Ten thousand young people in Nyamira County are set to benefit from a new initiative to create decent livelihoods and boost food security through regenerative agriculture and entrepreneurship.
The programme by Mastercard Foundation, in partnership with Practical Action and the County Government of Nyamira, will empower young women and men (18-35 years) to exploit agribusiness opportunities in youth-friendly value chains. These include African Leafy Vegetables, poultry, tomatoes, and peanuts, which have high and quick returns and require less space to operate.
Practical Action Kenya’s Country Director Susan Maina and the Governor of Nyamira County Amos Nyaribo signed a Memorandum of Understanding today in Nyamira, paving the way to implement the “Resilient Agriculture that works for the Young People” (RAY) programme that runs till October 2027.
“Our goal is to make agriculture an attractive and resilient employer for young people. By enabling systemic changes in key market functions, including policy and knowledge delivery, we can empower young people to exploit the enormous opportunities in agribusiness to create viable livelihoods. This initiative aligns with the county’s priorities to address youth unemployment and boost food security. I urge young people, especially women, to take advantage of this opportunity.”
Susan Maina, Country Director, Practical Action Kenya
Nyamira becomes the ninth county where the initiative is implemented. Others are Kisumu, Homabay, Siaya, Migori, Busia, Bungoma, Kakamega and Vihiga. The project aims to reach 100,000 young people, including 70,000 women and 5,000 persons with disabilities.
Through hands-on training and mentorship, the project will promote regenerative and circular farming to boost productivity, reduce input costs and restore soil fertility and biodiversity. It will introduce regenerative technologies like Black Soldier Fly farming, vermiculture and hydroponics. It will also support young people in creating viable agribusinesses through effective business planning, financial management, marketing, and value addition. In addition, it will facilitate access to capital, farming equipment and markets through linkages with the private sector.
To ease young people’s access to land, Practical Action and the county government will streamline land-leasing processes to reduce risks of contractual breaches that have limited agricultural investments. The programme will also seek to shift cultural norms impacting gender equality and women’s participation in agribusiness.
Challenges such as limited access to land, knowledge, capital and markets, gender inequality and negative perceptions of agriculture have hindered young people in Nyamira and other counties from pursuing opportunities in agribusiness. This has resulted in high youth unemployment and rural-urban migration. Agribusiness is considered to have the highest potential of generating decent jobs and incomes for young people in Nyamira and revitalizing the rural economy.