Kenya makes agribusiness attractive to youths with launch of US$20m capacity building initiative

KENYA – Kenya has unveiled a Ksh. 2.2 billion (US$20m) Empowering Novel Agribusiness-led Employment (ENABLE Kenya) program, aimed at creating employment, generating income and bridging succession gap in the agribusiness sector.

The youth capacity building initiative, ENABLE Kenya is funded by both the Government of Kenya and the African Development Bank (AfDB).

It seeks to build the capacity of 10,000 youths involved in agribusiness, to enable them create employment opportunities for 50,000 others.

Besides training and capacity building, a large proportion of the Ksh 2.2 billion (US$20m) fund will be disbursed to beneficiaries as interest-free loans amounting to Ksh 500 million (US$4.6m) to finance start-ups, and Ksh 900 million (US$8.3m) in low interest credit for existing youth enterprises.

Also included in the kitty is a Ksh 800 million (US$7.4m) risk guarantee provision to buffer financial institutions that provide commercial loans to entrepreneurs in the agricultural sector.

“Ultimately, these efforts will go a long way to transform negative perceptions on agribusiness and make it more attractive to young people.”

President of the Republic of Kenya – Uhuru Kenyatta

Speaking at the launch of the initiative, President Uhuru Kenyatta indicated that it fits into the various farmer empowerment initiatives being implemented by the government, among them the Aquaculture Business Development Programme that is being rolled out in 15 counties.

“To complement this pilot project, parallel efforts are in place to transfer aquaculture technology and build the capacity of the youth in schools by establishing aquaponics in learning institutions. Already, 40 schools spread out across the country have benefited from this initiative,” the President said.

The President cited the revival of Liwatoni Fishing Port in Mombasa County and the Ksh 43 billion (US$398m) affirmative action programmes for women and youth that have so far benefitted over 4.7 million SME’s engaged in agribusiness, as some of the measures the government is taking in order to uplift young people.

“Ultimately, these efforts will go a long way to transform negative perceptions on agribusiness and make it more attractive to young people,” the Head of State said.

Alongside financing, the President said the government has intensified capacity building for youth in agribusiness through the Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Programme.

Over the last five years, this initiative has led to the development and approval of more than 45 competency-based education and training curricula for agricultural middle level colleges, on selected key value chains such as dairy, horticulture, poultry, aquaculture and agri-preneureship.

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