YAP proposal #117: Greenhouse Agribusiness for Kenyan Youth (Lizian Auma Onyango, Kenya)

Tomatoes grown in a greenhouse - credits Step Up Social Enterprise

I am Ms Lizian Auma Onyango, Kenyan, 22. I am in my final year of a Bachelor of Arts in Development Studies at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Nairobi. I am a native and resident of Suba Sub-County of Homa Bay County in south-western Kenya. I am a community development enthusiast and my vision is to gain global knowledge, skills, and experiences in international development for practical, local impacts—starting with my community.

I want to work with and help rural youth 18–35 years (as defined by the Kenyan constitution) in my community to be decently self-employed and generate income through technology-oriented and market-driven farming as a business. That is, agribusiness. Poverty and unemployment are endemic in my community: in excess of 52% and 40%, respectively. Youth unemployment is even higher, estimated at more than 70%, leading to migration from this rural community to cities in search of elusive job opportunities.

Farming as a business, also known as agribusiness or, more recently, agripreneurship, is a good means of securing livelihoods for rural communities through employment creation and income generation. However, four major challenges impede youth in my community from participating in farming as a business:

First, average farm sizes are very small, less than one hectare per household, meaning that benefits of economies-of-scale may not be derived. Furthermore, due to cultural traditions and practices, youth do not have ownership and control rights over family land until they reach an unspecified age, in most cases, influenced by marital status. The case is even worse for female youth!

Second, accessing financial credit for agribusiness or any other entrepreneurial venture is difficult for youth, as most banks and micro-finance institutions demand collateral security in the form of land-title deeds and other assets which most youth don’t have.

Third, accessing markets is a tall order for most youth due to market sophistication, with stringent demands on both production quantities and qualities, and also characterized by the critical need for bargaining power.

Finally, the consequences of climate change—such as erratic and unreliable rainfall—renders rainfall-dependent farming unprofitable due to low productivities and in some cases total crop failure.

I want to use my knowledge, skills, and experience in development studies, and my exposure in agribusiness, to make a meaningful, positive, and lasting socio-economic change in my community. This will mean economically empowering local youth through technology-oriented and market-driven farming as a business.

The initiative entails financially supporting youth groups, on a loan basis, to construct, own and manage affordable greenhouses using local materials, such as round poles instead of steel structures (ultraviolet-treated polythene glazing material will be used), for vegetable and fruit production.

The greenhouse structure measures about 20 m x 8 m, does not require a large land area, and can be located within the homestead, hence addressing the challenge of access to adequate farm land.

Moreover, productivity of vegetables and fruit under greenhouse structures is twice as high as open-field production, and also susceptibility to weather changes, pests, and diseases is greatly minimized. A model, low-cost greenhouse farm for vegetable and fruit production as a business will be established for technology diffusion, young farmer training, and extension services. In order to facilitate access to finance, markets, and extension services, these youth will be organized into groups of ten members, with each youth group initially jointly owning and managing one affordable greenhouse.

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These youth groups will join together to form a commercial village, initially comprising five youth groups. For a start, there will be two commercial villages operating under the umbrella association, Suba Youth In Farming and Trade (SYIFT), to be established. The youth groups, commercial villages, and SYIFT association will facilitate access to credit through the establishment of village banks and group credit co-guarantee mechanisms. They will also facilitate group-based training and extension services and collective marketing of produce through contractual farming—targeting markets such as supermarket chains, schools, colleges, universities, hospitals, hotels, restaurants, and agro-processors.

So far, a small social enterprise, Step Up Social Enterprise (SUSE), operates in my community and engages in agribusiness research, evaluation, and innovation, and on the board of which I serve as a director. It has offered to host the model low-cost greenhouse farm. SUSE has also agreed to voluntarily provide on-the-ground technical backup for this initiative. I will be the Project Coordinator and Mentee.

I have also held a series of talks and consultations with the youth in the community about the initiative and they are very positive about it, and more than willing to take up the idea once it hits the ground.

The next steps to make this my initiative a success are to:

  1. Establish a model, small-scale affordable vegetable and fruits greenhouse farm for technology diffusion, youth farmers training, and extension services.
  2. Organize the youth into groups and commercial villages, and establish the SYIFT association.
  3. Provide entrepreneurial, agribusiness, and technical training and extension service to youth groups on growing vegetables and fruits in a greenhouse, as a business.
  4. Procure construction materials and technically assist youth groups establish affordable greenhouses for vegetable and fruits production, as a business.
  5. Establish market linkages with supermarket chains, schools, colleges, universities, hospitals, hotels, restaurants, and agro-processors, as well as off-take vegetables and fruits from the youth groups, to supply these markets through contractual arrangements.

