The are a multitude of arguments when it comes to the issues whether the agricultural sector in Kenya or Africa in general is a viable option for employment for the youth. Some, like Karen Brooks Director of IFPRI argue in a blog post, that agriculture offers a good option to move out of poverty and build satisfying lives if only leaders made policy and investment decisions that increased the competitiveness of Africa’s ‘local farmers’. Others like Jim Sumberg, research fellow at the Institute of Development Studies, says in a blog post that “upgrading employment opportunities within the agricultural sector (i.e. from preventative to promotive and/or transformative), may only come about through the fundamental restructuring of the sector”. Both positions implies that huge efforts are needed to create change at the policy level to have a wider impact on the agri-sector and the youth.
The Youth wants the change and they are on the way
While the debate is ongoing and changes through policy and investment decisions or restructuring of the sector is most-likely to trickle in slowly, the youth is looking for opportunities and the market and the agribusiness is moving at much faster pace.
The SCARA APPEAR project gives young people the opportunity to explore options and challenges and look for solution from their own perspective. And that is what happened last week at Egerton University. 30 young people from young farmer, ICT experts, high school and university students met to discuss burning issues related to agriculture and youth. During the workshop organized as an open space, they had the opportunity to voice they opinions and look for solution from their own unique perspective. And this was only the beginning of an interesting journey.
The youth council – an advisory board by young people
As a major milestone of the SCARA project, a youth council was established. The youth council will meet on a regular bases to discuss issues regarding youth, agriculture, innovations, challenges, ICT, ICT4Ag and solutions that fit their unique needs. They will provide input to a Innovation Platform (IP) that will be formed to discuss the metioned issues on a broader multi-stakeholder scale.