NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 15 – Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Willy Bett on Monday said his Ministry was working, together with the Ministry of Education, “on the possibility,” of making Agriculture a compulsory subject at the primary and secondary school level.
This in an effort to make agribusiness more appealing to the youth given the average age of the Kenyan farmer is 63.
“We have a whole concept where we want to interest young people to come into agriculture. We will be doing a big announcement… We want to do attitude change; we want to link young people to finance. We want models which do not require young people to produce securities; so long as the business plan is making sense, they should access credit,” he said of the big picture.
The aim, Bett said, is to make farming, “cool,” and safeguard Kenya’s food security into the next generation. “We want them to look beyond farming for consumption’s sake. You can make good money,” he said.
If successful, such a campaign would not only put Kenya on its way to food sufficiency, but go a long way in solving youth unemployment.
“Kenya is reasonably food secure because even if we don’t have all the foods we require we have the capacity to buy it and avail it to our people but food self-sufficiency is a different story. Look at rice, we have enough rice in the country but we don’t produce enough of it here. We have wheat but we don’t produce enough of it in the country forcing us to import Pakistani rice and the like,” he said a State House Summit on Agriculture on Monday.
Schools, he said, also provides a platform to launch into greater mechanised agriculture.
And while Youth Enterprise Development Fund Chairman Ronald Osumba said there is definitely evidence of youth interest in agribusiness, he cautioned that unless they are provided market access, the odds are not in their favour.
“I want to agree with the CS that farming is cool because 25 per cent of all the monies the youth fund is lending out today is to young farmers. A lot of the innovation proposals we are receiving, maybe 20 to 30 per cent are around farming innovations such as mobile apps so I think more and more young people are getting into this particular space.