By Winfred Kagwe
The Youth Enterprise Development Fund has set aside over Sh179.7 million to lend to youths in an effort to woo them towards agribusiness.
YEDF will advance Sh358,444 to each youth group,dubbed AgriVijana Loan, to acquire greenhouses, drip irrigation system,water tank, seeds, fertilisers, crop protection, training and insurance for the crops.
It has partnered with agriculture technologies company, Amiran Kenya, to to provide the farm inputs, and education they need to venture into lucrative modern farming. “The reason for giving this sector specific loans is that despite strides towards industrialisation, Kenya is still an agri-based economy,” said Mwatata Mwangala, CEO of YEDF. He said farming is the way to go, not only to create youth employment but also the whole economy and for food security.
The project initially targets about 5000 youths in all constituencies who will be in groups of 10. The repayment interest will be 8 per cent with a grace period of at least four months given, which is adjustable depending on the crop maturation period. The group must however show they have access to land and water and be able to raise at least 10 per cent of the initial investment and be registered to get the loan.
The money for AgriVijana loans is part of the sh1.75 billion that the government has so far released to the revolving fund. Pinhas Moskovich, MD of Amiran said despite availability of water, good climate and manpower , the Kenyan youths have not considered farming as worthwhile business , given that the average local farmer is aged 65. “youth do not see future in farming, they see it as work to do in retirement, yet it an industry driving other industries,” he said. He said the Amiran Farmers Kit was created with the aim of allowing small scale farmers affordable access to modern agricultural technologies .