How to Elevate Rural Youth Representation for Inclusive Agriculture and Planning

The GIZ Agriculture Team in Kenya and two rural youth representatives share their experiences on participatory policy and project initiatives. Webinar with pre-recorded inputs for enhanced experience
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Moderator, Julia Bayer: I’m super happy to have you here today it is we want to learn from the experiences on the question how we can enhance real youth representation in agricultural policy development.

Lydiah: -For you to learn a dairy farm you shall have enough land to be able to produce your own feeds in terms of fodder but in western Kenya we have challenges to access to land. So this has an option of leasing and also what we do we also contact the youth and women who does the production of fodder then now be able to specifically maize and we are to cut the maize and use it for the silage for the animals. We’re still a huge population of youth and majority of them are in the rural areas who are still relatively idle and that poses a risk to security issues. So it highly demands urgent attention by the public sector and also by the development organizations to identify ways of intervening on how youth could become much more engaged.

Moderator: – So the key issue here is represent the mechanisms, good mechanisms to be put in place so that issues that affect the youth are adequately captured not only in the agriculture sector policies but in other related policies.

– In the course of the validation process of the national youth and agribusiness strategy we saw that there is a strong need to create additional platforms between the national and the county governmental levels but also and especially between these governments and the rural youth themselves to ensure that they actually get a say and make a valid contribution to their own policies and programs.

Conference video voiceover: The youth in agribusiness Western Regional Conference was hosted by the counties of Bungoma, Kakamega and Siaya and held at the Bukura Agricultural College. The event attracted more than 700 rural youths at other stakeholders in the agriculture business.

– We now have the big four: the manufacturing, the housing, affordable housing, we have the universal health care and we have the hundred percent food and nutrition care which is administrated now in agriculture. All the other pillars cannot work without the hundred percent affinity even in universal housing. – Some of the technologies that they young people need to adopt in order to produce well in agribusiness is ICT.

-As the youth be able to learn from other youth what they are doing elsewhere and we also able to showcase maybe what has worked for us for the other youths to see and we’re able to link with the county government, the national government and to identify the opportunities for synergies and three we also able to I think create that network within ourselves as the youth.

– We are working with the minister of our catalyze under the current government for technical support, we are working with our development partners like GIZ for supporting us in kind or helping us access some of this training material from KALRO. Seeing innovations feeling them it ended with the declaration of the youth that was handed over to the government and here in the case the governor of Siaya – with the aspirations and with the demands of the youth in developing agribusiness and agripreneurship in their counties. This declaration is a joint statement. Bungoma, Kakamega and Siaya counties shall consider full youth involvement and participation in formulation and implementation of enacted policy documents. For youth through gainful employment opportunities in agribusiness and related support services. There’s nothing that is impossible. We need to be patient, we need to be persistent in each and everything that we are doing and also it’s not a must to get trained in a specific area. For myself I’m not trained in agriculture but I’m able to run a dairy farm. So let’s have that urge of being more of job creators and not job seekers.

– Prominent issues in these declarations were sustainable agriculture political representation and participation and also exit strategies for upcoming programs. The youth saw the need to have the umbrella organization which is going to champion their issues in agribusiness because for a long time youth would have not had a voice to air out their issues about agriculture.

Moderator: -How do you make sure that the youth decision really gets into the policies now?

– One of the main things that the counties has done is to establish account youth office which we can also channel our questions we can challenge our we can share ideas with them and we are able to involve youth in decision-making and policy framework.  Then we also expect that we are going to have some help through setting up youth centers. What are the benefits to be a leader? You’re able to get some training. That is the leadership training, the governance training on the dynamics that youth are going through so that you able to understand what the issues on the ground are and also through the partnership’s collaboration, networking and the linkages some of us have gotten an opportunity just to be trained as the champion of change so we’re able to also mentor the other youth on the possible ways on how they able to generate income in agribusiness.

Moderator: How are you benefiting from the process of compiling the youth declaration?

– It has made a lot of change in the way we have approached agriculture in youth. One thing that it has done is it has created an attention to the county government leadership and also to the partners because right now we are seeing a great transformation in the way the county governments are dealing with youth. The youth always complain about the lack of startup capital even after technical training. I encourage the youth to go for zero financing model where are you able to get interest-free loans or even just be able to start applying for the grants.

