GFAR blog

YAP Proposal #76: Encouraging Youth into Rice Farming (Emmanuel Ngore, Kenya)

My name is Emmanuel Ngore. I am 29 years old and the current Young Professionals for Agricultural Research and Development (YPARD) Country Representative for Kenya. I am an environmentalist by training and currently pursuing my Masters in Environmental Management. Agriculture is my passion and as such, I am a farmer too, specializing in rice farming. I have a great interest in value addition in the agriculture value chain.

In my project, I intend to build the capacity of and engage 2 youth farmer groups to grow rice with assured market. I will be the assured market by buying their rice husks at US$ 60 per 90kg bag, drying and storing the rice husks, processing and packaging for sale. Middlemen offer US$ 40 for the same bag of rice husks. My project is sustainable as it focuses on the post-harvest storage and selling produce when the market demand is high. Normally, a 90kg bag of rice husks if processed can fetch up to US$ 90 in the market. This of course is my strategy of fetching higher prices for my produce when there is high demand. The rice market pool never dries as is provided by boarding learning institutions in the area.

Ahero, Kenya is known for rice farming, an activity being dominated by the old folk. Young people find it unattractive as it fetches poorly in the market when sold as husks. Processed rice fetches up to twice as much as compared to rice husks. Middlemen are mostly preferred as they provide a sure market to the produce in husks form. As such, middlemen exploit farmers by providing very low returns in exchange for the produce they purchase in large quantities. The youth in Ahero find agriculture unattractive and prefer venturing into motor cycle business natively known as ‘bodaboda’ through which they earn less than US$ 2 a day. As a youth leader in matters of youth in agriculture and as a farmer, I will be able to provide a sustainable solution to young farmers by assuring them better price for their rice husks. Individually, I will be able to benefit by processing the husks, storing and selling to consumers at a higher cost when market demand increases.

Rice farmer exploitation_Ngore

The five main steps involved in this project are (1) Organizing and registering youth rice farmers groups in Ahero division, (2) Constructing a storage facility, using iron sheets and wooden poles, for storing rice once harvested, (3) Supporting each youth group to plant rice in already available land and assuring them of market for produce, (4) Purchasing rice produce from the youth group at a price higher than exploiting middlemen’s and (5) Using the youth groups, dry the rice husks, process, package and sell when demand goes up. This will encourage more young people in the society to venture into agriculture being sure of favorable market for their rice produce hence will enhance their livelihoods.

As a small-scale rice farmer. I dry my rice husks and store them in a small rented hut which has a capacity of only 12 bags. I therefore do not sell my rice husks to exploiting middlemen. This is in small-scale and has low returns. Young farmers are still not willing to wait for long to get returns from the rice farming. With higher selling rates at harvesting time, more young people would venture into rice farming to improve their livelihoods.

The success of this project is guaranteed. Uncertainties such as poor weather and availability of water are already tackled by an established irrigation scheme which provides water in cycles to rice farmers in Ahero. This also assures young farmers of water for their rice. I will measure the success of my project by (1) the number of youth groups formed and registered (2) the number of bags they produce per acre of rice they plant (3) livelihoods provided by the better prices they fetch from selling their rice and (4) the profit I make from selling the end product to the consumer. I have a piece of land available to construct a storage facility to store the harvested rice husks.

I intend to use the US$5000 grant to construct a bigger store, in the land I own, that can store up to 200 (two hundred) 90kg sacks of rice husks. The grant will be used to; organize and register 4 youth farmer groups in Ahero Kenya, train these youth on financial literacy and the benefits of table banking, provide rice seeds and other farm input to the 4 youth groups to grow rice in their farms (at least 1 acre per group), construct a store of 200 bags of rice capacity and purchase the rice harvested from the youth groups farms and store for future selling.

The project budget entails;

(1) US$ 100 to organize and register 2 youth farmer groups of at least 10 young people each in Ahero 50 per group. This will take up to 31 days.

