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Youth groups are leading the way in Kenya's agricultural sector

16 January 2020

Youth groups are leading the way in Kenya's agricultural sector

On a humid mid-morning, young men and women from the village of Tezo in Kilifi County in coastal Kenya came together under the shade of a leafy neem tree to share their latest ideas on how to build local agricultural businesses.

Made up of 15 young professionals, farmers and students, the Ngerenya Youth Group was formed in 2018 through Farm Africa’s Cashew and Sesame Value Chain Project. Funded by the European Union, the project gives young people a platform where they can learn from each other and gain skills to start and expand their own agribusinesses.

Farm Africa has equipped these youth groups with the knowledge and tools to provide services such as nursery establishment, biological pest management, as well as top working and pruning skills to revitalise old trees and increase yields. Training in financial management has supported members to understand how to run their operations as a profitable business to increase their earning potential. 

So far, 555 young people have been trained, with 200 of them having already established tree nurseries and grafting services to support farmers in their communities.

Ngerenya Youth Group meeting

Using contributions from members as start-up capital, the Ngerenya Youth Group have established their own nursery in Tezo, planting cashew, coconut, mango, tomato, kale and amaranth seedlings.

“The selling prices of the seedlings vary. The more time a seedling takes to reach the transplanting stage, the higher the cost of production, which then translates to a higher selling price.” says member Florence Mtepe.

Other income-generating activities for this youth group include the establishment of kitchen gardens for farmers and drilling holes for tree planting using tools that Farm Africa lends them.

Ngerenya Yoith Group demonstrating how to build a cone garden

Work is underway to link youth groups with financial institutions so that they can access funding to expand their ventures further. Three groups have applied for no-interest youth enterprise fund loans to grow their businesses.

“The activities we are engaging in have improved our livelihoods considerably. From the group revenue and my own tree nursery that I have established at home, I am able to support the education of my siblings,” commented member Alice Mwangala.  

The Ngerenya Youth Group have been sharing their knowledge with other young people in their community, actively mentoring unemployed young people by training them and hiring some at the nursery when in need of labour.

Their spirited dedication to the project shows that pooling energy and resources can reap huge rewards.