Moderator: When you choose the youth representative countries how did you do that?

To identify the youths we are getting a lot of help from the youths departments and the extension Department from the counties but also from our own GIZ cpc. So they were selecting and project the youth come to these workshops. On this workshop the youth themselves elected in a democratic way. They elected the leaders for the time being that means these leaders now are like an interim leader. Later when the organization may be fully registered they will do like a new election.

Moderator: – What would you do different next time to engage the youth?

– The involvement of others so that they can effectively participate in the policy. It becomes better when the youth participate bit a bit more and particularly for the youth who are already involved in an agribusiness activity. So this is a leader focus topic that you don’t just mobilize youth to you know to come together to discuss issues and to have them involved but that you will ensure that they are better involved in the actual process themselves, in deciding for instance who participates and exactly what would be the content or some of the issues that need to be discussed.

Moderator: – So what would be your recommendations to our colleagues?

– Basically our engagement was the three levels: we were engaged at the county level which is at the grassroot level, we also engaged at the intergovernmental level, kind of like a middle level, we are also engaged with the youth at the National level, which is the policy-making process level. During this conference also one good
thing happened the youth are able to interact with senior officials who under normal circumstances it is usually very difficult for them to reach out to them and also it gets an opportunity through this conference for the good things that the youth are doing, the role models to expose themselves and give them motivation and there the youth are able to learn from them.

Moderator: – What are the emerging policy issues that require immediate attention to ensure a conducive business environment for the youth?

– Access to finance, access to land and access to training opportunities. These are the real things that affect the participation of the youth in agribusiness. So and these are the key things that could be included in policies and programs. So that a program that is being designed, it in a way addresses how youth can access these
facilities or these important inputs for agribusiness.

Moderator: – How does the GIZ project further support this process of enhancing youth representation in the countries?

– Currently we are already working out a program on how we continue engaging the youth and one of the area we are looking into is a mechanism for peer to peer learning.

Moderator: – Thank you very much

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Typically a National Youth in Agribusiness Strategy will be faced with numerous challenges in a devolved governmental system. This webinar had a look at how youth strategies can be planned sufficiently and carried out practically at regional level.

What needs to be done to support rural youth in their role as change agents, to organise themselves as democratically legitimized representatives and, all in all, to create a gateway for structured coordination and communication with different types of stakeholders?

Participants had the opportunity to watch the entire input presentations in their own time beforehand without the usual technical hitches and later join the actual webinar for only the discussion!

Key takeaways from the webinar

Challenges rural youth is faced with

  • Insufficient or completely lacking market information 
  • Very limited access to finance and land
  • Weak and informal youth networks
  • Lengthy and bureaucratic processes for registering agribusinesses
  • Youths’ general lack of interest in agriculture

What is required to promote gainful employment for rural youth?

  1. Create communications platforms to hook up youths and politicians or policymakers, such as facilitated by GIZ at the Youth in Agribusiness Conference in Kenya’s Western Region.
  2. Support youth to get organized in youth associations and youth umbrella organizations, as legitimate access nodes to policymaking processes and to cooperate as partners of GIZ.
  3. Understand that agripreneurship is more than the farm level. To run successful businesses, a rather good understanding of farm management and business skills are required, as much as access to high-quality inputs, enough land and finance in particular.

Important recommendations for projects

  1. For gainful youth participation in agricultural policy decision processes, one needs to get them on board as early as possible, and to be more effective one should identify youths who are highly motivated with a willingness to be a good role model for their peers (“proper targeting of role models”).
  2. According to senior policy advisor Shadrack Mutavi, the youth approach implemented in Kenya can be emulated in other African countries. He summed up some highlights:
    The conference setting allowed competition between young agripreneurs. It highly motivated other youths to rethink their attitude towards agriculture (1), get involved in agribusinesses (2) and take a chance to be role models and youth leaders (3). It had been an excellent opportunity for the youth to reach out, exchange with senior policy officials, and likewise facilitated discussions at eye level (4).
  3. What are the emerging policy issues that need attention to ensure a conducive business environment for the youth?
    According to Shadrack, access to finance (1), to land (2) and to training opportunities (3) are the three key issues that most affect the participation of youth in agribusinesses. Therefore, all three needed to be prioritized in agricultural policies and program development.


