The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) confirms closure by end of 2020.

Pathways to Rural Youth Agribusiness Success: Stories from the Vijabiz project

The different cases or stories presented in this booklet are the results from the experience capitalization exercise and give insights into the specific lessons learnt by the workshop participants, through analysis of their involvement in diverse activities of the Vijabiz project and the influence on their businesses.

This booklet is produced by the Youth Economic Empowerment through Agribusiness in Kenya (Vijabiz) project, implemented by CTA and USTADI Foundation from Kenya and supported by IFAD.

Capitalising the mid-term experience of Vijabiz project

Youth constitutes about 30% of the Kenyan population and 60% of the total labour force, with one million youth entering the labour market annually (Kenya Country Report on Youth Employment, 2014). The 2013 UNDP Kenya’s Youth Employment Challenge1 report revealed 64% of the unemployed Kenyans as youth, which is a critical concern for the country.

Agriculture, accounting for 65% of Kenya’s annual exports and contributing 24% to the gross domestic product (GDP) represents a key sector for job creation for rural youth in Kenya. It is thus targeted as one of the key sectors by the Vision 2030 agenda of the Kenyan Government to deliver a 10% annual economic growth rate. The cereal, dairy and fisheries value chains are important in creating economic opportunities for the rural youth in Kenya and contributing to the anticipated economic growth. The dairy sub-sector for instance accounts for 14% of the agricultural GDP and up to 8% of the national GDP. However, the negative mindset of the youth regarding agriculture, the lack of access to finance, the lack of entrepreneurship capacity and weak value addition activities limit the potential of job creation through thriving youth agribusinesses.

In view of the above, the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) and USTADI Foundation launched the Youth Economic Empowerment through Agribusiness in Kenya

(Vijabiz) project in May 2018. The project which is mainly funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) with co-funding by CTA and USTADI is aimed at creating sustainable employment for the rural youth in Kenya through active engagement in agribusiness for wealth creation and poverty reduction.

Specifically, the project is focussed on building entrepreneurship and ICT capacity, creating market linkages, facilitating value addition and innovative access to finance for at least 160 youth agribusiness groups and at least 2250 individual youths (with 53% being females) in the cereal, dairy and fishery value chains in Kilifi and Nakuru counties in Kenya.

The Vijabiz project employs a variety of strategies to achieve the targeted outcomes, among which include training in entrepreneurship and ICT for agribusiness, incubation and mentorship and competitive grant schemes for youth agribusiness groups. One key strategy of the project is capitalization of experiences and the subsequent documentation and publication of lessons learnt by youth beneficiaries of the project as a way of inspiring other youths within and outside of Kenya. To this effect, a workshop on experience capitalization was organised by the Vijabiz project in Nairobi, Kenya from 13th to 16th of August 2019, attended by selected beneficiary youth groups, mentors and consultants working with the project. Training on experience capitalization was led by Jorge Chavez-Tafur, Project Coordinator at the Learning, Monitoring and Evaluation unit of CTA. It was aimed at:

  • Presenting the experience capitalization methodology (developed within the framework of another IFAD-funded project implemented by CTA/IFAD/FAO) and training youth and partner organisations attending the event on how it can be applied to the Vijabiz project
  • Applying the methodology to capture some of the project’s mid-term results from the point of view of youth groups and partners
  • Facilitating the drafting of stories by participants on their experiences and lessons learnt
  • Facilitating the preparation, at the end of the project, of its final results and the sharing of lessons learnt and innovations.

The different cases or stories presented in this booklet are the results from the experience capitalization exercise and give insights into the specific lessons learnt by the workshop participants, through analysis of their involvement in diverse activities of the Vijabiz project and the influence on their businesses. Each case authored by an individual or group of individual representatives of youth groups or partner involved highlights the peculiar challenges the youth faced, the hope offered by the Vijabiz project and the corresponding outcomes. These are organised into four sections: women empowerment, ICT and mentorship; and specific cases in the dairy, cereals and fisheries value chains.

We hope that this initiative could provide an inspirational reading for youth agribusinesses and institutions involved in youth agribusiness programming.