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Farm households’ livelihood diversification and its implications

A recent conference entitled ‘Young People, Farming and Food Conference’ co-hosted by the Future Agricultures Consortium and the Institute of Statistical Social and Economic Research took place on 19th -21st March 2012 in Accra, Ghana. It looked in detail at the future of the agri-food sector in Africa and the engagement of the youth. I prepared a paper for this conference entitled ‘Farm households’ livelihood diversification and its implications for young people’s Engagement in agriculture, the case of Uasin Gishu County, Kenya’. The paper was based on the question that if the current generation of the youth is no longer interested in careers in agriculture, then what activities are the remaining rural young farmers engaged in? An answer to this question indicates possible areas of interest that can be targeted to improve the participation of the youth in value chains in agriculture. The study found that the young farmers diversified their farming activities by getting involved in diverse types of business activities with the major ones being agricultural trading, trading in household and consumer goods and motor cycle repair/transport services. Young farmers’ households rely heavily on wage and non-farm investment income compared to older farmers who relied more on farm income (livestock and crop income). Some of the recommendations made include training youth in business and entrepreneurship as well as value addition which is likely to position the youth strategically in the value chains where they can play an important role in contribution towards commercializing agriculture through linkage of rural farms with urban markets.  Feel free to give me your comments about the paper. You can get it from http://www.future-agricultures.org/ypff-conference-resources/cat_view/1569-young-people-farming-and-food-conference/1570-conference-papers. Luke Korir, Kenya