  1. Let’s start talking with the youth – instead of talking about them
  2. Let’s get a better understanding of the needs of youth as striving agripreneurs, not as poor farmers.
  3. Let´s legitimize the voice of youth through supporting them to set up Youth Associations and Umbrella organizations in order to legitimate their role in policy decision processes (1) and enable them to be good and powerful speakers, representatives and role models for their peers (2).
  4. Once this is done, youth can be job creators in the agricultural sector, rather than job seekers.

What is it all about?

“Youth have the energy, youth have the number and youth have the voice”

The second webinar in the new online series on rural employment with a focus on youth is zooming in on the East Africa region with inputs from Western Kenya — having focused on the MENA-region in the previous webinar.

Of the 1.3m Kenyan youths entering the labour market annually at least 300,000 are left behind without any formal or informal employment opportunity. While Western Kenya is an area with high potential for agricultural production, small-scale structures, institutional voids and deficient service delivery cause for low productivity, low incomes and a rural exodus. Employment potentials in agribusiness, however, exist in value chains and support services, especially through division of tasks. Kenya’s decision-makers have acknowledged the need for new strategies and shifted towards taking the needs of the rural youth into closer consideration.

Pre-recorded presentations

All inputs were already available as video recordings before the actual webinar, during which there were only kick-off summaries of the presentations. Participants were kindly requested to watch the video inputs prior to the event. In case of a participant foreseeing not having time to participate, they had the option to submit their questions to the moderator via email, who relayed them to the presenters during the event.

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Kenya with a huge population of about 50 million people now and about 66 percent of this population below the age of five years, there is a necessity to really work on how programs that are more now involved in youth activities more particularly because about every year we are releasing about 1,000 youth into the market and the economy is unable to absorb about half of that.

So we still have about 500,000 youth still out there in the market who need something to do and agriculture has not been a very exciting area for the youth and they need for that. So as a country such a huge population, very high population growth rate of about 2.5 percent and where agriculture remains the main the backbone of the economy there is, therefore, need for youth participate more in agriculture.

Alternatively and we also know naturally the future is organization as much as this is a reality there is still also a desire for a country like Kenya which is still the low to middle income, to still five activities that can still keep the youth at the rural level before finally at the end of the day they might get to the urban environment but the urban areas at the moment also is not in a position to absorb large numbers of youth. So they need to intervene for the youth the food security project, the one I work for is currently working in western Kenya in three counties where nearly a quarter of the Kenyan population is in this part of the environment. Unfortunately, the income levels are still known among households so even the capacity for them to provide opportunities for the youth is still low.

In addition to the general production, agricultural production the opportunities for processing are still low.

So there is a need also to create opportunities for how in addition to production what opportunities within the agriculture value chains, possibly the youth could tap in. We are fortunate that the regional work the climatic conditions remain very welcome. The rains are good and also the soils are relatively good of course after many years of use, of course, a still a number of issues that need to be looked into. And so we see this as a huge opportunity. As I mentioned earlier the drive in Kenya for urban and rural population is that in the next number of years it is obvious that the urban population will take over the rural population. However before this happens and before the urban center develops capacity to absorb this kind of population, they need immediately to have interventions and at the rural level and also focuses at the youth. Within the GIZ agricultural program in addition to the food security program we have a number of other projects. So in this project, we mainly address the various thematic areas. One of them is the food security and nutrition as a key topic and now with the realization of this youth demand, the need for improved Extension advisory services more embedded on the vocational training and education systems is an area of focus we are more interested in food and agricultural practices.

Agribusiness is a key topic as we have just been listening to the youth. This is an area of interest where money can easily be generated along the various value chains. We are talking about strengthening organization of actors in the agricultural sector both whether they are farmers service either the suppliers including the youth who need to better organize themselves so that they can champion their interest and lobbying for intervention that can support them when they can be able to engage with governments. Other core areas of interest which our projects are focusing on is agriculture finance, the issues of infrastructure, improvement of markets and roads and particularly this is an area where the financial cooperation with the KfW is focusing on, particularly on the infrastructure. However for the technical cooperation with GIZ among the issues have already discussed above there, we also looking at issues of improvement of soil fertility. Services have been used for many years and acidity levels have gone high, the humus content of the organic matter content has gone down a level. They need to have new production systems that can be able to rebuild the soil fertility. Other areas of interest which also projects are focusing on mainly is on with the devolution in this country now that we have moved from a centralized system to a devolved system.

