Gachagua Urges Kenyan Youth to Explore Agricultural Job Opportunities

Reports that many farmers in the country are elderly are not just a stereotype; it’s a fact. Young people are being encouraged to engage in agribusiness rather than complain about unemployment.

While existing research data may conflict, they all indicate that young people are distanced from agricultural activities that contribute to at least 20% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) data from 2017 recorded the average age of a Kenyan farmer as 55, whereas the 2009 census showed the age to be 60.

Kenya is a youthful nation. This was confirmed by the 2019 census, which recorded that 75% of Kenyans are under the age of 35.

As Kenya approached the 2022 general election, addressing the issue of unemployment was used as a campaign strategy because it was a major concern for the citizens.

In light of this challenge, Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua has urged young people to embrace agricultural-related jobs, stating that these are the opportunities available in the market.

Mr. Gachagua mentioned that the government is committed to achieving food self-sufficiency and reducing food imports.

“Cooking oil costs approximately Ksh 1.2 billion, yet we have fertile lands in Western Kenya and Nyanza where we can grow soybeans and sunflower seeds to produce cooking oil,” said the Deputy President, adding that the government has agreements with countries like Mali to receive seeds for a sustainable oil production program.

According to Mr. Gachagua, one of the strategies the government is implementing is making agriculture appealing to young people.

Additionally, he stated that the government has introduced Climate-Smart Agriculture that corresponds to environmental conditions and weather patterns. This includes establishing crop collection centers and enabling young people to use digital systems to market their agricultural produce.

Furthermore, Mr. Gachagua hinted that this initiative aims to involve young people in exciting precision agriculture that uses technology.

While financial constraints and land availability pose challenges for agribusiness projects, the Deputy President is championing the Hasla Fund, saying it will support high-cost agribusiness endeavors of up to Ksh 1 million.

Mr. Gachagua, who prides himself on being a ‘truth-teller,’ will be remembered for telling young people that the government cannot guarantee jobs for everyone. He made these remarks during the graduation ceremony at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) on June 23, 2023.

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Abdul is a journalist by profession having graduated from St.Paul University.

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