targeted interventions such as training of youth entrepreneurs, mentorship, financial support and organizing the youths under one umbrella.
Youths in Kisumu account for 31% of the population out of which 22% are fully unemployed (KNBS2019), the agriculture sector presents an opportunity for creation of employment for the youths to achieve food security. However, the sector remains largely unattractive to the youths due to low income, inadequate information on access to markets, costly inputs, lack of farmland and access to finances.
The strategy draft once adopted by the Cabinet and then ratified by the County Assembly will go a long way in creating and identifying youth centric value chains that are highly profitable, sustainable and attractive. It further highlights the potentialities, opportunities and challenges in the process of job creation while prescribing possible solutions.
Moreover, the strategy has been formulated and structured to; address the gaps that lead to low economic development and high employment among the youth, define a road map that will enhance exploitation of existing opportunities in the sector, provide a framework for nurturing the entrepreneurial skills, knowledge and attitude of the youth and lay mechanisms to aid youth driven enterprise start-ups, growth and expansion.
Speaking at the event, the Chief Officer Agriculture and Irrigation, Dr. Paul Omanga commended the GIZ and FAO for their immense support in developing the strategy. He also recognized the efforts of the partners who attended the workshop.
He noted that for proper understanding of the youths in agribusiness, there is need to unpack the whole issue by first knowing if the youths are organized into groups and the levels of their capacities. He added that knowing why they are not in business would help in creating a better value chain approach they can pursue.
“We are moving from commodity to value chain approach which creates employment at every node and then prioritize the value chains according to the income they generate,” says Dr. Omanga.
The Chief Officer also emphasized that resource mobilization strategies is the sole reason why the workshop has been convened.
Mr. Tito Arunga, the FAO value chain sub–program Lead, called on the participants to put a concerted effort in creating opportunities for income, employment and to ensure food security for the region.
He noted that economies that have private sectors in the front line play a crucial role in creation of opportunities and income generation.
Concerning the entrepreneurship gaps, he said FAO advocates for innovations since the market opportunities have changed overtime and that the market dictates what to produce. He advised that it is important to adopt technology space that reduce cost of production while giving a competitive and comparative advantage to the youths.
Mr. Arunga said FAO always endeavors to mainstream youth into their programs through the food systems inclusive value chain approach in terms of gender and young people being included. He outlined some of the programs FAO has supported the youth in trying to bridge the entrepreneurship gap through training young people on financial and digital literacy, organizing farmer fields, business and farmer market schools. Currently, they are involving youths in tree planting under the green Cities Initiative.
Mr. George Abwajo from Gulf Hub who is also the chairperson of the task force that developed the Kisumu County Youth Agribusiness Strategy (2022-2027), gave an overview of the document for purposes of sensitizing the partners on the content, open discussions for more in put on the available opportunities for investment and for dissemination.
while his counterpart Dr. Orodi Odhiambo highlighted on the theory of change which focused on the need for money, sources of money and how to create jobs/ businesses. He reiterated that creating entrepreneurs and having employees with the right skills will increase productivity and the money people require.
In closing Mr. Ajulu guided the partners present on resource mobilization for the strategy with partners making commitment for the support the initiative either by offering trainings and mentorship, while the financial institutions committed to support the youths to access credit facilities once they are trained and ready to start up their businesses.
In attendance were officials from County department of Agriculture, Irrigation, Livestock and Fisheries, GIZ, FAO, LREB, MSEA, KIRDI, KCB and Equity Banks, Empowered Youth Activities -USAID, and Kenya Investment Authorities among others.
By: Emily Mikwa