(2) US$ 300 to train the youth groups on financial literacy and the benefits of table banking. This will take 2 days.

(3) US$ 600 to provide rice seeds and other farm input to the 2 youth groups to grow rice in their farms (at least 1 acre per group) @ US$300 per group. This will be in tandem with the growing season as allocated by the Ahero Rice Irrigation Scheme. A planting season lasts 90 days.

(4) US$ 2000 to construct a storage facility, using wood and iron sheets, with 200, 90kg bags capacity. This will be done in 21 days.

(5) US$ 2000 to purchase the rice harvested from the youth groups farms and store for future selling. This lasts about 2 weeks within the harvesting period.

My project will be replicated to 2 other youth groups, following the same process, for every planting season ultimately impacting on a larger population of young farmers. I foresee constructing a bigger warehouse for storing more produce as more harvest is envisaged from the engagement of more young farmers in the area.

Blogpost and picture submitted by Emmanuel Ngore (Kenya) –emmanuelngore[at]

The content, structure and grammar is at the discretion of the author only.

This post is published as proposal #76 of “YAP” – our “Youth Agripreneur Project”.

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112 thoughts on “YAP Proposal #76: Encouraging Youth into Rice Farming (Emmanuel Ngore, Kenya)”

  1. Emmanuel, this is a great initiative. One highlight that is glaringly missing is; what’s the demand of your market. e.g. 70 Metric Tons per a certain duration etc. This would help with projections to any Investor.
    Affirm global is keen to work with you. During our work we have engaged farmers along a value chain strategy.

    1. Many thanks Samuel for your useful comments. Indeed the demand in this area is very high as the rice is mostly consumed locally. Farmers are unable to satisfy the local rice demand. A study is yet o be done to give exact demand in tonnes and at different times of the year. I am also looking forward to Affirm Global’s support in this initiative, perhaps to undertake this research and identify the exact demand in figures.

  2. For a long time youth in the rural set up of Kenya have looked down upon agribusiness not knowing that this where real wealth lies. For sure the youth in Kisumu areas are facing unemployment challenges yet there exists untapped opportunity in rice farming through organized agricultural production, value addition and reliable markets.

    This is a great idea of our time as young agri-prenures . As a consultant in areas as group dynamics , youth coach and Financial literacy trainer ,i would be willing once in a while to volunteer my services on the proposed project. Kudos Emmanuel.

    1. Many thanks Kelvin. Am glad that you’re keen to be part of this initiative. Indeed youth in this region need a lot of capacity building to develop their skills in Agriculture. It is unfortunate that this region is fed by other regions despite having a great agricultural potential. I look forward to working with you to build the capacity of the youth group I will work with.

      1. Yes very ready ,,,it will be an interesting programme to work with youth for sustainable agriculture

    1. Thank you Silas. I am optimistic that this project will have a great impact to the target population

      1. Emmanul this is the only way to help youth in agriculture.. This is a solution to call youth back to Agribiz sector such is dominated by old guys n middlemen, killing it and making it unattractive to the youth.. Kudos I like the mindset u hv bro…

  3. Youth in the rural set up of Kenya have continued to neglect agribusiness based on bad experiences , poor attitudes on agriculture , challenges on land ownership and financial costs involved in agribusiness. Most of the rural based agricultural practices are more of subsistence and not commercial therefore most young people do not see agriculture as a viable option to create wealth. It is high time to encourage youth to real wealth creation ,that is why i support my fellow young farmer Mr. Emmanuel in his quest to encourage youth to tap in the opportunities in rice farming in Ahero.

    Young people in Kisumu and Ahero area continue meeting challenges such as poor education standards or levels, poverty and lack of creative employment opportunities. I believe this project by Emmanuel is one of those ideas waiting to be embraced, supported and auctioned

    From my end , i am readily available to support this initiative by volunteering my skills once in a while to organize groups, train them on financial literacy , help them through basic entrepreneurship training and growth to savings and cooperative societies ….