Success of this project shall be measured by impact, outcome, and output indicators as listed below:

  • Impact Indicators—number of youth self-employed and generating decent incomes from greenhouse vegetable and fruits farming as a business with the target being 100 within one year. It is estimated that one affordable vegetable/fruit greenhouse structure can generate monthly net revenue of USD 2,000 for six months in a year. This translates to USD 12,000 per year or USD 1,200 per youth per year (USD 100 per youth per month). The income levels per youth increase as each group increases the number of greenhouse structures they own and operate.
  • Outcome indicators—number of greenhouses constructed and managed by youth groups in a year with the target being ten, and number of contractual market linkages established with the target being ten within a year.
  • Output indicators—number of youth groups established, number of agri-commercial villages established, and number of youths trained on greenhouse vegetable and fruit farming, as a business, with the targets being ten, two, and 100 within one year.

The USD 5,000 grant will be used to:

  • Construct a model, small-scale affordable vegetable and fruit greenhouse farm for technology diffusion, youth farmers training, and extension services at a cost of USD 500.
  • Undertake youth sensitization, mobilization, and creation of youth groups, commercial villages and establish the SYIFT association at a cost of USD 400.
  • Construct, on a loan basis, ten youth-group owned and managed, affordable greenhouses at a cost of USD 3,000.
  • Establish contractual market linkages and create a dynamic website at a cost of USD 400.
  • Administrative and logistical costs are estimated at USD 700.

The project model is financially self-sustaining and will not be dependent on grants beyond the seed grant of USD 5,000. Off-taking youth groups’ vegetables and fruit produce at 10% profit margin to supply contractual markets will internally generate USD 12,000 generated annually.

Furthermore, the model greenhouse farm will also generate an additional USD 12,000 annually, making total annual internally generated revenue USD 24,000. This internally generated revenue will be partly used to finance growth strategies, which include loaning to the youth groups village banks to finance construction of more greenhouses and modernization of existing ones.

Eventually, within three years, the project will diversify into value addition through processing and packaging for local and international markets. Thus, it will employ, generating incomes for, and secure the livelihoods of thousands of youth in my community—Suba Sub-County. Besides, it will improve nutrition in the community and reduce over-dependence on fishing in Lake Victoria as a means of making a living, which leads to over-fishing and consequential biodiversity loss in the lake. 

Blogpost and picture submitted by Lizian Auma Onyango (Kenya): kenya.accessed[at]gmail.com

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

Illustrations:

Picture: Tomatoes grown in a greenhouse in Kenya. Credits: Step Up Social Enterprise (SUSE)

Drawing: Illustration of project logic. Credits: Ms Lizian Auma Onyango

This post is published as proposal #117 of “YAP” – our “Youth Agripreneur Project”.

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249 thoughts on “YAP proposal #117: Greenhouse Agribusiness for Kenyan Youth (Lizian Auma Onyango, Kenya)

      1. Liz, I hope you have done a credible research on this project with a pilot in HB. I have had greenhouses in Ksm and Migori but terribly failed.$3000 is not enough to ensure you have the facility and uninterrupted water supply. Please get data from Amiran farmers in Migori and Rachuonyo and you’re home with challenges of greenhouse farming.

      2. Hi Benard Owino. Greenhouse vegetable and fruits farming is very profitable. May be you failed due to some of the factors we are addressing in this project such as market access, extension service and training. USD 3,000 is sufficient to start a affordable greenhouse using local materials. Consider success story of this woman Alice Chuaga who put up a greenhouse with only USD 1,600 in 2013 and now earning over USD 4,500. You may read her story at: http://www.businessdailyafrica.com/How-greenhouse-farmer-beat-setup-costs-to-earn-millions/-/1248928/1864308/-/ujtglgz/-/index.html

      1. Such initiatives is a a recipe for communities socio- economic empowerment especially at the grassroot level.

  1. Thanks Gordon Otieno! Bildad Ouma, thanks too. You are spot on! Market-driven farming as a business leveraging on technology such as greenhouse is a good means of self-employment and income generation for youth in rural areas.

    1. Thank you Seth Ok. Our youth are also dynamic and I believe integrating technologies such as greenhouse is a sure way of successfully engaging our youth in farming as a business for self-employment, income generation, and food security.

  2. addressing the root causes of poverty will greatly help in addressing most of the societal problems. Youth empowerment through agribusiness is essential as it will definately enlarge their choices and opportunities as well as their capacities to satisfy their basic needs of time through the income generated.

    1. Hello Baraza Cynthia, I agree with you, and I have highlighted the key challenges that hinder our youth from engaging in agribusiness and how this agribusiness project will address them. I believe in agribusiness solutions to poverty.

  3. Great idea. It is about time such initiatives are given priority in our counties to help create employment and eradicate poverty

    1. Wow! Great idea? Thank you so much Sagimo John. I look forward to working closely with key stakeholders in this initiative including the County Government of Homa Bay to help our youth. I will even be more happy when the success of this project is replicated in other Counties in Kenya and even Africa at large!

