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The future is farming! Integrating rural youth in agriculture

After eight exciting days in field, the  Learning Route: Innovative ideas and approaches to integrate Rural Youth in Agriculture the progress in Kenya came to a close on the 18th of August in Nairobi, Kenya. The Learning Route brought together 22 "ruteros”(route participants), with over one half of them being women, from various IFAD-supported projects, implementing partners and civil society organizations working in different capacities at the local and national governments and non-governmental organizations involved in improving rural livelihoods.We had representations from Haiti, Madagascar, Malawi, Nigeria, Swaziland, Mozambique, South Sudan, Kenya and France. The aim of including participants from all over Africa and part of Latin America and the Caribbean, is to foster south to south cooperation and to share the learning as widely as possible and to facilitate relationships between those working in rural youth and gender related projects.

“I’m here to acquire knowledge and skills on how to actively involve the youth in the projects that we are currently implementing and on how to make them enterprise owners. I am very excited as well to see firsthand the Kenyan experience on innovative strategies and approaches to engage rural youth in agriculture, increase employment and reduce poverty” said Linda Magombo-Munthali from the IFAD funded Rural Livelihoods and Economic Enhancement Programme (RLEEP) in Malawi.

Addressing the needs of rural youth is gathering attention with international development agencies, donors and private companies supporting new initiatives by governmental and non-governmental organizations in many parts of the world and in Africa in particular. Issues surrounding rural youths such as limited access to educational services, dependency on mainly unpaid labour in family farms and working in the informal sector as well as the considerable impact of migration on their livelihoods - especially affecting young women- have been widely recognized as significant. There is overall agreement that if youth issues are not addressed high rates of youth unemployment and under-employment will persist and overall development in African countries could be negatively affected.

In this context and in line with its 2011 – 2015 Strategic Framework, the Procasur Corporation in collaboration with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), organized an eight day Learning Route : Innovative ideas and approaches to integrate Rural Youth in Agriculture. The progress in Kenya., between the 11th to the 18th of August 2014.

“Traditionally agriculture in Africa has been associated with the older generation. We have to find a nice way to package agriculture and make it appealing to the youth by using simple but effective technology and introducing products with a short cycle so that the youth have a quick return on their investments.  Getting youths interested in and knowledgeable about farming, while helping them seeing the value of it, will be of great importance for our future food security.” said Ms. Anne Laure Roy the Youth Focal Point, IFAD - Policy and Technical Advisory Division (PTA)in the opening session of the Learning Route.

A youth group with impressive farming plans is not something you stumble upon every day, especially when young people are more interested in jobs in the city, than staying on the family farm. But the members of the STRYDE Technoserve in Central Kenya are shaking up their community as they conform to make a livelihood through the unconventional while empowering other young people in the area to embrace a bright future as farmers.Meet Denis Kinyua, a 24 year old local champion from Cohort 4 of the STRYDE Technoserve host case study that has successfully used his investments in Agriculture to further his education and feed his family.









Denis Kinyua is a 24 year old local champion from Cohort 4 of the STRYDE Technoserve host case study. Denis, a "bodaboda" driver (a form of local transportation in Kenya that uses a motor bike),  had dropped out of school before he joined the STRYDE Programme. Through the lessons from the Programme he was encouraged to go back to school to reinforce his knowledge and abilities in agriculture. He went back to Secondary School in January. Denis has also learnt to invest his income from his bodaboda business which he has used to buy cows, farm arrow roots, potatoes, pumpkins and breeds rabbits to supplement his income from the bodaboda business. Once he finishes his Secondary school he wants to go to the university to do Economic studies through his investments in agriculture!

Read the original full article written by +Vivienne Likhanga and published on IFAD social reporting blog.