    1. yes kelvin I conquer with you.I have a certificate in the same agriculture but up to today not yet job secure.So am asking Emmanuel I want to be a good example to the youth especially in ukambani area where the variance of weather is unforgiving,I can start livestock production like;poultry,cattle for meat and milk ,sheep and goats.Because they have high market demand value.From these I can also create some employment as we come together to fight the notion that agriculture does not pay.Emmanuel role up that plan its cool especially there in kisumu its cool and am for the idea.I am pleading with emmanuel that youth lack cash to start up because of high requirement.Thank you.

      1. Planting your own food is like printing your own money …..lets keep up putting words to action

    2. Hey Emmanuel, I’m an agribusiness student at Kenyatta university. I’m doing rice farming in mwea and I also sell within the student market. That is a great idea…rice farming is a rich enterprise very promising….you can also follow my pages @jay_jay_farmproduce on Instagram and jayjay farms on Facebook. Its awesome seeing the youth embrace jobs that were termed dirty… #agricultureiscool #agricultureissexy preach the word

  4. The empowerment of the youth groups is great but how sure are you that young people will be willing, and committed to the project even after their registration and training? Most groups collapse because the members are not committed enough to the larger objective.

    1. Thanks Daniel for your comment. My strategy is to offer a higher price for a 90 kg bag of rice. This will be USD 15 higher than what middlemen offer per bag. I believe this will encourage the youth groups to continue producing more rice as they will be sure of fetching a good price. It is also sustainable.

  5. Dear Emmanuel,
    What a timely idea, this is a wonderfully thought innovation. All the best.

  6. Hello Emmanuel, Mawuli Dake share this link with me. I took time through to read the incredible you are doing in Kenya. I am also glad that you are working with local farmers to increase their return on investment.

    I would recommend that you continue, and in the future consider increasing the space and investing in developing the rice husk into a product. Create a factory for it. You can produce furniture etc from it. Thanks.

  7. Agriculture being the backbone of Kenya’s economy, it is only right to mention that this idea will take Kenya to the next milestone of poverty eradication and hunger containment. If properly executed, the project will benefit not only Ahero residents but also other Kenyan citizens.

    1. Indeed John. Kenyans attest to this fact that without agriculture our economy would collapse. I envisage this project impacting the entire country in the long-term

  8. A very noble idea that will go a long way in salvaging farmers’ interests and involve the youth in its activities. All the best

    1. Thanks Rose. Farmers have faced massive exploitations previously and currently. This project will automatically raise the profile of agriculture in the country

    1. Impressive read . actually the average age of a farmer in Kenya is 60yrs. Sad reality. Same applies to youth in agricultural research. There’s also an aging agricultural researchers’ population globally. Youth already know the value of agriculture, what they don’t know is how to get feasible entry points..

    1. Thanks. I foresee a complete transformation in the rice farming community. Youth are very innovative. Once this project captures their attention, I believe they will dig deeper to innovate further

  9. Emmanuel goodwork we can also role it out to other counties because there is untapped money and wealth in soil.It will also be a sure away to drive away middlemen from farms to guarantee good earnings and fight away drugs and substance abuse
    .Am for the idea.

    1. Hi Mbuvi. Other countries do face similar challenges faced by youth in Ahero. Indeed their farming potential is underestimated making youth lose interest in farming. I also look forward to upscaling and replicating this initiative countrywide and regionwide.

    1. this is the way to go Emmanuel, keep it up and don’t loose hope. am also in the same line empowering through sunflower value chain and value addition
      keep up the good job.

  10. Great work you are doing by empowering the Youth and many people will be impacted by this action.

  11. Great initiative Emmanuel,
    Engaging the youth into those matters not only makes them more active in their community, but also brings them closer to the land and to nature. It fights one of the sources of distance between people and land, which often arrises once they move into towns.

    1. Good to read from you Pietro. Agriculture and environment work together. Urban Adaptation is a key issue now and this project will help transform rural towns.

