4-H Kenyan Delegation Partners with Government to Attract Youth to Agriculture Careers

July 13, 2017

Kenya’s farmers are aging and the government needs to attract youth to the sector.  The Global 4-H Network Summit cemented a close partnership between government and the Kenyan 4-H delegation, and provided an opportunity to see what’s working in other countries – particularly Canada.  Their priority is for youth to see and experience positive opportunities in a new farming value chain.

“To succeed in attracting youth to agriculture, it has to make sense to them,” said Phoebe Odhiambo, Programme Co-ordinator for the Agriculture Sector Development Support Programme (ASDSP).  “They need to see agriculture as a commercial opportunity, not subsistence farming, and they also need positive opportunities to engage and learn leadership.  We need to provide opportunities for capacity building and mentorship.”

The Global 4-H Network Summit is providing further networking opportunities and examples of successful programs worldwide that will help Mrs. Odhiambo and her team develop an agri-business strategy for youth to encourage them through mentorship and helping them to identify career opportunities in larger-scale farming.  They are also seeing many examples of programs that develop leadership and entrepreneurship skills. Through government initiatives such as the ASDSP/4-H relationship, Kenya now has a coordinated program to develop and test a model for future curriculum development, with funding from the Swedish Government, the UN, and Kenyan Government.

Kenya’s Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries has a goal to triple Pan-African trade by 2025.  One strategy is to expand 4-H into all of the country’s 47 counties from the existing six.

4-H Kenya Executive Director – and farmer – Annie Nyaga said they are literally trying to change the farming culture, because people used to say that “farming is only for those who fail at school.”  4-H is crucial to helping change these attitudes.  4-H provides a vehicle that supports the government’s aim to focus on three value chains and use public/private partnerships to transition from subsistence farming to larger-scale commercialization.

“It is brilliant to have forums like this where we have an opportunity to share and learn from other countries,” Mrs. Odhiambo concluded.

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