Meet the young farmers creating a vibrant rural economy 

By Practical Action On 06.08.2020 FarmingFood & agriculture

On International Youth Day, which focuses on young people and their place in society, we’re celebrating the young farmers in Kenya who are using planet-friendly farming techniques to earn an income and benefit the planet. 

The theme of International Youth Day 2020, “Youth Engagement for Global Action”, seeks to highlight the ways in which the engagement of young people enriches society. There can be no better example that the experience of thousands of young farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa. 

Making farming work 

Young smallholder farmers face many challenges. They struggle to access fertile land to grow their crops and don’t have the money to invest in seeds and equipment. Poor farming conditions lead to harvests that are too small to enable farmers to feed their families and sell their produce for income. 

Tobias on the Bridge Youth Group Farm, where young people farm crops, leafy vegetables, poultry, fish, dairy goats and rabbits. 

Tobias on the Bridge Youth Group Farm, where young people farm crops, leafy vegetables, poultry, fish, dairy goats and rabbits. 

The ongoing drought in Kisumu County, Kenya means many poor farming families are struggling more than ever to make a living. As a result, more and more young people are leaving their rural homes to find work in already overcrowded cities. 

That’s why we’re working in partnership with the IKEA Foundation to help 6,000 young people in Kisumu make farming profitable. With training in new agroecology farming techniques, they’re discovering that they can make a decent living, while protecting their environment. 

Bridging the gap 

The Bridge Youth Group is just one of the groups we helped set up. The 20 members are aged 16–20, and they’re applying their new skills with great enthusiasm. In just one year, the group have established a profitable farm. 

The group maximises their profits by finding a use for everything that would normally be considered wasteChicken droppings make great fish food. Recycled water from fish ponds can be used to irrigate their vegetable gardens, and rabbit urine and goat droppings make great fertiliser. Vegetable remains are fed to their chickens and rabbits. And so the cycle goes, with nothing wasted. 

 

“There is no need for me to go to one of the big cities to look for employment. We are making enough money to pay our bills and live comfortably.”  

Tobias Odhiambo 

Empowering young people 

Through improving access to knowledge, skills and resources, our work has the potential to further impact the lives of more than 80,000 young people.  

With means to make a living, less young people will leave their rural homes to find work in the city. Not only will this create a more vibrant, sustainable rural economy, it will improve living conditions in the already crowded cities.