“The next young billionaires will come from agriculture in the coming years.” This was the remarkable statement by the Kenya Climate Innovation Center Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Joseph Murabula, during the Vijana na AgriBiz Finals. He reiterated the need to support young people with great ideas to change the world. He believes that empowering young people is empowering society.
The Vijana na AgriBiz Competition’s successful applicants have proven that the agricultural sector can be revived through the integration of technology and collaboration with other sectors. Each innovation showcased had a promise of the future. A future where Kenyans do not die from hunger. A future where drought and famine are a story told to future generations that once there were but are not anymore. A future where youth do not suffer from unemployment but create job opportunities for others.
Youth are increasingly showing interest in agriculture now more than ever. Empowering them to lead viable, prosperous, and sustainable businesses should not be tasked with a few individuals. It should be collaborative by both the private sector and the government. Investing in young people living in Arid and semi-arid areas and from marginalized communities is vital in enhancing agricultural innovations and productivity. It is also a means of ridding poverty by boosting rural and marginalized economies and ensuring food security.
The agricultural sector in Kenya has so many untapped opportunities. This sector has the potential to employ millions of Kenyans. However, young people need to be made aware of these opportunities. They view agriculture as a sector for the elderly in society. Some even perceive that securing a job on the farm means they are poor and have no future. So many young people opt for white-collar jobs, forgetting that the market is already saturated.
Mr. Joseph Murabula advised the finalists to create a promising future for themselves, they must be willing and committed to journey on the road traveled by less. “Scout and do your research well. Identify a problem in your community that you know how can be solved. Do your market research and be ready once we have opportunities such as the Vijana na AgriBiz Competitions or any other that will support you.”
The Kenya Youth Agribusiness Strategy (2018-2022) projects that the country’s economic growth can be realized through the agricultural transformation from subsistence to commercially-oriented and modern agriculture – with youth as essential drivers. Every youth should take advantage of opportunities such as the AgriBiz and GreenBiz programs to receive the required technical and financial support to lead successful agribusinesses.