Posted: July 18, 2022
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THE County government of Siaya has launched a Sh 4.2 billion youths agri-business strategy that aims at engaging youth in agricultural value chains.

The strategy will also allow youths engage on   production, agro-processing, marketing of agricultural inputs and products.

In particular the 5-year Strategy aims at strengthening the legal and institutional framework for youth employment in agriculture, ensuring provision of youth-sensitive agricultural extension services and creating national information centers that will serve as innovation hubs.

The strategy seeks to remedy challenges young women and men encounter in agriculture sector, including inability to own or access land, lack of affordable financing for agribusiness start-ups, as well as lack of technical know-how.

To support youth agro-entrepreneurship, the strategy also emphasizes the need to to set up a Youth-in-agriculture fund to enable rural youth to access affordable financing, trainings, land and equipment required for start-ups

The Strategy that will be funded by government and private institutions dealing with agricultural production in the County was developed by the Agriculture Department with the support of FAO and a multistakeholder technical working group,

According to Siaya Agriculture Executive Elizabeth Odhiambo and CEO for Micro-Enterprises Support Programe Trust Ms Rebecca Amukhoye, Key agricultural stakeholders would work closely with County government of Siaya to implement the strategy.

Odhiambo said  that  the strategy targets youths between 15 and 17 years of age who, due to regulative limitations, have been precluded in most programs in agricultural sector development.

Speaking during the strategy launch at Siaya Institute of technology Odhiambo said  the document provides a framework upon which all the development partners will be able to engage with County government in the provision of resources that would drive the strategy of agri-business targeting our young people.

“Am hopeful that through the emerging opportunities in agribusiness and the work that various stakeholders are doing in Siaya will go a long way in building and strengthening capacities of SME’s to grow to scale and create the much needed job opportunities for young people,” said  Amukhoye

Amukhoye  added that “it(strategy) seeks to  provide the skills that these young people need in order to create meaningful enterprises in agri-business.

The Food Agriculture Organization representative Tito Arunga   said the idea to launch the strategy its timely for it provides a perfect frame work that would help in the full coordination of getting youths in Agriculture that thrives in Siaya

“It has been so impressive to see some of the things done by youths in agricultural sectors including aquaculture, fruits. We can even see that Siaya has embraced the value addition processes and we hope that the strategy would help create many entrepreneurs that would absorb number of unemployed youths,” said Arunga.

Tito  added that adoption and implementation of the strategy will  make agriculture to move towards vision  2030 ambitions of  ensuring the Country have food and nutrition security.

The event was also attended by Siaya County Secretary Joseph Ogutu and Agriculture Chief Officer Charles Siso who welcomed the strategy launch saying it will attract more youths to join agriculture.

Ogutu said that a time has come for youths to embrace agriculture to sustain their livelyhoods.

“its time for youths to forget their quality Curriculum Vitae and dreams of white collar jobs and venture into agriculture whose production is promising,” said Ogutu.

Siso said aquaculture its one of the demanding venture in Siaya that would see youths pocket millions every year.