The devolved units yet do not have the capacity to work on policies and strategies and as program, they are also building the capacity of this County government to work on policies, to align them with national vision and them to be able to start against better to implement good cultural activities at their level. Youth and gender of course is a key topic and that’s why today we discuss in youth as a main element of it and in it we are also factoring a lot the amount of genders of both the young men and young ladies participating a bit more in agriculture. Overall our desire is to have sustainable inclusive and innovative models for agricultural development in a region we are working. In the three counties of the West, we are in Siaya, Kakamega and Bungoma these three countries we are two will cross over there with the public sector in the county governments. In these areas we have made substantial achievements so far. The currently have been able to reach more than a hundred thousand farmers. Quite a number of farmers have registered satisfaction with the type of services that are being rendered at the program.  There are aspects of productivity from the interventions we have been implementing. There is evidence like for the dairy sector there has been substantial increase and among the sweet potato, maize and there is a substantial percent of increase in productivity. Other aspects with regard to policy development, currently the Kenya government is working on an agriculture sector transformation and growth strategy.

We are also working with the national government and the county government on making this strategy complete and later on implementable. Other activities we have realized is there the rehabilitation of degraded land, more than maybe ten thousand hectares has been worked on. Among many other things we have done. For the youth which later on we shall be in this presentation, we have been able to support three agro-business associations from the three countries where we are working with and these three youth associations are currently being supported to improve their capacity to organize themselves better and also to address some of the technical challenges they are facing.

Thank you

National component coordinator Kenda Mwenja expands on Kenya’s demographic dividend — 8:08 mins
Kenda is with the bilateral project on Food Security Through Improved Agricultural Productivity in Western Kenya. He focuses on the strategic collaboration of different projects on cross-cutting issues such as rural youth employment.

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Shadrack Mutavi elaborates on the Kenyan agricultural policy landscape shift — 10:26 mins

The Senior Policy Advisor has a look at the a new focus on the youth in agribusiness and challenges for policy processes in a devolved governmental system.

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A question that we asked ourselves of course as GIZ project was last year: how can we support the validation of the national youth and agribusiness strategy in our partner region and partner counties of western Kenya and how can we ensure that rural youth are actually integrated into this process. Then, in the long run, how can we facilitate as GIZ that this well-written policy document is actually effectively put to the ground to the benefits after all youth in a coordinated model or way.

So what we did last year and this year is that we tried out and applied some participatory methods and formats to engage rural youth directly at an early stage. So we started off by conducting a scoping study together with youth leaders speaking on behalf of their youth groups where we jointly with them analyzed their situation of high youth unemployment or idleness in the rural areas of western Kenya. So we actually applied a mixed methods approach of focus group discussions, questionnaires and semi-structured interviews with youth leaders.

So we did not only actually only talk to the youth. We also talked to society gatekeepers, to county governments, to the private sector but for the sake of this presentation we’ll now narrow down on what the youth actually said. So jointly with them, we assess social and economic political factors for the high youth unemployment in the rural areas. We also identified youth relevant and youth-friendly value chains for them to engage in and explored job ideas outside of the box that are interesting to them and where we see their employment opportunities, the realistic potentials.

So I just want to briefly show this graphic that was one of the results where the key message that we didn’t see the employment opportunities only in the main sections, five six sections of the value chains but there’re numerous employment opportunities for them, especially if they distribute tasks and specialize on certain services that they can offer or in certain areas for example for fodder production, chick production, spray services or soy testing, construction of greenhouses and so on.

So business models that require some knowledge capacity building and some coordination. But these opportunities are also, of course, quite location-specific or even market-specific. A more general output of the study was also very open and frank criticism of the youth that we very much appreciated.

