The WWF is run at a local level by the following offices...
- WWF Global
- Central African Republic
- Central America
- Democratic Republic of the Congo
- European Policy Office
The youth constitute over 60 percent of Kenya’s estimated 48 million population. Notably, majority of them are unemployed while many others underemployed. Whereas agriculture provides the highest GDP to the country and widely viewed as the one avenue that has the potential to fix the challenge of unemployment in Kenya among the youth, many have shunned the venture.
Findings from a recent needs and capacity assessment conducted by the European Union funded Green Horticulture in Lake Naivasha (GOALAN) project, affirmed youth’s skepticism in pursuing agri-business. The report cited lack of ready market, poor infrastructure and inadequate storage facilities as key disheartening factors. “Lack of access to land and lack of access to finance is also a major deterrent for many youth and women,” said Mrs. Magdalene Mbutu who is leading the project. She adds that most financial institutions often demand for loan security before they engage with farmers.
WWF-Kenya through the GOALAN project aims to solve these problems through promoting sustainable consumption and production while at the same time providing green jobs in the horticultural sector, which consequently provides sustainable livelihoods. The project is working to empower 140 Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) with 30% youth representation.
According to Francis Maina, a small-scale farmer of Engineer, Nyandarua County most parents are reluctant to allow their children to take charge of the farms and would rather have them work with no pay. He argues that the latter coupled with lack of land ownership rights in the family farms has driven many youth to the cities in search of white collar jobs. Through the project, the youth are being empowered to sustainably produce for the market as a way to reduce post-harvest loss and increase income. The project also addresses the lack of infrastructure problem by supporting MSMEs with the much-needed infrastructure like greenhouses and pack houses.
The project has further established linkages with financial institutions that will develop innovative products for the horticulture industry especially for the youths who may not have the traditional collaterals; enhancing “green financing” amongst finance sector actors where GOALAN will be a case study to learn from. Maina one of the youths in the project in Nyandarua County cannot wait to see the fruits of the project. “I have been unable to use my two acre piece of land because of lack sufficient capital resources and market for the produce,” he said.
“For a long time brokers have taken advantage of farmers; not any more. We are excited about this project because we now have an opportunity to produce what the market wants. In addition, we will benefit from the expertise of financial institutions and lobby for friendly financial support,” Maina.
The greater responsibility now lies with policy makers and implementers to make horticulture intellectually stimulating and an economically sustainable career as well as endeavor to make horticulture cool for young people across the country.
By Austine Okande & Nickson Orwa