By Benjamin Obegi
Strathmore University has launched an exclusive agribusiness program aimed at attracting the youth into agriculture.
The first admission for the program that is open for youth aged 20-30 years is slated for March 2018.
The program which is primed to interest more youth numbers into this critical sector becomes the latest front by leading training institutions in Kenya to lay specific strategies for pulling youth into the farms and retaining them for long.
Past studies by leading institutions have argued that despite the huge potential in the sector, young people are yet to take advantage of the growth. Still, the sector is heavily associated with the old people. This socialization has been blamed for driving the energetic and educated youth from the fields.
According to Strathmore University vice chancellor, Dr George Njenga, the program will combine both classroom and field experiences.
“The program will integrate both theoretical and industrial relevance to address current trends in the sector,’’ he said.
The partnership brings on board the US-based tractors maker Massey Fergusson and Fortune Company AGCO in a two-year agreement. The partnership will also be a growth strategy by AGCO as it continues increasing its grip in the continent.
AGCO vice-president and general manager Nurdin Osman said, “The training is part of the company`s aim to build a competent resource pool that would manage its business interests in the continent,’’.
He further said, “The biggest challenge we are facing in growing our business in Africa is the inadequate talent in the sector’’.
According to Agriculture CS, Willy Bett, the training is set to place the country ahead amongst her continental peers.
He said, “This will give us an edge in knowledge and skill that will prepare youth the future in agriculture’’.
A latest report released in August by African Centre for Economic Transformation (ACET), titled “Agriculture Powering Economic Transformation’’ lauds the efforts by some African countries in solving the barriers that keep youth away from the sector.
It reads in part, “But the efforts to engage youth in agriculture is worthwhile, to take advantage of their generally higher education levels, more commercial orientation and strong drive which makes them more trainable as modern farmers’’.
Other partners in the program are the University of Zambia, The Bridge Africa and Harper University in the UK.