Promoting youth employment in Western Kenya’s Agri-Food Sector
Title: Youth employment in the agri-food sector in Western Kenya
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Cooperatives, MoALFC
Overall term: 2020 to 2022
Agriculture is the mainstay of Kenya's economy. Approximately 70 per cent of all Kenyans live in rural areas and depend on the sector for both food and employment. Kenya has a very young population, three-quarters of which are under 35 years of age. However, youth unemployment is around 25 per cent or more, compared to the overall rate of around 10 per cent.
While the agri-food sector bears great potential in terms of income and employment, it is an unpopular work choice among rural youth. The challenge facing Kenyan government, therefore, is to exploit the existing potentials and bring young people into the agri-food sector. However, the country still lacks a sufficiently supportive environment to make this happen. Young people therefore need access to skills-based education and vocational training to equip them with skills sought-after by the private sector.
Rural youth are benefiting from improved training and employment opportunities in selected value chains of the agri-food sector.
The project aims to improve the qualification and employment situation of small-scale producers and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the agri-food sector, especially for young men and women (18-35 years).
Together with the global project "Rural Employment with a Focus on Youth (RYE)", funded by the special initiative ONE WORLD - No Hunger (SEWOH) of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), it forms the "Agri-Jobs 4 Youth" initiative. Their joint integrated approach looks to enhance youth employment prospects by better equipping them for the labour market and at the same time increasing the demand for labour and improving labour market functioning and matching mechanisms.
Enhancing the capacities of governmental and non-governmental actors and the private sector means they can better respond to the needs of unemployed or underemployed rural youth. Supporting sustainable youth organisations and networks provides rural youth with important access to information, inputs, land or financing. Special attention is given to the needs of women and young adults (18-23).
The project also promotes good governance in county institutions and youth organisations to improve service delivery. It also addresses climate-related problems by promoting climate-smart agricultural technologies, innovations and green jobs for sustainable livelihoods, thus contributing to the objectives of the National Climate Change Action Plan (NCCAP).
The project cooperates with the Agricultural Sector Network (ASNET) of the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) to provide youth organisations and MSMEs with national business networks.
In collaboration with the social enterprise Fruited Plains, 600 youth farmers now work in contract farming and receive inputs, advice and market access.
A total of 78 trainers, including youth group representatives, received agricultural technical vocational education and training (ATVET). After completing a course on didactics at Kenya Technical Trainers College (KTTC), they now apply adult learning techniques and other innovative methods such as e-learning.
Self-organisation is crucial for rural development. To this end, the project supports youth-led umbrella organisations, three of which involve about 1,600 young people (with one third young women). The organisations receive ongoing support in organisational and business development to improve service delivery to their members. Further youth-led organisations are in the process of being set up.
To give youth a stronger voice at county level, the project supports the implementation of the national Youth Agribusiness Strategy (2018-2022), incorporating aspects of the National Climate Change Action Plan (2018-2022). Policy development taskforces with youth representation now exist in each partner county. To improve participation here, the project ran Champions for Change (C4C) training with 66 county officials and seven youth representatives. The latter are now significantly involved in the policy development process through their task force membership.
Last update: March 2021