Kenya’s Ministry of Agriculture has partnered with the African Development Bank (AfDB) to commit US $18m to solve the issue of youth unemployment by engaging them in agribusiness.
This will be implemented through the Empowering Novel Agribusiness-Led Employment (ENABLE) Programme that is co-funded by the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the government, whose main objective is to create gainful employment, generate income for the youth and bridge succession gap in agribusiness and related value chains.
According to the Chief Administrative secretary from the Ministry Anne Nyaga, a number of challenges that hinder youth engagement in the sector have been identified and include negative perception and attitude to agribusiness and limited access to financial services.
The implementation of the ENABLE Youth Kenya Programme is taking place in Youth Agri-Business Incubation Centres (YABICs) at identified government centres and also in partnership with the private sector across the country.
The YABICs operate using an incubation model for agripreneurship. The model involves training, nurturing, mentoring, coaching and financing of incubatees. The incubation process follows three key phases- pre-incubation, incubation and post-incubation for a period of between three to 12 months.
ENABLE Youth Kenya Programme has a financing component that seeks to support youth-owned agribusinesses by facilitating access to capital through financing and risk-sharing mechanisms. The programme will finance youth agripreneurs through three financing mechanisms.
The mechanisms include interest-free loan to finance up to US $4.5m to youth for start-ups, soft loan where US $8m will be committed in the form of low-interest credit to the incubation graduates at an interest rate of five percent and the Risk Guarantee Fund where Sh800 million will be for a risk sharing fund, which will provide back-stopping support to financial institutions to make available up to Sh5 billion as commercial loans to agripreneurs.
Ms Nyaga said that despite the aspirations and efforts both by the government and the private sector to involve the youth in the agriculture sector, there is still low youth participation in various value chains in the sector.
The Kenya Youth Agribusiness Strategy was developed by the Ministry and it aims at enhancing coordination, promoting innovativeness and sustainable employment for the youth through agribusiness.