The German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), has partnered with a leading job placement agency, to secure jobs for youths in the agri-business sector.
The partnership with Brighter Monday, targets to link the youth in Western Kenya, to the private sector seeking qualified personnel to fill vacant positions in the agri-business sector.
Brighter Monday Campaign Manager, Pancy Maina, said the agri-business sector was big and full of opportunities which the youth can tap into to end unemployment.
This, however, she said has not taken root since the youth who constitute 70 per cent of the country’s population, have shunned agriculture despite the sector’s huge potential.
Speaking in Kisumu during a workshop with agri-business employers on management of multigenerational workforce, Maina said through the partnership, Brighter Monday has rolled out training for the youth to build their capacity to take up jobs in the sector.
The training, which targets 600 youths from Kisumu, Siaya, Kakamega, Bungoma and Vihiga counties will go a long way in linking up the youth to existing and emerging opportunities in the sector.
GIZ Labor Matching Adviser, Julia Mueller, said the Agri-Jobs 4 Youth funded by the government of Germany, targets to change the negative perception towards agriculture by the youth, to ensure that they benefit from the myriad opportunities in the sector.
“Agriculture is perceived as a punishment and many youths take it as a last resort. Through this program we are trying to change this negative perception,” she said.
Most of the youths, said Maina, were not aware of the existing opportunities along the agriculture value chain adding that the belief that agriculture was all about digging has kept many of them away from the sector.
She pointed out opportunities in value addition, Internet of Things (IOT) and marketing, where the youths can secure jobs to help address the question of unemployment in the country.
According to Maina, through the engagement and sensitization, the perception of the youth in the five counties has changed with a good number of them now venturing into the sector.
“We have started to witness a lot of young people returning back home from the cities to venture into agriculture,” she said.
Speaking during the same occasion, Lake Basin Development Authority (LBDA), Human Resource Manager, Argwings Raballa, said most of the youth in the area have shunned agriculture programmes and instead prefer softer courses such as Information Technology (IT) leaving a huge skills gap in the sector.
Human Resource firms recruiting workers in the agri-business sector, he added, lacked the requisite skills to absorb youths with the right competence since a lot of focus had shifted to emerging disciplines like ICT.
Lucy Kanana, a HR practitioner upskilling for youths with training in agriculture, cited a big challenge in recruiting the right workforce in the agri-business sector.
“Most of the youth just have a blanket certificate from the university or college and have not bothered to develop specific skills to meet the demands of the sector,” she said.
Lack of information on the sector, she added, was also a challenge with a good number of youths venturing into the sector, opting out after failing to achieve desired results.
“We have a good number of young people venturing into agriculture as a last resort without proper information and what they are required to do, resulting in huge losses,” said Kanana.
By Chris Mahandara