Agribusiness can provide jobs for young people and help Kenya achieve development goals. Progress in this arena, however, remains limited.
This future can be realized through making agriculture both profitable and “cool” for young people. If you are a young man living in rural areas you must have experienced several barriers, one of which is lack of information on current agricultural technologies and agri-business. To overcome this barrier, attend training programs that link you to climate-smart agricultural practices and profitable new agribusinesses.
Youth can be involved in a number of agricultural activities, including production, post-harvest handling, distribution and marketing of agricultural products. Removing barriers to start-up capital will allow young people to innovate and expand current agri-businesses. By so doing Kenya an the world in general can solve the issues of poverty and hunger.
The majority of Kenya’s smallholder farmers rely on traditional weather knowledge for agricultural activities. This knowledge, however, cannot keep pace with rapid weather changes affecting precipitation patterns and temperatures. Without access to accurate and accessible weather information, farmers, especially the youth, face declining agricultural productivity and increased hunger. As a smart agribusiness investor, start by accessing modern weather and climate data. Profitable agri-businesses under a changing climate can create decent and competitive employment opportunities for the youth.
Technology and the internet are probably the first things that come to mind when you think about the future of work for young people; not agriculture or farming. This makes historic sense, as agriculture sheds labor when countries develop. And the traditional ways of producing food do not look particularly cool. Yet, technology and the internet are also opening up opportunities for agriculture, and urbanization and changing diets are calling for new ways to process, market and consume our foods.
The future of jobs in agriculture
While the majority of youth expresses to see its future outside agriculture, many good job opportunities on and off the farm remain in agriculture. The challenge is to make the agricultural sector and its up and downstream activities competitive through innovation, public investment in supportive rural public goods and services, and secondary town development to make them sufficiently attractive to young and older farmers alike. This remains a largely unfinished agenda, one which is equally important to reach the twin goals of eradicating extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity.
Kenya’s youth need new climate-smart agricultural technologies (high yielding and more resilient food crops, irrigation and machinery). The youth also need energy, communication and transport infrastructure that links them to lucrative regional and global food markets. Finally, the youth need gender responsive policies that will enable women and girls to access climate services, credit, agricultural inputs and equipment and insurance.