    1. For sure Kenneth Uki, hopefully, I look forward to implementing it in Suba, learning more from the experience, and scaling it to the entire Homa Bay County! And why not, even the entire Kenya one day.

  4. It’s evident that such a proposal if implemented shall change the lives of people from this area, I come from the same area and belive that this is an eye opener in its own measure and I would support it fully.

    Agriculture is Africa’s greatest potential into poverty eradication and wealth creaction, with bright ideas such as these we see a better Africa and a well fEd generation tomorrow.

    Good Job Lizian Anyango, go forward.

    1. Johnmark Henga, thank you for your comments. I fully agree with you! Our youth, plus tech-driven agribusiness, and available markets can surely positively transform our communities. I am very passionate about moving forward with this project!

  5. a very briliant idea on food security and youth employment……………………worth support!!!!!!!

    1. Thank you Geoffrey Okobe. Kenya Vision 2030, particularly the economic pillar, aims to improve the economic prosperity of Kenyans. I am positive that this agribusiness project will contribute to the achievement of the national vision

  6. Lizian, This is a well thought piece of brain work! As a Suba Person, this will really change on our food production back in the village and will create employment to many! You met the challenge with determination, strength, and total confidence! You deserve support. Congrats!

  7. Well thought out ideas. It leaves no doubt that your heart is in the right place. People of good will should support your initiative to bring it to fruition. Way to go!

    1. Sam Okello, thank you so much. I am looking forward to receiving massive support from the youth themselves, donors/financiers, County and national Government and and other value chain actors to make it a success.

  8. wonderful thoughts in the direct direction towards achieving Kenyan vision 2030, agricultural sector is still virgin

    1. Erick Owuor thank you. I believe our youth can play a key role in the realization of the Kenya Vision 2030 and the Homa Bay County Strategic Plan. Agribusiness is one of the viable options available to them

    1. Pius Atonga thanks so much for your encouragement. Sometimes most transformational change is homegrown. That is what the “Daughter of the Soil” is championing through youth-driven agribusiness.

  9. Very good idea as you know, the area is a net importer of vegetables and fruits so there is very huge market. My question is, why not form a cooperative instead of an association?

    1. Jared Odhiambo thanks for your compliments. I think forming a cooperative in the initial stage of the project may be tricky. My strategy is to first organize the youths into groups, joining together to form an agri-commercial village complete with village banks, which further joins together to form the Suba Youth In Farming and Trade (SYIFT) association. As the project stabilizes, SYIFT association will be transformed into a cooperative with banking products and services. One step at a time, the project will steadily become a massive youth-driven agribusiness revolution for employment creation, income generation, and food security.

  10. Hi Adoyo Daniel, thanks for the compliments. I believe our youth can drive the agribusiness agenda in our community for employment, income generation, and food security.

  11. Faulu Suba, Lengewa Saverio, and Emma Mbinya, thanks for the compliments. I believe this initiative will go a long way in positively and meaningfully empower our rural youth through agribusiness in a sustainable way.

  12. Seth Ok and Edwin Motuka, thanks for the compliments. With this idea, passion, and support, it is possible to effectively address poverty and youth unemployment through agribusiness

  13. Hello Baraza Cynthia, I agree with you, and I have highlighted the key challenges that hinder our youth from engaging in agribusiness and how this agribusiness project will address them. I believe in agribusiness solutions to poverty.

  14. Lovitoh and Sagimo John, thank you. Your compliments energizes me. I look forward to working with key stakeholders in this initiative including the County Government of Homa Bay to help our youth.

  15. Wow! What a wonderful idea. Need to be translated into action at the earliest… We at the African Policy Centre (APC) are proud to be associated with Lizian. The Sky is not the limit.

    1. Hello Awuor Ponge, thanks for the complements. My attachments at the African Policy Center during the semester breaks broadened my development perspectives. I am keen on mobilizing goodwill and resources to translate the initiative into a reality for the good of our youth.

    1. Kiboyye Okoth Yogo thank you! As our very own actress Lupita Nyon’go once said “no matter where we come from, our dreams are valid” . I believe this my project dream is valid. I believe the dream of our rural youth, of decently earning an income and gainfully self-employed are valid. I believe the dream of our community of being food secure is valid. With goodwill and resource support, these dreams can be translated into reality and agribusiness is a viable option!

    1. Ochieng Otieno, thank you. As we may all know, our community depends so much on fish resources in Lake Victoria for food and income. Our appetite for fish is exceeding Lake Victoria’s capacity to meet the demand. Experts have warned that people who love fish may need to start loving other food because if not controlled, fish will not be available in the next 20 years. Over-fishing will deplete Lake Victoria’s fish stocks. It will become another Lake Malawi, which has lost 93% of its fish in the last 20 years. Staples such as maize and beans, and horticultural produce such as vegetables and fruits are also threatened by climate change. I rightfully agree with you that this initiative will also contribute to food security besides creating jobs and generating income for our youth.

