President Uhuru Kenyatta on Thursday encouraged African youth to take up agriculture saying, the sector holds enormous potential to create jobs and spur the continent’s economic transformation.
The President advised the youth to explore opportunities in areas such as agricultural technologies, on and off farm ventures, aggregation, transportation of produce and value addition among others.
“Agriculture in Africa needs these young people, and the young people should begin to see immense opportunities and benefits available in agriculture,” said the President.
The Head of State made the appeal during a virtual youth town hall meeting on the sidelines of this year’s Africa Green Revolution Forum Summit (AGRF) attended by young people from across the continent.
He encouraged players in Africa’s agricultural sector to support the youth by creating an enabling environment for them to innovate solutions for identified sectoral challenges without imposing their preferences.
“We are here to listen to you and your ideas, to learn, to engage, and to receive the ideas that will guide the development of policies, programmes, and projects that better suit the aspirations of the sons and daughters of Africa,” the President said.
President Kenyatta encouraged African Governments to listen more to the youth so as to be able to create an enabling environment for young people to enter and thrive in the agricultural sector.
Through the 2018 to 2022 Kenya Youth Agri-business Strategy, the President said the Kenyan Government was progressively addressing the challenges and barriers that prevent the youth from fully participating in the country’s agricultural sector.
“Some of these include: negative perception and attitude to agribusiness, limited access to financial services; inadequate skills, knowledge and information; limited access to land for agribusiness; limited access to markets; limited value addition; inadequate policies to support youth in agri-preneurship; climate change and environmental management, and other cross-cutting issues,” the President outlined.
He said his administration was keen on reversing the negative perception held by the country’s youth towards agriculture through the revival of the 4-K-Clubs in all primary schools as well as the Young Farmers’ Clubs in secondary schools and tertiary institutions.
“The enthusiasm created by these clubs is encouraging young people to take advantage of agricultural opportunities, allowing them to become agribusiness owners, professionals, trainers, and mentors, along the value chains,” the President said.
The Head of State fielded questions from the youthful participants where he outlined the various initiatives implemented by the Kenyan government in support of youth participation in agriculture such as enhancing ICT connectivity, installation of cold storage and processing facilities as well as the expansion of the National electricity grid and supply of water among other interventions.
Former Ethiopian Prime Minister and current Chairman of AGRF Hailemariam Desalegn and several senior Kenyan Government officials attended the town hall meeting.