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Supporting young farmers

Gladys Kipkorir, 23, harvests snow peas at her youth group's farm in Leltangat Village, Trans Nzoia East Gladys Kipkorir, 23, harvests snow peas at her youth group's farm in Leltangat Village, Trans Nzoia East

According to a recent survey by the Institute of Economic Affairs, young people under the age of 34 make up 78.3 percent of the Kenyan population.

Farm Africa’s Youth Empowerment in Sustainable Agriculture (YESA) project, which ran from 2011 to 2015, worked to build young people’s interest in agricultural enterprises. These help generate income, create resilience and empower young people to become business leaders in their communities.

A new phase of the project, Growing Futures, is now under way and Farm Africa is currently running an appeal to expand the project and reach a further 2,000 young people in Elgeyo Marakwet county. The funds raised will be used to give high-quality seeds and agricultural and business training to young adults to enable them to set up their own sustainable horticultural businesses. Donations to the Growing Futures appeal from individuals based in the UK will be doubled by the government through UK Aid Match between 14 October 2017 and 14 January 2018.

Building Sustainable Youth Agribusinesses

YESA created, strengthened and supported youth groups to establish and manage agricultural businesses. The project provided training and technical assistance in agronomy, helped groups to market their products and encouraged members to become active in local politics and governance.

The project supported young farmers in various ways, including:

  • Providing seed funding to start small agri-businesses for example growing snow peas, cabbages, chilies and French beans.
  • Demonstrating agronomic practices and technologies in group plots used as training sites.
  • Training participating groups on financial literacy, credit management and business planning.
  • Supporting youth groups to access commercial finance to sustain and expand their businesses.
  • Linking the groups to markets and supporting them in the negotiation of contract farming agreements with buyers.

Who did we help?

YESA partnered with 87 youth groups in Trans Nzoia County, with a total of 2,300 members (47% of which were women).

RESULTS TO DATE

  • 40 groups are working under contract farming agreements with two export companies (Safe Produce Solutions for cabbages, Keitt Exporters and Kenya Fresh for French beans and snow peas and Mace Foods for chillies export), that engage the groups as out-growers for their supply chains.
  • About 780 lead farmers, have also started their own individual enterprises on their own farms and with Farm Africa’s initial technical support.
  • Approximately, KES 1.3 million (£9,300) in credit has been obtained by the youth groups from the Youth Enterprise Development Fund. The loans are being used to invest in technology, such as greenhouses, and to support their agricultural enterprises, including poultry, sheep, and vegetable farming and other small businesses.

Seed capital from Farm Africa enabled the groups to buy equipment that they can lease such as a multipurpose two-wheel tractor that can harrow, mix manure, blend fertilisers, irrigate, plough, weed and transport produce from the farms to marketplace.

 

Emily Bowen of Kiptoror Christian Development Youth Group in the groups's snow peas farm in Tugumo Village, Trans Nzoia East