The LakeHub organization in partnership with the German Development Cooperation (GIZ) has launched a Sh.30 million empowerment program for youth and women engaged in agribusiness in Western Kenya.
The tech innovation hub based in Kisumu town has invited eligible youth or women led agribusiness enterprises in the poultry, groundnuts, passion fruits and apiculture value chains within Bungoma, Kisumu, Siaya, Kakamega and Vihiga counties to apply to take part in the program.
The initiative dubbed ‘Pepea Na Agribiz: Creating Wealth in Agribusiness’ is a youth capacity building initiative aimed at enhancing food security, enabling value addition, and creating sustainable jobs for youth and women in the rural areas.
It will address key challenges that hinder youth and women from exploring their full potential in the selected value chains.
LakeHub Programs Director Dorcas Owino on Wednesday said the program would capacity-build youths and women in agriculture by providing opportunities like business development training, business coaching, investor readiness, crowdfunding, and certification.
In addition, the 100 selected beneficiaries will each receive a seed grant award of Sh 300,000 to enable the women and youth to gain the requisite skills needed to upscale their agribusinesses.
“We recognize that agriculture is no longer just about digging in the soil, it is also about leveraging technology to improve productivity, increase efficiency, and income and accelerate small and medium size agribusiness enterprises,” stated Ms Owino.
She added that providing the right technical structure and financial support would ultimately translate to more favorable outcomes for women and youth in the sector, hence, realizing food security, jobs and wealth creation.
According to Purity Akoth from LakeHub, the agriculture sector employs over 40 percent of Kenya’s total population and more than 70 percent of the rural populace.
Akoth says that despite having numerous financing opportunities from the banks, venture capital and micro-financing that supports agriculture, still many small-scale agripreneurs face stringent eligibility criteria locking them out from financial access for expansion.
By Robert Ojwang’