  16. Implimenting such great ideals will do our people greater services…Wish you the very best Lizian

  17. Best achievers always develope ideologies and impliment them with vigor-passions.As a person I truely believe in your dreams and they are valid…Wish you the very best Lizian

  18. Lizian,

    This is remarkably commendable! Realistic pathways to employment creation instead of job-searching.. Hongera.

    1. Andrew Mulama thank you for your comment. I will work with both male and female youth equitably. The youth groups will either be mixed gender or either all males or all females. In all cases, I will ensure get an equitable chance to participate in the agribusiness initiative.

  19. Wow I so much like this, sounds like an educative productive demonstration center. I vouch for this proposal anytime any day because of its socio-economic impact on surrounding community and reducing desperate rural-urban movement.

    1. Thanks Marx. Your are right. The model, affordable, small-scale greenhouse farm which is a component of the project, will be very useful in greenhouse vegetable and fruits farming technology diffusion to the youth and locals, and it will also be used for training and extension services besides internally generating revenue though produce sales for financial sustainability.

  20. This is an.amazing idea……go forth with ot…..what the youths of today in kenya are doing is amaizing….
    Funding should never be an issue….YAP….follow this through….training, funding, mentorship…will go along way.

    1. Joy Chlaris, thanks for the comment. You are spot on! Our youth, with support can significantly contribute to the fight against poverty. I am looking forward to this agripreneurship project receiving funding, training, mentorship, and networking support for great success!

    1. Thank you Kibet Ian. We the youth, together, we can propel Kenya towards achievement of Vision 2030. And I believe youth-led agripreneurship projects like this one hold the key to realization of Kenya Vision 2030

  21. Wother the current dynamics in climate I strongly believe this will boost our agriculture sector n add up positively to our economic sector

    1. Thank you Walwanda Odongo Phelix. Approximately 80% of Kenyans depend on agriculture (Mostly subsistence) for livelihoods. With technologies such as affordable greenhouse farming, we can make agripreneurship attractive to our youth and also mitigate against the effects of climate change on agriculture.

    1. Thanks Vibokz. Rightly said – agripreneurship is a viable option to securing the livelihoods of our youth. Through collaborations, partnerships, and most importantly working together as youth, some of the challenges faced by youth in their attempt to participate in agripreneurship can be surmounted

  22. A brilliant idea with a promising outcome, worth sharing and being put in practice to encourage self-sustainance

    1. Thank you John Wayodi. I too believe it has the potential for great impact with respect to youth employment creation, income generation, and food security. With support, I am hopefully looking forward to implementation.

  23. Great idea…I see an optimistic future ahead of you Lizian…All the best hopefully I will get some ideas from you when I begin my project in Laikipia west county..

  24. Agribusiness is the green gold. Well managed it has the capability of employing every idle youth.

  25. Brilliant idea. My only problem. Will all the green houses be constructed at the same time? And if so the period for harvesting tomatoes cannot extend to six month. Among the reason for doing it, issue of drug abuse can boost it up. In suba the youths are swept by the menace and by involving them, their minds will be occupied.
    All the best coz I believe you can.

    1. Thank you Kevin MacOyugi for your comment and question. Practically, all the greenhouses will not be constructed at the same time. For strategic and operational reasons, construction of the greenhouses will no all happen at the same time. Additionally, production will be planned carefully to ensure continuous availability of tomatoes and other vegetables and fruits produced. Production will also be synchronized with contractual market supply schedules. Yes, I agree with you that this project will also help address the problem of drug abuse among our youth.

  26. Very great idea. With the right support and push for realisation of this project in your community and spread out across the country to areas facing the same challenges will help our country realise significant change in socio-economic growth.Would love to work with u.kudos

    1. Aluoch Millicent Onyango, thank you for the comment. Yes, I am optimistic that I will receive sufficient support to enable me implement it in my community and replicate it in other regions.

  27. I’m encouraged by your insightful contribution to market driven agribusiness. This is surely an eye opener for our youths who have always relied on blue collar jobs. It’s about time we realised that we can make more earnings in technology driven farming. I’m humbled that you have come up with this wonderful idea. I’m so proud of you my dear.

    1. Thank you Oloo Johnson Willys for your comment. Unlike the traditional subsistence farming, technology-oriented and market-driven farming as a business has great potential to create self-employment opportunities and income generation for our youth.

  28. This is great. I look forward to be part of this big initiative. In my capacity as Project Coordinator – World vegetable Center focusing on promotion of indigenous vegetables, I look forward to establish a model greenhouse under this proposal.

