The Ministry of Agriculture has rolled out a Sh2.2 billion government fund to support youth to establish agribusiness enterprises.

Government to support youth to get into agribusiness

As part of effort to address this challenge, the Ministry of Agriculture has rolled out a Sh2.2 billion government fund to support youth to establish agribusiness enterprises.

Youth unemployment remains a serious challenge in Kenya with the youth comprising 67 percent of those without jobs.

This problem is exacerbated by underemployment and poor quality jobs in the informal sector. The trends indicate that over one million young people enter the labor market annually but only a few get into meaningful employment.

This will be implemented through the Empowering Novel Agribusiness-Led Employment (ENABLE) Programme that is co-funded by the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the government, whose main objective is to create gainful employment, generate income for the youth and bridge succession gap in agribusiness and related value chains.

“A number of challenges that hinder youth engagement in the sector have been identified and include negative perception and attitude to agribusiness and limited access to financial services,” says Agriculture Chief Administrative Secretary Anne Nyaga.

The implementation of the ENABLE Youth Kenya Programme is taking place in Youth Agri-Business Incubation Centres (YABICs) at identified government centres and also in partnership with the private sector across the country.

The YABICs operate using an incubation model for agripreneurship. The model involves training, nurturing, mentoring, coaching and financing of incubatees. The incubation process follows three key phases- pre-incubation, incubation and post-incubation for a period of between three to 12 months.

ENABLE Youth Kenya Programme has a financing component that seeks to support youth-owned agribusinesses by facilitating access to capital through financing and risk-sharing mechanisms. The programme will finance youth agripreneurs through three financing mechanisms.

The mechanisms include interest-free loan to finance up to Sh500 million to youth for start-ups, soft loan where Sh900 million will be committed in the form of low-interest credit to the incubation graduates at an interest rate of five percent and the Risk Guarantee Fund where Sh800 million will be for a risk sharing fund, which will provide back-stopping support to financial institutions to make available up to Sh5 billion as commercial loans to agripreneurs.

“To this end, the youth have a chance to transform the agriculture sector and bring the anticipated growth in the economy of this country,” said the CAS.

Ms Nyaga said that despite the aspirations and efforts both by the government and the private sector to involve the youth in the agriculture sector, there is still low youth participation in various value chains in the sector.

The Kenya Youth Agribusiness Strategy was developed by the Ministry and it aims at enhancing coordination, promoting innovativeness and sustainable employment for the youth through agribusiness.

The main objective of the rigorous incubation process is to ensure the sustainability of the Micro, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (MSMEs) the incubatees are to establish.

The target is to train and empower 10,000 agricultural entrepreneurs (agripreneurs) directly and create employment opportunities to another 50,000 youth along the value chains.

The CAS said that the agripreneurs that will not be successful will be better positioned to enter the professional agriculture jobs market and find employment with the private sector.

She said the government takes cognisance of the burgeoning youthful population which needs attention adding that several areas of youth engagement have continually been highlighted and efforts put in place to assist the youth.

“With proper harnessing and equipping with the right skills, training and mentorship, job creation in many sectors of the economy, the youth are capable of transforming Kenya into a middle income country by 2030,” she said.

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