So they were actually commenting a lot about what donor and government projects are doing wrong in their eyes. And I want to pick up some of these points of criticism:

So one point was that they were saying that very few programs are actually tailored towards them. So the youth often appear as a quota of twenty or thirty percent but that prevents the programs from being directly targeted and tailored towards their specific needs. They were also saying that critical information often doesn’t reach them on the ground at the right time through the right channels or doesn’t even reach the right people at all.

So they used that phrase donors scatter seeds randomly and they were referring to the importance of the selection process of beneficiaries for youth programs. So for example in western Kenya, we learned that if we focus on these small youth groups then we always are often deal actually with social constructs that come together for social reasons or for the mere purpose of fundraising for governmental or donor funds.

So we realized that this might not be the right model for us to use. The youth also highlighted that they want long-term sustainable youth action plans
especially if projects come in for two or three years that the most important are almost as important as the implementation is that the programs
come up with a valid exit strategy.

So basically they just requested rightfully that they want to be integrated into the strategic planning. That is what we asked ourselves then after the study: how we can best achieve, that how can we make sure that communication actually reaches the right people or that donors and county governments can talk and reach the right target farmers for their initiatives? And that’s the typical workshop farmers. And how can we facilitate the youth to actually have a say and contribution in these programs and policies?

So our answer to that was that we were looking for an approach for a coordinated and structured entry point or a gateway so to say to reach the rural youth in our counties. Like one of them said the rural youth have the energy the number and the voice. The question is how to channel them. So we supported them in a longer process over some months to form and organize themselves in a format of legitimate representative County-based youth associations. So we are also aware that this is also of course only one part of the solution that has to come with several factors enhancing every agripreneurship. But we see this as a very important point and a standalone approach for GIZ at in western Kenya that we don’t only support individuals or these youth groups but that we find and facilitate a sustainable
coordination model, an entry point for donors, not just GIZ, governments and even the private sector when they want to talk to the rural youth that they talk with someone who is representing the rural youth and also that the rural youth when they have something to say and contribute that I’d do so within a legitimate way and that I get hurt by the county governments.

So what we did is that we involve them strongly in the preparations of one of our biggest activities last year which was the western region youth and agribusiness conference that was a collaboration of the green innovation centers and the bilateral project. So in the running-up of the conference, we approached these existing small youth groups and conducted a series of interactive workshops with them to sensitize them and talk to them about the importance of self-organization and rural settings as a vehicle for them to enhance the individual agribusinesses.

So around June, July the discussions proceeded and the youth understood that in order for them to be represented on county level they need to form these legitimate umbrella associations. Some of them were partly in place but we have to either form them or to revive them. In these associations with the representative
structures they then came up with their needs towards the county governments and they documented that in a form of a Western youth declaration.

So first they were working in County groups, then we merged the through three groups and also facilitated exchange with the county governments. In the end, this Western youth declaration was handed over during the conference. You can see our youth leader Hilary from Siaya county handing the declaration over to the executive of Siaya county.

But instead of presenting and talking about the youth conference we will share a brief video with you that nicely documents the process and the action on the ground.

Prisca Watko shares experiences with participatory project initiatives — 8:56 mins
The communications advisor based at GIZ Nairobi looks at outcomes of focus group discussions and interactive workshops for self-organisation.

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The youth in agribusiness Western Regional Conference was hosted by the Counties of Bungoma, Kakamega and Siaya and held at the Bukura Agricultural College.

– The event attracted more than 700 rural youths and other stakeholders in the agriculture business. We are with the German Development Cooperation.

We are working in the Western region, as our mandate region, on the main problems or the main challenges of this region, which are productivity, production, employment sustainable land management and the services and the policies of the framework conditions.

– We now have the ‘Big Four’ the manufacturing, affordable housing, universal health care and we have the 100 percent food and nutrition security which is the Ministry now, in agriculture. All the other pillars cannot work without the hundred percent food security, even in universal housing, even universal health care. 

– Some of the technologies that young people need to adopt in order to produce well in agribusiness is ICT. With ICT you can do a lot of marketing that you are able to reach. When you talk of marketing, you do not only look at the markets you are going to sell at. You’re going to sell your products. You look at the product itself.

