The AgriProFocus Annual Network Day 2017 was an auspicious event that brought on board about 300 participants from the private sector, government agencies, farmer organizations, knowledge institutes and development partners. Held at the Safari Park Hotel, the event began at exactly 8.00 a.m with arrival and registration of participants.
The session brought together young agripreneurs and stakeholders interested in youth led agribusinesses who shared their experiences.Thereafter organizations supporting youth led enterprises made presentations outlining their journeys.
Four youth agripreneurs were engaged in the panel, to share their entrepreneurial journey.
Mary Maina, a graduate in Food Science from Egerton University gave her experience on her experience with dairy farmers.A lot of milk would go to waste since farmers did not have skills on value addition. Most farmers were a bit hesitant in adopting her ideas because of the perception that “Yoghurt is made by a processor”. This gave her a motivation to do milk processing, and that was the birth of Maribelle Yoghurt.
Geoffrey Iregi from Dandora in Nairobi said that his journey into entrepreneurship was supported by Alternatives Africa, after being trained on entrepreneurship and running a company. This opened doors in woodwork, since a lot of farmers need woodwork experts in building stables, rabbit cages, fencing, poultry and houses.
Joyce Oduor,a young agripreneur who runs Sokonet, which sources commodities for the Asian market (China and Korea), help manufacturers of fast moving consumer goods to penetrate to East Africa and m Middle East and contract farming. Her motivation to export products to Asian markets was the fact that youth do not look at some products like hides and skins.
Amon Tirop is a beneficiary of Growing Futures Project, growing French beans up from the traditional maize and wheat monocropping. His group does short and midterm crops and looks for market before the crop matures. The group is supported by the county through trainings and extension support. They have also formed a table banking group with monthly contribution to finance their activities when donors exit their project.
After the panel discussions,there came presentations from four different organizations. Mary Nyale from Farm Africa made a presentation on the experience of promoting youth enterpreneurship;the Growing Futures project.The presentation outlined a case study of how Farmers in Africa Growing Future works with 421 youth in Kitale and TransZoia counties of Western Kenya to plant french beans,sugar snaps, snow peas, kales, cabbage, and tomatoes. The approach used is market-led and farmers are clustered in groups then linked to input suppliers.
The second presentation was by Ishmael from Mimi na Wewe Youth SACCO where he shared their story as young agripreneurs growing onions at the outskirts of Nairobi . The third presentation was on AgriSkills4You Programme,by ICCO cooperation - Uganda. Lastly came the Youth and Climate Smart Agriculture (CCAFS) presentation.Stories,lessons and experiences from CCAFS and online discussions on engaging African Youth to empower willing youth were shared. It was indeed an insightful engagement for the youth. We look forward to having more of these!