President Uhuru Kenyatta on Friday launched a Sh2.2 billion Empowering Novel Agribusiness-led Employment (ENABLE Kenya) programme.
The programme is a youth capacity-building initiative aimed at creating employment, generating income, and bridging the succession gap in agribusiness.
The president launched the programme at Jamhuri Park in Nairobi, saying that 520 youth to be trained this month will each receive financing of between Sh500,000 and 1.5 million as start-up capital.
He noted with appreciation the prioritisation of initiatives to build capacity in modern agribusiness technologies and to provide access to affordable and high-quality inputs.
“I note also that numerous on-going agricultural projects have integrated components for the youth, and a number of them have been designed and specifically tailor-made for the youth,” Uhuru said.
ENABLE Kenya is funded by both the government of Kenya and the African Development Bank (AfDB).
The programme seeks to build the capacity of 10,000 Kenyan young people involved in agribusiness to enable them to create employment opportunities for 50,000 others.
Apart from training and capacity building, a large proportion of the Sh2.2 billion ENABLE Kenya kitty will be disbursed to beneficiaries as interest-free loans amounting to Sh500 million to finance start-ups and Sh900 million in low-interest credit for existing youth enterprises.
Also included in the kitty is the Sh800 million risk guarantee provision to buffer financial institutions that provide commercial loans to entrepreneurs in the agricultural sector.
In the same event, the president unveiled the rebranded 4-K Clubs with a call to the County Governments and stakeholders in the agriculture value chain to increase their support for efforts to empower the youth in agribusiness.
He said ENABLE Kenya and 4-K Clubs fit into the various farmer empowerment initiatives being implemented by the government among them the Aquaculture Business Development Programme that is being rolled out in 15 counties.
“To complement this pilot project, parallel efforts are in place to transfer aquaculture technology and build the capacity of the youth in schools by establishing aquaponics in learning institutions. Already, 40 schools spread out across the country have benefited from this initiative.”
The president cited the revival of Liwatoni Fishing Port in Mombasa County and the Shs 43 billion affirmative action programs for women and youth that have so far benefitted over 4.7 million SME’s engaged in agribusiness as some of the measures the Government is taking in order to uplift young people.
“Ultimately, these efforts will go a long way to transform negative perceptions on agribusiness and make it more attractive to young people.”