By Ally Jamah
The Youth Enterprise Fund is set to construct 420 greenhouses across the country in a Sh150 million strategy to lure youth into entering the world of profitable farming.
The Fund will also give loans to thousands of youth groups to buy their own greenhouses and access modern technology.
The Chairperson of the Fund’s board, James Gitau, revealed on Monday that youth groups in all the 210 constituencies will soon be invited to apply for the greenhouses to be built in the first phase of the programme.
“We expect to involve 5,000 youth in the first phase. This new project will create instant jobs for them and will also improve the country’s food security considerably,” he said during the project’s launch.
The greenhouses will be constructed by Amiran Kenya, the organisation that first introduced large-scale green houses in the country in the late 1980s. The two organisations formally signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Monday at a Nairobi hotel to kickstart the programme.
The greenhouses will have a drip irrigation system, seeds, crop protection products, a sprayer and nursery set. Also included as part of the package will be health and safety protective gear and access to training, agro-support and insurance.
The second phase of the programme will see youth groups access what has been dubbed as the “Agrivijana loans”, which allows them to buy their own green houses and receive appropriate training and equipment to launch profitable farming.
Youths will be given Sh358,000 but they must raise 10 per cent of the loan. Repayment will start following a four-month grace period.
“Using new technologies, we can show how Kenyan youth can make lots of money for themselves from farming. They wouldn’t need to move into towns anymore to look for jobs,” said Amiran’s MD Pinaas Moskovich.
For groups to qualify, they must have at least quarter of an acre of land with access to an adequate supply of water. Seventy per cent of the members must be aged between 18-35.