  29. Good plan. Consider a youth-friendly farmer financial diary. Example of a diary found at the end of this agriculture value chain project report: http://www.seepnetwork.org/filebin/pdf/resources/cyes/STRIVE_Final_Project_Report_ACE.pdf
    The diary helped farmers and their groups to see expenditures versus sales and determine how best to achieve value from their efforts.
    One of the essential findings from that project (not youth focused project) was the need for mentorship of the farmers to use modern farming techniques (to assure quality, consistency & quantity) and to aggregate crops for sale, and to aggregate input purchases.
    When the groups are working well, they might consider adding to a drying unit (simple frame structure with heavy-duty plastic covering), so that they can dry fruits & veggies for sale during the off season when the products will command higher prices.

    Best wishes to you and the youth in your area.

    1. Thank you Diana Rutherford for sharing the Farmer Financial Diary. It will be very useful in helping the youth farmers keep farm records and to know if they are in business or not (i.e making profits or not). Mentorship, input and produce aggregation, and value addition will be core pillars of the model.

  30. Brilliant idea Lizian Auma Onyango. Great proposal. Agribusiness for sure is the solution to youth unemployment and food insecurity in Kenya and the wider Sub Saharan Africa region. I would love to be part of this project and I wish you all the best. Keep up the spirit!

    1. Sarah Njenga, thank you. One of Kenya’s key comparative advantage is agriculture. Through technology-oriented and market-driven agripreneurship, rural youth can be self-employed and generate income for security of livelihoods.

  31. Brilliant idea. Brilliant proposal Lizian Auma Onyango! Agribusiness is for sure the solution to many of the problems we encounter in Kenya and the wider Sub Saharan Africa region; youth unemployment and food insecurity primarily. I wish you all the best in this project. I would sure love to be part of this and collaborate with you technically. Keep up the spirit!

  32. This is a brilliant idea that must be support at al cost, well done, super brilliant, you are thinking.

  33. This is great stuff ,Its impact can be way beyond your projection so long as it’s properly implemented… Keep it up…

  34. Lizian, this is a wonderful proposal. All other African youths need to look up to you as a business mentor. I will also call on African Development Bank and all other development partners and African governments to support initatives of this nature from our talented and resourceful youths. African countrris need not look outside the shores of African Continent for very briliant ideas particularly during this trying of dwidling oil prices in the international market. I pray and hope that this idea will be transformed into reality soonest.

    Kudos once again!!

    1. Thank you Lawrence Kwaghga for your comment and encouragement. Thank you also for offering to call on African Development Bank, other development partners, and African governments to support initiatives of this nature. I am looking forward to mobilizing sufficient support and resources to transform this idea into reality. Thank you.

  35. Dear Lizian,
    This is a truly innovative and revolutionary mind .Being a practitioner in the agricultural value chains and enterprise development, I’d propose you carefully undertake feasibility study on this before doing any major investment.More specifically, what drives the development of VCs is the market.A careful analysis of the end market is critical,establish long term and sustainable relationships with other VC actors.Also, just having the youth involved in the production and marketing isn`t sufficient, think about capacity building.

    1. Dear Silas,
      Thank you for your valuable and constructive feedback. I have done a rapid participatory assessment and in deed, the feedback I got is that it is truly innovative and revolutionary as you have described it. Organizing the youth into groups, commercial villages, and formation of Suba Youth In Farming and Trade (SYIFT) association will facilitate among others collective marketing action such as produce collection and aggregation, and contractual farming. Group approach will also facilitate extension services and learning, and access to finance. The model greenhouse unit farm will also facilitate capacity building through technology diffusion. Finally, these youth groups will also be trained on key entrepreneurial and agribusiness skills such as record keeping. One of the comments I have received recommended use of youth-friendly farmer financial diary, an example of a financial diary is found at the end of this agriculture value chain project report: http://www.seepnetwork.org/filebin/pdf/resources/cyes/STRIVE_Final_Project_Report_ACE.pdf
      The diary helped farmers and their groups to see expenditures versus sales and determine how best to achieve value from their efforts. At the point of implementation, I will carry out a feasibility study, more so, employing the chain-wide learning for inclusive agrifood market systems development approach. Through this, I believe we will be able to comprehensively address issues such as value chain drivers, trends, stakeholder analysis and management, capacity building e.t.c.

  36. That is a great job, and no doubt that it will be acculturated in other nations of Africa especially the sub-Saharan Africa where most of the youths are forced to migrate than to nurture their environment, and grow out there. This is attributable to lack of prudent policy actions in these nations towards environmental protection. Here, I my understanding is that you are trying to fill this gap. That’s a great job again.

    1. Thank you Taferi for your comment and encouragement. I believe the success of this initiative can be replicated in other sub-Saharan countries and even other developing countries outside of Africa. As you have rightly mentioned, it will also address the youth urge to move to cities in search of elusive jobs. I believe it will effectively demonstrate the opportunity cost of youth migration from rural areas to cities. I believe it will also influence and shape Government policy on rural economic development such as infrastructural development, and also spur rural agribusiness investment by other non-governmental value chain actors. In as much as the key objectives of the project is to create self-employment and income generation opportunities for youth in rural areas and also improve food security, consequentially, the project is also acting as a catalyst for youth-driven and agribusiness-led vibrant rural economies.

