Uasin Gishu county youths have been urged to take advantage of the Agribusiness Programme to uplift themselves.
Speaking to KNA in his office, the County’s Chief Officer Agricultural Julius Rotich said they have a programme that currently has 120 passion fruit farmers and is set to be expanded in the next financial year to include more farmers with diverse high-value crops.
“We managed to register 120 youth groups this financial year, but we are working on increasing the budget next financial year to accommodate more youth groups,” he said.
“The youth should not be worried about the market because we have firms that are willing to buy the produce,” he added, adding that they were now concentrating on increasing production in order to meet the volumes needed by these firms.”
The youths are provided with seeds, water tanks, and funds to erect the tanks.
“The youth are only required to provide land, water, and labour but the rest including the market is catered for by the county government,” said the CO. He said the youth need to understand that agribusiness was not ‘a get-rich-quick scheme’, as it requires dedication and effort, “therefore we are not giving them cash but procuring for them equipment and inputs needed for the projects,” he explained.
Rotich said from previous experience with the youth groups showed that when given money they divide it among themselves and disappeared at the expense of development.
The average age of a Kenyan farmer currently is 60 years and this beckons the need to involve more youths in the industry. Agriculture is an area that if fully utilized, will be a source for employment for the youths.
“At the moment we are working with the extension officers in the ward and sub-county level in engaging the youths in agriculture, we are hopeful by the next financial year we shall have recruited more youth groups into the programme,” said Rotich.
By Brian Kipkenei