You as the youth, you account for 35 % of the population and two-thirds of the total labor force. There are 1.3 million young people entering the labor market every year. About 70 % of the working population is engaged in agriculture contributing 26 % directly and 27 % indirectly to the GDP but it was mentioned the average farmer in Western Kenya is about sixty years old. I think it’s you the youth who will try out new innovations, who will take risks for even greater business growth and you can change the face of agriculture in Kenya.

– We encourage such forums because one it’s a good learning forum whereby as a youth we’re able to learn from other youths what they are doing elsewhere and we’re also able to showcase maybe, what has worked for us for the other youths to see and we’re able to link with the County government, the national government and to identify the opportunities for synergies. And three, we are also able to, I think, create that network within ourselves as the youth.

– Realisation, we bring transformation. To change this nation. We bring Agriculture. Is my culture. For better future. Yeah it is a thing we need to nurture. Whether we go through the heat and we sweat to defeat her. Vijana tuchanuke (Let’s be enlightened, youth), vijana tuinuke (Let’s wake up and thrive).  Agriculture is my culture, agriculture.

We are working with KALRO, being a research institution they give us the clean seeds. We’re working with the Ministry of Agriculture, which is under the County government for technical support we are working with our development partners like GIZ for supporting us in kind or helping us access some of this planting material from KALRO. The conference ended after all the discussions and deliberations and networking and seeing innovations, feeling them, it ended with the declaration of the youth that was handed over to the government and here in the case the Governor of Siaya with the aspirations and with the demands of the youth in developing agribusiness and agripreneurship in their Counties.

– This declaration is a joint statement by the three registered County youth agribusiness associations of Bungoma, Kakamega and Siaya Counties Bungoma, Kakagema and Siaya Counties shall consider full youth involvement and participation in the formulation and implementation of enacted policy documents. That the Counties of Bungoma, Kakamega, and Siaya shall cooperate in creating better likelihoods for youth through gainful employment opportunities in agribusiness and related support services.

That access to land and finances should be considered for youth agricultural development projects. That projects and funds targeting young agribusiness enterpreneurs should consider the entire value chain process for sustainability. Youth should be given priority in the implementation of environmental conservation and management initiative.

We commit to

One: participate willingly and cooperate with authorities towards developing policies and programs to enhance youth participation in sustainable agribusiness and environmental conservation initiatives.

Two: we also commit to develop interest and be motivated towards developing and implementing agribusiness and related projects.

– The Youth in Agribusiness Conference in the Western region was a big success and we got a lot of attention not just at local level but as well on national level. We see the youth conference not as isolated activity but for us it is a starting point to further develop the strategy to support young people in agribusiness and the Counties already sit together with the young people to develop a joint strategy.

– There is nothing that is impossible. We need to be patient, we need to be persistent in each and everything that we are doing and also it’s not a must you get trained in a specific area. For myself, I’m not trained in agriculture but I’m able to run a dairy farm. So let’s have that urge of being more of job creators and not job seekers.

Video compilation from the youth conference in 2018 — 6:10 mins
Voices from youths, politicians and GIZ advisors.

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Prior to the youth Conference on agribusiness last year in May June the FSP was approaching the existing youth groups here and the target counties of Bungoma, Siaya and Kakagema. And in a series of workshops, we briefed the youth on important youth-related issues. So after that these youth groups in the counties were busy forming umbrella organizations for all the groups in the counties where the groups and also individuals could join in.

Later just before the youth conference, the county organizations were working on county-based declarations who lead into joined Western youth declaration. Important issues, prominent issues in these declarations were sustainable agriculture, political representation and participation and also exit strategies for upcoming programs.

Oliver van der Valk’s quick kick-off into the subject — 1:26 mins
The Agriculture Advisor, based in Kisumu, says what the webinar is all about.

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Special guest from the Lake Victoria region — 3:02 mins
Successful dairy farmer Lydiah Wafula speaks from her point of view as an individual farmer, especially about the 
challenges she faced when starting her agribusiness in 2013. She is with the youth organisation KCYAA talking about their needs and demands. 

