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Growing Futures

Photo: Farm Africa / Lisa Murray Photo: Farm Africa / Lisa Murray

The problem

In 2020, people aged 35 and under made up 75% of Kenya's population; 39% of whom were unemployed¹. In a country where agriculture is key to the economy, contributing 20% of GDP and employing more than 70% of rural people², farming should be offering a solution to youth unemployment.


What are we doing?

Growing Futures helps young people in western Kenya set up profitable farming enterprises growing and selling vegetables that are in high demand, such as French beans, mangetouts, kale, tomatoes and cabbages.

We are supporting 800 young farmers in Trans-Nzoia County and 1,700 young farmers in Elgeyo Marakwet County to grow export-quality crops, set up sustainable relationships with buyers and boost their resilience to climate change and seasonal variability.

The project has also created a sustainable business model in which enterprising young farmers are recruited as village-based advisors (VBAs). The VBAs earn an income by providing agricultural extension services to farmers, facilitating farmer linkages to buyers and service providers as well as keeping records and collecting produce from their farmer groups on behalf of the buyers.

Farm Africa has worked with young smallholder farmers in the region since 2016, supporting them to increase their yields and the quality of their vegetables through tools such as solar irrigation pumps and climate-smart agriculture technologies as well as building their links to markets.

How are we doing it?


The project provides training and technical assistance in horticulture and agronomy, helping young farmers produce the quantity and quality of produce demanded by high-value buyers and certification schemes. The project is also boosting farmers’ resilience to the effects of climate change in a bid to boost yields and food security. We are doing this by:

  • Improving farmers' access to agricultural technologies such as drip-irrigation systems, fertilisers, quality seed and crop protection products.
  • Teaching farmers how to sustainably produce high-value crops through a mixture of peer-to-peer learning on farmers’ plots and instructor-led lessons on local demonstration plots.
  • Training farmers in post-harvest handling and climate-smart agriculture practices such as water harvesting technologies, establishing protected nurseries for quality seedlings to boost soil health and integrated crop management to reduce pests and diseases.
  • Introducing technologies such as solar powered water pumps and cold storage facilities.


Growing Futures is developing young farmers’ business skills and widening their access to finance by:

  • Providing training in business development, financial and group management and helping farmers develop business plans to prepare their enterprises for growth.
  • Setting up credit schemes, such as Village Saving and Loan Associations and Savings and Credit Cooperatives, where farmers unite to save and make funds available to invest in each other’s businesses.


Growing Futures is strengthening farmers’ links with buyers in domestic and international markets by:

  • Delivering Global Good Agricultural Practice (GlobalGAP) training to farmers to help them meet export markets’ standards.
  • Helping farmer groups secure export contracts, which guarantee a market for their produce.
  • Training community-based organisations in aggregation, trade and marketing so that they can sell farmers’ produce in bulk.
  • Supporting the construction of a packhouse in Elgeyo Marakwet in order to improve the quality of produce, which will help farmers negotiate better prices and boost their incomes. The packhouse will also provide employment opportunities for young men and women.
  • Developing a standard quality management system, which all farmer groups who produce and supply through the packhouse will use.

Who are we working with?

This project is funded by Medicor Foundation, with funding from W&R Barnett and HM Clause.

In 2016, Aldi UK started funding the Growing Futures project, donating over £260,000 over three years to support 500 young farmers in Trans-Nzoia County in Western Kenya. In 2020, Aldi extended their support to these and other farmers for another two years.

Additional funding from Medicor and UK Aid from the UK government in 2017-18 enabled Growing Futures to expand into two further regions of Kenya, reaching another 4,000 young farmers.

The Growing Futures project builds upon the success of Farm Africa’s Youth Empowerment in Sustainable Agriculture (YESA) project, which ran from 2011 to 2015, supporting 2,300 young people in western Kenya to set up and run their own farms.


¹ The Kenyan Wall Street

² Central Bank of Kenya

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