  12. Great idea, I hail from ahero and I know of thousands of youth who cannot even afford to marry someones daughter because they believe they are poor yet they inherited tens of acres from their parents that are lying idle. Agribusiness is the only way to go.

    1. Yes Felix. Unlike other counties Kenya, youth in Ahero have large tracks of unutilised land . this is the solution to have these pieces of land utilised by youth.

  13. Congratulations Emmanuel on this carefully thought out initiative. Wishing you and all the youth you hope to empower every possible success.

  14. Emmanuel, This is indeed a noble idea. Thank you for the passion you have to empower the youth, especially in the rural areas.

    You are targeting the male youth, majority of whom operate the ‘boda-boda’ transport in the area. You would also include the girls, who would equally benefit from the project because, as jobless youth, girls are unduly disadvantaged due to cultural inclinations that deny them use and/or ownership of household land as an economic resource. You would also mention that as a value addition to the project, the rice husks would make compost manure to grow other crops like vegetables for the local market. This will bring added benefits: creation of employment for more youth; production of organic food for improved nutrition and health. This will definitely impact positively in the lives of the local community, thereby reducing poverty with its resulting social evils like domestic violence, prostitution and other evils. Creation of employment will also reduce rural-urban migration in search of employment. Indeed it will create stable families.

    This initiative will also create environmental sustainable projects like planting trees with the compost manure.

    This indeed is a promising project. I hope that after it has picked up in Ahero, you can also start such youth projects in other counties.

    1. Great insights Anne. This project underscores the importance of gender and youth groups selection must fulfil gender requirement at a 50/50 level. Young women are affected most by social aspects in the local community. I envisage a complete transformation of way of thinking as regards engendering projects.. Very useful comment Anne.

  15. Coming from that area, it’s an inspirational and timely initiative. Good work,keep it up and all the best.

  16. Emmanuel, this is definitely a great initiative. I can see your passion and your insight. It is a sound plan with a great potential to get the young generation involved into this more profitable agricultural business. Very encouraging work.

  17. Nice project. Very well designed, with many details and considerations. I hope it will work out.

  18. I wish we had more of people like you Emmanuel. Good initiative there. The youth have a huge potential, and it only takes initiatives like yours to help them exploit their potential. Kudos.
    I have one concern though. We all know that most youths would like to practice farming, but lack basic farming skills. So does your project involve provision of extension services to these youth groups? Like giving step by step guidance in agronomic management in rice farming, from planting to harvesting?

    1. Thanks Duncan for your insights. For a start, I intend to build capacity of the formed youth groups on table banking and financial management. As it progresses, the gaps of more capacity will emerge and I see more potential to engage partners to provide this capacities.. Good thought.

  19. For a long time, most Kenyans have neglected the orphaned foods. Lack of / poor youth engagement in agriculture, lack of mechanization and the exploitation by middlemen are impeding food security. However, the introduction of such initiatives are welcome and I hope to try it out, soon.

    1. I agree with you @Brian the youth population need such like minds of Emmanuel and us to direct their energies and skills to sustainable agriculture and agribusiness

  20. What an awesome idea Emmanuel. This project is a great way of involving the youth in agriculture. I am from Mwea where we grow lots of rice and as a young person in agriculture I have never considered being a rice factor due to exploitation from the middlemen and the community around. Is it possible to have a mirror project over here. Would be happy to help.

    1. This is so timely Njoki. Mwea and also Budalangi rice farmers are exploited every year. Indeed this project will be replicated in Mwea as well as Budalangi to bring more young people on board.

  21. Hi Emmanuel? This one is indeed a brilliant idea, kudos!
    Its fortunate that our motherland is capable of producing rice but its unfortunate that our youths are not such interested in rice farming. On the other hand, considering that we import rice from dry countries such as Pakistan is not such a good move and we need to pull our efforts together and act on this; because this one is a gap. Your move will act as an epitome to pull our youths together by showing them that there is a greener pasture within us apart from ‘bodaboda’business. I wish your idea would become a reality earliest, many thanks.