  37. This is a brilliant project Ms. Lizian. My concern is, why are you focusing only in Suba Sub-County yet the project is relevant to all the other youths in the whole of Kenya?

  38. This is awesome Lizian. It is a game-changer in the fight against youth unemployment! I do not come from Suba but I how I wish Migori County where I come from could be included in your area of focus for the project!

    1. Thank you Lilian Odhiambo. The project will surely reach Migori County soon. More so, when it reaches Migori County, It will even be better because we shall have learned from the implementation in Suba!

  39. Hi Lizian, this is a great idea. I have worked in agriculture value chains development in Africa for over 10 years and I must confess that focus has been on “Smallholder Farmers” with very little specific focus on youth! This is an eye-opener. I hope you secure resources to implement it. It will be a turning point in creating employment and income generation for youth. However, in the long-term, consider converting the model farm into some sort of training institute or center akin to Buhle Farmers Academy in South Africa which specifically focuses on youth agripreneurs. Here is their website: http://buhle.org.za/

    1. Thank you William Barry. I also do hope to secure sufficient resources to implement it. I will study the Buhle Farmers Academy and seen how to integrated the model in our growth strategy. Hopefully when in South Africa, I hope to get a chance to visit it as I have noticed it is not very far from Pretoria/Johannesburg.

  40. I like the idea Lizian. How are you planning to share the success of this project with others so that we replicate it?

    1. Bello, I will use social media, website, to share our success. Funds permitting, I will also share my experience with the project in conferences, forums, print, and electronic media. And probably write a book one day!

  41. Very good project! Very holistic and well thought out. May be you can incorporate use of mobile phone in your extension and information sharing with the youth who will participate in the project e.g. having a Whats Up group. I think Safaricom also has a product for group information sharing.

  42. This is great Lizian. It is a good agribusiness solution to poverty. However, when it come to farming as a business, I advise that you do not restrict yourself to the definition of youth as per your countries constitution (18-35 years). Be a little more flexible with age because it can very well benefit youth who are say 17, 16, 15 years who never made it past primary education. Please include them too in your scope. Otherwise it is a very brilliant project and I pray is succeeds.

  43. Lizian this is a good peace of thought. If it were possible, with sufficient funding, your model should be piloted in a dozen Sub-Saharan countries. Nevertheless, I hope you will share the outcomes and impact of this wonderful project. My question is, how will you handle youth who transition from the youth age bracket during implementation. For example, if a youth signed up for the project at 35 years and during the course on implementation, he/she becomes 36 years, does he/she leave the youth group? What are your thoughts on this?

    1. Thank you Kemi for the comment. The groups will develop a constitution to govern their operations. During the Constitution making process, I will help them collectively think though such issues and have appropriate clauses in the constitution, by-laws, policies, rules, regulations, and procedures as shall be appropriate. In principle, the transition from youth to the next age should be as smooth as possible in the project.

  44. I like the integration of various strategies to address issues affecting youth in agriculture. The problem with most agriculture projects is that they are narrowlistic, for example, some only focus on improving production while ignoring access to market and finance. If you can achieve value addition by setting up a light processing factory in the near future, say 3-5 years, it will go a long way in revolutionizing youth employment in the region and beyond!

  45. Very good thinking! The market outlets you have mentioned as very feasible. May be you can think of creating your own market outlets such as opening fruits and vegetables groceries under your brand name and employing even more youth in those groceries across urban centers. This will guarantee markets for the produce and cushion against challenges with contractual markets.

  46. Great project. There is a nearby international airport – Kisumu International Airport which you can use in future to export the produce for even greater income for the youth. Regular flights have also started at the even more near airport – Homa Bay (Kabunde) Airport in Rodi Kopany. I see these airports being used productively with such as initiative. Very good thinking.

  47. This is brilliant idea. African Development Bank, which is currently led by Dr. Adesina who transformed Nigerian agriculture sector should sponsor this project for piloting in atleast four Sub Saharan African Countries.

    1. Thank you Ojonoka for the commendation. I have read much about the Nigerian Agriculture Transformation Agenda which was led by Hon. Adesina. I hope the project will catch the eye of African Development Bank (AfDB).

  48. This is a very innovative project that may grow much faster than you ever thought. Start thinking of growth management strategies as you plan to implement.

  49. Our youth are addicted to social media such as Facebook. Apart from the website, Include social media also in your engagement with the youth in this your project.

