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Irrigation systems offer new opportunities to young Kenyan farmers

17 November 2016

Irrigation systems offer new opportunities to young Kenyan farmers

In October 2016, a group of young farmers participating in Farm Africa’s Growing Futures project in Trans Nzoia County, Kenya, received the equipment they needed to start irrigating their farm plots.

Youth unemployment levels are high in the area, and Farm Africa, in partnership with international charity Mercy Corps, have been supporting young people to help them set up successful farming businesses and become job creators rather than job seekers.

Farm Africa has been working with young people in the area since 2011, encouraging them to grow vegetables such as French beans, cabbages, and chillies, and providing training in marketing and business skills to help them set up contracts to sell their produce both locally and for export.

The district commissioner for Trans Nzoia East handed over 20 water pump generators, 20 knapsacks, and 200 pipes for irrigation systems to the young farmers. With irrigation systems in place, these farming groups will be able to grow vegetables all year round, even through the dry season, giving them more produce to sell.

A representative from the export company VegPro also attended the event, and spoke about the opportunities that this equipment will give youth enterprises. VegPro currently exports vegetables grown by these young farmers, but only buys 15 tonnes, while their markets require 60 tonnes. VegPro will return to visit the farmers in six months’ time to see how the irrigation systems have helped to increase yields.

The farmers are also benefiting from financial literacy training, and are now linked to savings and loans groups. With credit available and the ability to invest in new equipment for their farms, these young farmers have the chance to grow their businesses and set themselves up for long and prosperous careers in commercial agriculture.