    1. Thank you David for your observation. Our agricultural potential as a country is yet to be explored. Imagine a scenario where young farmers thrive through the entire agriculture value chain. This will complete transformation!!!

  22. Emmanuel, you are doing a great job. I think in your program you need to include training of the youths. Remember rice farming is something which requires skills in order to realize high returns. You can organize for seminars where the youths in the targeted area can get more information on rice farming. kudos!

    1. Hi Chris. Thanks for your comments. Youth capacity in farming needs to be enhanced. Yield remains a key concern so as to obtain maximum output ofcourse without compromising environment integrity. My project has considered building youth capacity in financial management and will also consider support the selected young farmers with farming input that will ensure they get good harvests. This has been captured in the proposed budget for the project

  23. There are a lot of incentives attached to this initiative that would definitely attract youth,a few key entry points could be:
    agro-inputs, collection centres, mobile money services, advertisements and promotions, transport and transportation, bonding and mentor-ship, etc.

    1. Yes Japhet..I fully agree with your thoughts. Agriculture value chain creates opportunities for other micro-industries. There’s a lot youth can do to make great livelihoods here.

      1. Emmanuel I read the article and I was really inspired. I will spread the word. A great project that the youth need to embrace..

  24. Hi Emmanuel
    Fantastic idea, I must applaud this noble idea.
    Post-harvest pest management techniques is a real issue.Kindly take into consideration some of the friendly and sound pest management mechanisms that are easily available and affordable. Don’t mind disseminating the idea to the farmers too just to minimize incidence of pest occurrence in the main storage facility.
    Wishing YOU ALL THE BEST.

    1. Thanks Kwadha for your comment. Pest occurrence is an expected phenomenon. However, considering the demand for rice in the region, we do not foresee our storage lasting more than 1 month after harvesting. Still, pest control mechanisms have to be employed in this project just in case. Thanks for bringing out this aspect, very important to consider.

  25. Hae Emmanuel,

    Great work. Its a timely project at a time when youths are looking for opportunities to make their lives better. Incorporating agroforestry practices in the project may also be a great idea due to the associated multiple benefits of trees.

  26. Great initiative Emmanuel. You are the face of the new farmers generation in Kenya – savvy and well-informed. I hope this initiative will get much deserved support and global recognition.

      1. I also love the fact that the youth can engage in agricultural activities and get to make a living. I have read the different projects on site great work

  27. Hello Emmanuel, this is an initiative that will indeed go a long way in boosting the participation of the youth in agriculture. Being very active in the CAADP Non State Actors Coalition, this demonstrates that you are actually “walking the talk”… Keep it up and we support you on this project idea

  28. Way to go Emmanuel. Empower the youth in Ahero. Together with training on financial management, use the local knowledge and resources. Use the rice husks as organic compost especially when mixed chicken manure can make very good compost for the “kienyeji”(traditional vegetables that can also be a source of income for the girls and boys too. There is a lot that can be done.

  29. An Economically Empowered youth got the power to chose good leaders and are not easy to manipulate. This is a great step, Emmanuel.

  30. this is the way to go Emmanuel, keep it up and don’t loose hope. am also in the same line empowering through sunflower value chain and value addition
    keep up the good job.

  31. Wow ! am impressed if we youths Could venture into productive activities as such will never be complaining of food in security . Emmanuel this is the way to go.

  32. Dear Mr. Emmanuel your project is so much valid. The little our fellow youths are getting from the bodaboda business isn’t enough. We need to venture into more greener pastures and am glad you were able to find this out, my sincere wish your project is going to become a reality soonest

  33. An admirable project, Emmanuel. That’s a laudable initiative you are taking and may that development-mindedness spread to virtually all young people in the country and the world in entirety. All the best as you take up the pivotal role.

  34. We have to get youth actively involved in agriculture and one attractive presumed obviouys tool is Agribusiness. If they can make money , then the only question left is why not? Middlemen in any value chain change to bring alot of fragmentation and therefore decrease in value. Good Vision, well in Emmanuel.

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