Youth in Oloitokitok, Kajiado county have benefitted from a Ksh. 32 million funded Youth in Agribusiness program by the Safaricom Foundation. Another 50 young women in Bungoma are being supported in poultry farming by the program.

In Kajiado youth have been supported to grow rainfed and high value crops such as sunflower, onions and tomatoes. The program has also been tailormade to empower the youth by giving them access to land, inputs, learning content and infrastructure.

“There is an opportunity for us to create employment for youth and increase their productivity in the agricultural sector. Through this program, we are reinforcing that farming is a viable and dignified source of livelihood, not a retirement option,” said Frankline Okata, Trustee, Safaricom Foundation.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture’s Sector for Transformation and Growth Strategy, agriculture contributes to 33% of total GDP, 60% of informal employment and 60% of exports. The latest census data shows that 39% of youth eligible for hire are unemployed.

“This program is part of our economic empowerment pillar where we seek to provide opportunities for youth to become productive self-reliant citizens,” Okata added.

The youth in both counties also have access to input loans of between Ksh. 5,000 to Ksh. 20,000, depending on the value chain. Those producing high value crops are receiving financial support to increase access to water and improve irrigation systems.

Additionally, the program provides the young farmers access to a guaranteed market for their produce at favourable rates. The program has been running for 5 months, with a view of scaling it up to other parts of the country thereafter.