Two organisations engage youth profitable farming in dry regions

Two international organisations that target food security and other agricultural interventions have intensified programmes to boost food production by the youth in several semi-arid regions.

Taking advantage of the current rains season, Africa Harvest and ACRISAT, have scaled up a programme dubbed Drought-Tolerant Crops for Youth Jobs Creation to train and entice young people to engage in profitable farming.

The two organisations, in partnership with Mastercard, have been conducting intense field training in semi-arid regions of lower eastern Kenya, mainly Tharaka-Nithi, Meru, Machakos, Kitui, Makueni and Taita Taveta.

The project will also cover Siaya, Homa Bay, Busia and Elgeyo Marakwet counties.

Africa Harvest Technical Programme Lead, Nehemiah Mburu, who spoke to KBC from Machakos, said one underlying aims is to reach as many youth as possible in the selected regions to showcase to them good agronomic practices that lead to increased productivity.

The programme engages in training of trainers (TOTs) who are then dispatched to their regions to spread the farming skills learnt from the field training units.

Said Mburu, The overall goal is to see how we can secure job opportunities for young people by training them through the value chain, from seed to market.

Seed for production of drought-resistant crops has been distributed widely from the training units aiming to reach as many stakeholders as possible during the favourable rain season.

In one county only, Tharaka Nithi, over 6,000 youths has been trained by TOTs last week and been dispatched with seed for planting, according to field officers who did the training.

The project involves following up the progress of the stakeholders until their produce reaches the market, said Mburu.

He said feedback from previous seasons had shown that more youths than before have turned up this year as stakeholders in the Drought-Tolerant Crops project.

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