By Zipporah Umile
Youth in Kenya have been urged to explore income opportunities in Agriculture as a means to bridge the unemployment gap and secure food in the country.
At a press conference bringing together both public and private sector in the Agricultural economy in preparation for the 6th Africa Agri Expo, youth were urged to take advantage of opportunities in the food chain such as in value addition and market of produce.
Speaking during the meeting, Josphat Gathiru, Agriculture Secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture encouraged the stakeholders that they take youth as an investment in promoting modern and sustainable agriculture.
“The average kenyan farmer is about 65 years old. You see that farmer is already old. They are not able to adopt new smart techonologies and that’s where the youth come in.” Secretary Gathiru said
“The young people can adopt modern technological farming such as what we have as green house farming and be ahead.” stated Gathiru.
General Manager, Agriculture Sector Network. Agatha Thuo reitareted the opportunities for young people in modern farming.
“There are specific nodes in the food value chain which the youth can take advantage of. For instance in potato farming, the youth can participate in land preparation, spray service provision, value addition and digitized system.” Thuo commented
The 6th Africa Agri Expo scheduled to take place on the 8th and 9th February at K.I.C.C is expected to bring over 100 exhibitors and investors from 35 countries. Kenya expects to gain over Ksh.25Million worth of business to be invested in the country.
Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, TAB group Tahir A. Bari who is also the organizer of the AAE 2023 said that the expo will help in mobilizing investments in the agriculture sector. The expo is also set to enhance Public-Private Partnerships for sustainable productivity and strengthening trade relations between countries.
Planned talks at the upcoming expo will include scaling up Agrochemicals and Irrigation industry, developing Agri Food Value Chains using technologies and innovations, and deliberating on addressing the challenges for SME’s and farmers impacted by Covid, Conflict and Climate Change.
The Africa Agri Expo is a platform to promote the opportunities in the agriculture sector in Kenya to the local and international companies.
Currently, an estimated one million kenyan youth join the job market annually but with limited white collar jobs. Modern griculture has been identified as the solution to youth unemployment.
The current government has invested in financial access for youth through microfinance as an incentive to pursue agriculture.