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My name is Gabriel Litunya Akali. I am a youth farmer and the chairperson of Kakamega youth agribusiness Association. The Youth Association is the umbrella organization for youth in Kakamega County. It covers 12 sub-counties of a Kakamega County. About the membership: we have 240 youth individual members. We have 10 group members and we have also corporate membership that is still in progress. We have a vision and the vision for the organization is to be a pioneer in youth empowerment and sustainable agribusiness activities in the county. We also have objectives and our objective mainly is to mobilize and promote youth involvement in agribusiness, network and link youth in agribusiness for social economic and technological benefits in order to promote partnership and mobilize resources for capacity development, advocacy and act as a voice for youth in agribusiness.

The reason for formation is in Kakamega County the youth saw the need to have the umbrella organization which is going to champion their issues in agribusiness because for a long time you would have not had a voice to air out their issues about agriculture and that has been one of the challenges that we have had in the past. So the pioneers of this association are the youth who are working closely with GIZ programs and they came together in 2018 and decided to form a Youth umbrella organization. So through that process we have been also assumed registration through the government for legal status. So the association is linking with other associations in the other counties like Bungoma and Siayia to form a larger Network. Now the activities of the Association include: we have taken part in in the youth conference that was held in Kakamega that accommodated over 800 youth from the three counties Kakamega, Siaya and Bungoma.

We are mobilizing youth in the western region and through that we have been able to come up with a joint declaration as the three county governments and in that we have engaged the county government and national government and we have been able to sign that declaration. In the joint declaration the youth have been able to identify nine thematic areas to enhance agribusiness and this includes their expectations from both levels of government, their future engagements and their commitment also to the declarations. We are currently doing a mobilization and identifying star youth farmers from the county and Lydiah is just one of the youth farmers that we have mobilized. We have many others that are undergoing training so that we can be able to network them with youth for the purposes of learning and mentorship.

Now about the opportunities that we have. Largely we have a large population of illiterate youth. We also have the world government system which is really helping us because most of the agricultural activities have been devolved. So this is a big opportunity for you to utilize. We have wide access to technology. Kenya most of the youth are able to access technology through various platforms. This is able to connect them to social media, Facebook and other social networks which they
share agribusiness information. Also we have improved the business environment in that we have so many organizations that are working with in the rural areas and they’re able to network with us. We link them to the youth. About the challenges that we have: we have organizational challenges as we have mentioned before the Association has wider coverage in all the county and we are mobilizing resources to be able to manage all those youth within the twelve sub-counties.

Another challenge that we have is weak and informal networks. Weakened and informal networks in the in, for example, the marketing networks they are not very strong, they are still weak. We also have lengthy registration interact with bureaucratic procedures because we have been applying for the registration and it has taken some time. Also the opinion of youth about agriculture, the perceptions, the mindset. It is something that we are dealing with it’s a challenge. We need to impress Agriculture’s youth but it’s a challenge because there are other competition from other sectors, technical causes, like planting.

So we need to really work hard to ensure that youth receive agriculture as a big opportunity for them for investment. Otherwise, thank you so much for listening.

Thank you.

Special guest from the Lake Victoria region —  6:29 mins
Young agripreneur Gabriel Akali shares his perspective as representatives of the Kakamega County Youth Association in Agribusiness. The horticulturalist is also the chairperson of the youth organisation KCYAA. He explains the process of forming and registering the association and the vision he has for it in future as a legitimate entry point to government and other stakeholders as well as for it being a platform for effective peer-to-peer learning.

What had been the aim?

Based on the support to the National Youth in Agribusiness Strategy the team wanted to draw a detailed picture of the processes and entailed challenges of validating a national agribusiness strategy in dialogue with regional and intergovernmental policy bodies and the rural youth themselves. The colleagues in Kenya were to share their approach of designing a structured gateway to the rural youth. Most importantly, participants were to be provided with an opportunity to directly discuss principles of self-organization and representation as pre-requisites for efficiently enhancing agripreneurship and to interact with the rural youth leaders Gabriel and Lydiah.

The organisers provided the opportunity to submit questions prior to the webinar, which were addressed during the Q&A part of the session!

About the organisers

The webinar was jointly organised by:

  • SNRD Africa and the Sector Project Rural Development With a Focus on Youth
  • The bilateral project Food Security Through Improved Agricultural Productivity in Western Kenya on behalf of GIZ Agriculture and Rural Development in Kenya

We are very much looking forward to receiving feedback on the webinar, both in terms of content as well as to the new format that we’ve chosen.

Presentation slides all in one