  50. Good thoughts! This is a very viable and sustainable project. However, such projects sometimes fail because of failure to undertake proper stakeholder analysis. As you plan to implement, consider undertaking stakeholder analysis, giving due attention to identification of key stakeholders; Stakeholder mapping; Stakeholder profiles and strategic options; Power and power resources; Stakeholders‘ interests and scope for action; Influence and involvement; Force field analysis; Building trust; Exclusion and empowerment; and Gender (cross-cutting building block on gender equality in development). You may used the “Multi-stakeholder management:Tools for Stakeholder Analysis: 10 building blocks for designing participatory systems of cooperation” developed by GTZ (Now GIZ) found at the web link http://www.fsnnetwork.org/sites/default/files/en-svmp-instrumente-akteuersanalyse.pdf

  51. Good work. How will you deal with cartels who may think you are kicking them out of business. I am asking this because robably vegetables and fruits consumed in the region are imported from far off places outside of the project area by traders and cartels

    1. Ajima thank you. I believe currently existing traders and “cartels” in the vegetables and fruits market are part of stakeholders. I will undertake a stakeholder analysis and see how best to handle the current traders and “cartels”. In principle, I will not pursue a confrontational approach but see how best to make use of their experience in the field while also sharpening our market positioning, competitive and comparative advantages.

  52. Keep moving! This is wonderful! Apart from technical and entrepreneurial skills training for the youth in this project, include also life skills

  53. Lizian, this is a great project. One tricky aspect you may need to think of is the issue of female youth who at one time may be married off and leave the project area. How will you handle this? Do they quit the project when they get married. Think of strategies to deal with such issues…..

    1. Alex that’s a very real observation you have made. Just like age transition, the group constitutions will also address this. This includes also cases of death. One way to deal with it is for the females who get married off to other regions to continue being active in the groups through share holding and still benefits from the group incomes.

  54. Very good. You may not need to wait for that long (3 years) to venture into value addition. Once the fruits are ready, such as passion fruits which do very well in greenhouses, you can make passion fruit drink and sell in local shops and hotels. Its does not require complex machines and investment to start juice extraction. Excellent thinking! Keep it up

  55. I see a situation where this project generates so much interest among the youth in the region, to the extent that so many of them show up to sign up for the project, more than you can handle. How will you deal with such a situation?

    1. Rober, wow! Sure, such a scenario is a possibility. We shall explain to them that we can also start with a number that our resources can support. However, we can use the huge interest generated to demonstrate to other supporters on the need to support us, especially our growth, in a sustainable way.

    1. Thank you Ruth. Sure, I will document everything and share through social media, newsletters and other platforms. I also hope to get the chance to share my experience with the project globally in agribusiness, entrepreneurship, and development conferences and forums.

  56. Go for it Suba girl. Its with pride when women like you make such bold project initiatives. You are making history! Move forward no matter what! Enlist more women in the project as you know, women bear the most brunt of poverty!

  57. Good thinking. With passion and resources, it will succeed. I believe in it! I have always wanted to venture into greenhouse farming but accessing capital is very difficult without collateral security. Greenhouse farming is very very profitable as I have seen those who can afford it making huge income monthly in the excess of 6 digit Kenya shillings. The story of Alice Chuaga who makes over Kenya shillings 450,000 (USD 4,500) from her affordable greenhouses she set up at a cost of Kenya Shillings 16,000 (USD 160) each published in the Business Daily inspires me. Alice story is at the web link: http://www.businessdailyafrica.com/How-greenhouse-farmer-beat-setup-costs-to-earn-millions/-/1248928/1864308/-/ujtglgz/-/index.html
    For our youth to raise even USD 300 now to set up a greenhouse is not easy. Poverty is real! Through the groups and with this initiative, youth will overcome the financial and market challenges of starting such a viable agribusiness such as greenhouse vegetable and fruits farming as a business.

    1. Thank you FERIN for the observation. You are spot on. Greenhouse farming is very profitable. Affordability, access to finance, extension and training, and access to markets are some of the key challenges that I shall address in this project. I have outlined my strategy in the proposal.

  58. Excellent. Techno-agribusiness is the way to go for youth! I definitely embrace it ! And more so, youth love socializing and coming together. This is a breakthrough project!

  59. Great project. Some of the vegetables you may think of are leafy green, micro greens, spinach, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, herbs, green beans, swiss chard and squash, and rasp berries. You will need to put emphasis also on quality through training of the youth as some of the market outlets like supermarkets, hotels and restaurants are very stringent on quality!

    1. Thank you Ebere for the good piece of advice. I will consider these vegetables in our production schedules and also taking market demand, and return on investment of each. As rightly said, I shall put much effort on quality to meet the market demands of supermarket chains, hotels, and restaurants

  60. Very good initiative. You can move step by step in the value addition component. For example first, try basic packaging and branding and build a strong brand themed around youth empowerment so that people know that the produce is from youth!

