The County Government of Nakuru has put in place a program aimed at enticing youth to embrace agriculture and self-employment as a way of enabling them to create gainful jobs and generate income.
In a press statement, Governor Lee Kinyanjui, said the venture dubbed ‘Nakuru Youth Empowerment program’ had been designed to address a number of challenges that hinder youth engagement in agribusiness and informal sector such as negative perception and attitude and limited access to financial services.
Mr Kinyanjui stated that under the program, his Administration has distributed 90 car wash machines, 115 motorcycles, 446 shaving machines, 506 hair blow dryers and 488 fishing nets, among other items to over 200 youth groups.
“Through the initiative, we are also empowering players in the creative arts industry through training, mainly at the Nakuru Players Theater where they have opportunities to take part and learn from acclaimed films such as Sarafina. We want the youth, especially in the rural areas, to embrace technology. The County Government has launched ICT hubs with free WiFi in Sub counties where the youth are trained on how to make money online,” the Governor pointed out in his statement.
The initiative, he said, will actively promote agriculture as an attractive and important business and not an activity associated with academic failures and retirees.
“In the past a retiree from a white collar job was given a jembe and spade signifying time to venture into farming. This only entrenched among the youth a misplaced perception that agriculture was outdated, unprofitable, hard and dirty work. We will not achieve food security and nutrition if the most active segment of the population is not willing to participate in agriculture,” he noted.
He affirmed that via the Nakuru Youth Empowerment program his Administration would source finance and other resources necessary for successful investment in farming and the informal sector for the youth.
“Few young people own land and capital is out of their reach. We are working together with DanChurch Aid Kenya, a Danish International NGO that supports communities in Kenya with a strong focus on youth on agriculture production, access to financing for small holder farmers and job creation for youth, particularly in the green growth sector.
As policy makers it is our responsibility to develop innovative financing concepts, strategies to identify and fund sustainable agriculture projects and platforms and to identify young people interested in self-employment and agribusiness,” added Mr Kinyanjui.
The Governor indicated that the digital revolution presented many opportunities to the youth to venture into agriculture and informal employment through digital platforms and innovations such as mobile Apps and social media.
He indicated that deliberate reduction on cost of farm inputs, making markets easily accessible, giving farmers subsidies and establishing loss mitigation factors in event of bad weather will make the sector attractive to the youth.