The ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries & Co-operatives has set aside more than Kshs 2.2 Billion for the involvement of youth in agriculture.
The funds are being implemented under the Empowering Novel Agribusiness-Led Employment (ENABLE) Program and co-funded by the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the National Government.
According to the CAS Agriculture Ms Anne Nyaga,the program seeks to create gainful employment, generate income for the youth and bridge succession gap in agribusiness and related value chains.
“It involves training, nurturing, mentoring, coaching and financing of incubates and targets to train and empower 10,000 agricultural entrepreneurs (agripreneurs) directly and create employment opportunities to another 50,000 youth along the value chains”.
As such, the program will provide KShs. 2.2 billion to finance youths agri-preneurs through three financing mechanisms namely;
(i) Interest-free Loan to finance up to KShs. 500 million to youth for start-ups
(ii) Soft Loan where KShs. 900 million will be committed in the form of low interest credit to the incubation graduates at an interest rate of 5%
(iii) A Risk Guarantee Fund where KShs. 800 million will be for a Risk Sharing Fund which will provide back-stopping support to financial institutions to make available up to KShs. 5 billion as commercial loans to agri-preneurs.
“The engagement of the youth in agribusiness presents the country with a unique opportunity for faster economic growth considering that 17.8 million (35%) of the total population are youth” Anne added.
The youth have, therefore space to play in the Big Four and the Kenya Vision 2030
Provision of both skilled and unskilled labour – leveraging on their numbers.
• Coming up with innovations and technologies to offer solutions to the flagship areas in the documents.
• Provision of market opportunities for the products and services that the policy documents envisage.
• Provision of checks and balances through organized advocacy channels on the fulfilment of the stipulated interventions.
The Cycle had 2080 applicants,amongst which 764 were shortlisted having met the program requirements.
The shortlisted youth are undergoing the interviews and will begin incubation from March,across the country.
Once incubation begins they will be in the centers for 3-6months.
While here they will be undergoing incubation,development of business plans in the preferred agricultural value chains,as they conclude the incubation cycle ,they will receive financing of between 500-1.5M depending on their proposals.
The Government will give the youth a stipend of 10,000/= per month to pay for their meals and other needs while in for incubation.
This will enable them to set up sustainable Agricultural enterprises along the agricultural value chains .
Interviews for the youth commenced yesterday,in Nyeri county and will be taking place across the country in the other incubation Centres,the CAS,notified the teams while monitoring the commencement of the interviews and while encouraging the youth during the interview sessions.
Youth are encouraged to be on the look out for cycle 2
Which the CAS indicates will be starting from March,2021 to admit another lot of 520 youth.