This study is produced in the framework of activities of the Vijabiz project implemented by CTA and Ustadi Foundation in Kenya. It aimed at establishing rural youth groups’ access and use of different ICT and social media in their agribusiness activities. The study also sought to assess the gaps and barriers affecting the use of ICTs by rural youth in Kenya and provide recommendations.
ICTs are considered in this study as any digital technology that facilitates access to, processing and dissemination of information. This includes the mobile phone, the computer, software including basic editing tools, the internet, satellites, digital radio, digital video, social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, etc. Qualitative and quantitative methods were used, leveraging on desk research, interviews and a survey.
The report starts by analysing the landscape of ICT use in Kenya, in the agricultural sector, and by youth and SMEs. From the results of this survey all the survey participants considered access to ICT as either indispensable or useful for their advancement in the agribusiness activities. The proportion of youth enterprises using social media and ICT in general has gone up from 25% at the baseline stage (during recruitment and entry into the Vijabiz project) to 91% after exposure to the ICT training and supported agribusiness activities. Further, the supported youth agribusinesses are using ICT to conduct digital marketing, receive information and advisory services, send, and receive money, buy, and sell products.
However, there is limited use of farm management applications and other ICT-based that may promote production, marketing, and business management. Access to internet by the youth agribusinesses is largely through a smartphone. On access of internet for agribusiness purposes, 99% of youth groups (that responded to that question) indicated they used mobile phones while 29% used computers. Cost of ICT devices (63%), high cost of internet subscription (60%), poor and unreliable connectivity (58%) especially in rural areas where the Vijabiz project was implemented are the main hindrances for adoption of digitalisation according to youth. Lack of skills on how to use the internet and social media for agribusiness affects the use of ICT by the youth in agribusiness. The businesses that are mainly constituted of youth members from low income background and low level of formal education showed low levels of technology adoption.
Examples of actual use of digital technologies, impacts on businesses, testimonies, challenges faced are provided in the report. It also includes recommendations to various stakeholders. Vijabiz supported 160 rural youth businesses in Kenya, involved in dairy, fisheries and livestock value chains. The project was cofounded and co-implemented by CTA and USTADI Foundation (Kenya).