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Kenya: FAO and the Youth Fund support youth in agribusiness

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The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has worked with the Young Enterprise Development Fund to develop youth competence in accessing funds for agribusiness ventures.

More than 300 youth from Kakamega’s 12 sub-counties have benefited from the program, which has taught them how to acquire financing from government affirmative action groups like the Youth Enterprise Fund, how to plan their capital, and how to use their cash, and how to promote their products.

Following the training sessions, the selected youth would be expected to seek for funding to help them turn their company ideas into reality as they pursued self-employment.

Incorporating Information Communication and Technology (ICT) on how the youth could use available technology applications on their phones, market their products through social media, and follow up on the status of their loan application through Short Messaging Service (SMS) platforms, according to Maurice Otieno, an officer at the Youth Enterprise Development Fund who is in charge of Capacity Building.

“Many people are starting businesses, but many confront difficulties within the first six months when their plans fail to meet their expectations. That is why we have gone to their aid,” he explained.

Apart from training, he stated that the Youngsters Fund, in collaboration with the FAO, would connect the selected youth with mentors who would support and encourage them throughout their entrepreneurial path.

The FAO’s Liaison Officer for the Integrated Country Approach Programme for enhancing decentralized youth employment in Kakamega, Simon Ndung’u, explained that the initiative aims to help youth in four value chains: dairy, aquaculture, and soya bean farming.

After three months, he said, FAO would meet with the Youth Enterprise Development Fund to review how young people are responding to loans and what obstacles they are currently facing.

Lukas Ogutu, the Youth Development Officer in Charge of Kakamega Central Sub County, stated that while loan take-up is currently low, he is optimistic that with training, the majority will apply.

240 groups from the Sub County have benefited from Uwezo fund loans totaling Sh21 million, he said.

“We’re encouraging youth and other members of the community to come to our office to take advantage of the no-interest loans,” he said.

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