Vijabiz – the Youth Economic Empowerment through Agribusiness project – has been implemented by the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) and USTADI, with main funding provided by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). This publication has been produced to promote the rural youth businesses involved, illustrate their experiences and discuss results, as well as to share knowledge acquired on rural youth project implementation.
Youth constitute about 30% of the Kenyan population and 60% of the total labour force, with 1 million youth entering the labour market each year. The 2013 UNDP Kenya’s Youth Employment Challenge report revealed that 64% of unemployed Kenyans were youth, which is a critical concern for the country.
As the backbone of Kenya’s economy, agriculture accounts for 65% of the nation’s annual exports and contributes 24% to gross domestic product. Youth agribusinesses are facing many challenges to grow; an issue the Vijabiz project set out to address.
Vijabiz – the Youth Economic Empowerment through Agribusiness project – has been implemented by the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) and USTADI, with main funding provided by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
Specifically, the project has focused on building entrepreneurship and ICT capacity, creating market linkages, facilitating value addition and innovative access to finance. The initiative has worked with 160 youth agribusiness groups and around 2,300 individual youths (with 53% being women) in the cereal, dairy and fishery value chains in Kilifi and Nakuru counties in Kenya. More than 70 youth groups received grants from the project (in the form of equipment and/or cash); the value of this support ranges from US$1,000 to US$20,000.
The 2-year project (2018-2020) focused on innovative, rural youth ‘agripreneurship’ as a way to make agriculture more interesting for youth by creating sustainable rural employment and wealth. It is aligned to the government’s Kenya Youth Agribusiness Strategy 2017-2021, which aims to provide new opportunities and address challenges for youth in agriculture value chains.
Part 1 of this publication is dedicated to showcasing the success of selected youth groups across the cereal, dairy and fishery value chains, including all-women’s groups, and highlighting particular groups’ efforts to build resilience into their businesses to cope with climatic challenges, as well as deal with the changing circumstances for youth agribusinesses as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The stories in each chapter highlight the activities of the youth groups, some of the challenges faced, and their plans for the future in implementing the skills they have gained and using any grants or equipment provided by Vijabiz. Each chapter in Part 1 contains a thematic story (including several groups) and individual group stories illustrating the chapter theme.
Part 2 of the publication focuses on the approaches taken by the Vijabiz project to support groups through mentorship, ICT use, value addition, as well as working in tandem with county government officials. These chapters also demonstrate how the project has strived to enhance rural young women’s opportunities and success in agribusiness and promoted innovations. Lessons learned throughout this project and recommendations for the future are also included.
This publication has been produced to promote the rural youth businesses involved, illustrate their experiences and discuss results, as well as to share knowledge acquired on rural youth project implementation.
The youth groups mentioned in this report have been selected to highlight various features of Vijabiz, and the specific objectives of this publication. Other groups involved in the project were profiled in the document Pathways to Rural Youth Agribusiness Success: Stories from the Vijabiz project, published earlier in 2020: https://bit.ly/2ZOoXEx.