  61. With such brilliant initiatives, our youth can effectively take advantage of the the Government of Kenya preferential procurement policy which has reserved 30 percent of these expenses to be paid to enterprises owned by youth, women, and people with disabilities. You will need to incorporate training on public tendering so that these youth can access Government markets such as hospitals, schools, universities, colleges e.t.c. There is a great market opportunity for this project in Government procurement. Read more about the Government of Kenya preferential procurement policy for youth, women, and people with disabilities at the web link http://agpo.go.ke/

  62. Good initiative. This can grow into one huge company limited by shares one day, with the youth agripreneurs being the shareholders! This is a ground breaking initiative. Think along these lines in the long-term!

    1. Thank you Paul for the comment and motivation. I am optimistic that it can turn into a giant agribusiness employing several youth and a source of livelihood to thousands of youth. I have this in the long-term. Thanks

  63. Brilliant! As you implement the initiative, encourage other youths also to venture into off-farm enterprises such as transport, ICT, input supply as you will need them too.

    1. Thank you Custance. I believe this project will also trigger vibrant off-farm rural enterprises owned and operated by youth. As rightly said, this project will need other related services and products to support the value chains we will be venturing into.

  64. Great thinking. Can you approach the County Government of Homa Bay to support this initiative by setting aside land for establishment of a factory in future for value addition? I believe they will be more than willing to do this!

    1. Thank you Alphonce for the advise. Following this blog post, the County Government of Homa Bay invited me for an informal meeting where I briefed them on this project idea. They are positive about it and I believe since I have already made initial contacts with them, I will float to them the idea of providing land for establishment of the factory for value addition in the long-term. Apparently, my project idea fits in very well with their County Integrated Development Plan, Strategic Plan, and Strategic Investment Plans. I believe my future engagement with them on this project will be fruitful.

  65. Well thought out! The youth are ready, the technology is available, the market is available. Keep moving forward with this initiative. Its is a perfect example of agribusiness solutions to youth unemployment and poverty…

  66. Nice piece of thinking. It deserves all the support from Government, NGOs, Donors, Financial Institutions, Politicians, and all other stakeholders including the youth themselves

  67. Great Idea. Hopefully it will transform into a national youth agripreneurs movement. I think we also need a national association of youth in agribusiness similar to the Suba Youth In Farming and Trade association you are forming as part of this project

    1. Thank you G. Otieno. I believe as we grow the project, we shall learn from it, expand and possibly cover as much of the Country as possible. I will be very happy if one day a national association of youth agripreneurs is formed with regional affiliates like Suba Youth In Farming and Trade association. However, apart form the advocacy benefits of having such an association, my long-term plan is actually to have in place a huge agribusiness company employing and generating income for hundreds and thousands of youth.

  68. Lizian, have you heard of “Sex for Fish” problem women fish traders encounter in their business. It is horrible! Please, consider extending this project to the women in communities near the Lake Victoria beaches to empower them and tackle the problem of “Fish for Sex” which is partly responsible for high prevalence of HIV/AIDS in Homa Bay County. You can read about “Fish for Sex” at the web link: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-26186194

    1. Onudi thank you for the comment. Yes, I have head of the Fish for Sex problem. It is a sad story and I assure you once I hit the ground with this project, I will reach out to these vulnerable female fish traders and offer them an opportunity to participate in this project as an alternative to the fish trading business.

  69. Excellent thinking. I am only worried of the gender issues in our community. Don’t you think males will overpower the females if put together in one group and let the women work while they take all the money? How will you address this?

    1. Nouvelle, thank you for the comment. I will see to it that female youth are not overpowered by the male gender in the groups. To the extent possible, we shall address this constitutionally in the groups and also have females only groups too

  70. Good job. Keep it up. Its will be great to see a vibrant youth who are economically empowered in our communities through agribusiness. It will address some of the social vices associated with youth too.

  71. Very good project Lizian. For supermarket chains, you will have to think of produce safety, traceability, prices, and constant availability.

  72. Food is expensive, therefore our youth agripreneurs should be rich through this project. Fully supported. Go for it!

  73. A very good idea. Tell me Lizian, one of the problems with youth groups is intra and inter group conflicts and political interference. How will you effectively deal with them?

  74. Lizian, soon, I believe in under 2 years, the Standard Gauge Railway currently under construction from Mombasa through Nairobi will reach Kisumu. This is a great infrastructural advantage as you think about growth and expansion. There are prospects of even capturing coastal markets through the SG railway

  75. Hi Lilian. Good idea and zeal. You have however made a number of assumptions and you also seem to have very little knowledge on challenges of greenhouse production especially in Nyanza where bacterial wilt abounds. If you need help, call me on 0721-681943 or email operations.ace@gmail.com. I will help you seperate the wheat from the chaff

    1. Thank you Clifton Opala for your comment and encouragement. The production challenges you have mentioned can be overcome. Some of them are due to lack of production management technical know-how which we shall address comprehensively in this project. I will contact you for more exchange of information

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