NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 1 – The KCB Foundation through its flagship program 2jiajiri Tuesday graduated a total of 367 beneficiaries at the Miramar International College (MIC).
The students who have been undergoing training in hydroponic techniques of producing vegetables, tomatoes, strawberries and livestock fodder included 63 special young men and women who were under 18 years old, some of whom undergoing juvenile rehabilitation.
The Government of Kenya recognized the vulnerability of these young people and admitted them to receive support under the ‘Inua Jamii’ programme.
The KCB Foundation complemented the efforts of government to transform their fortunes and enrolled them for technical, vocational and life-skills training under the 2jiajiri program.
Also graduating at this ceremony were another 146 youth who hail from needy families. There was a complement of 158 youth who has successfully applied to the KCB Foundation to join the mainstream 2jiairi program.
Presiding over the graduation were representatives from the Ministry of Labour who on behalf of Principal Secretary Susan Mochache, said that the KCB Foundation was a “This program is a shining example to the private sector of the significant role it has to play in building the resilience of vulnerable groups especially through support for the entrepreneurial acumen of Kenya’s youth,” said Ministry of Labour Principal Secretary Susan Mochache in a speech read on her behalf by Justus Muthoka, the senior assistant director at the Ministry.
“The partnership between government and the KCB Foundation has transformed them into some of the finest agribusiness entrepreneurs our country is likely to see”.
Inua Jamii has so far benefited over 600,000 Kenyans. KCB has been instrumental in facilitating the government to disburse over Sh32 billion to poor and vulnerable households under this programme.
“The beneficiaries were now part of an elite group of pioneers that would popularize hydroponic crop and fodder production within communities and improve social welfare through improved food security,” said KCB Director Corporate Banking Moezz Mir.
“2jiajiri program placed them in a position of significant advantage; they were on the cutting edge of an innovative mode of agricultural production that is increasingly gaining currency not only in Kenya but also the region,” he added.
Jane Mwangi, the Executive Director of the KCB Foundation said the 367 young entrepreneurs in2jiajiri were poised to earn a collective monthly income of Sh6.8 Million if they plant leafy vegetables exclusively and Sh12.5 million if they were to concentrate on Tomato production. Such is the power of hydroponic production that each of the beneficiaries would potentially earn between 18 and 34 thousand shillings every month.
Hydroponic farming is a soil-less method of farming and a subset of hydroculture, where plants are grown using only a mineral nutrient solution in a water solvent. Hydroponic production is also not land intensive.
Prof. Dominic Mwenja, the Principal of Miramar International College demonstrated that the crop yields associated with the earnings that the project beneficiaries are poised to gain is done in sheds measuring 12 Metres by 20 Metres or one-twentieth of an acre. Students stacked production trays to maximize on space meaning a typical production shed yielded 3,440 batches of leafy vegetables or 4,080 Kg of Tomatoes in any given harvest cycle.
KCB Foundation has championed the production of livestock fodder through hydroponics with the aim of providing sustainable solution to scarcity of pasture occasioned by increasingly frequent drought in the region.
The KCB Foundation is has taken the final step of linking the young farmers with large scale off-takers for their produce such as Tusky’s Supermarkets in order to guarantee the sustainability of their enterprises.