Kenya’s youth population is growing at an alarming rate. The current youth population is about 13.7 million youth accounting for 35.4% of the population and constituting about 60% of the total labour force (World Bank, 2014). This translates to, approximately 1.2 million youth joining the labour market annually. A further 155,000 join the labour market after completing training in Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) or tertiary education (Kenya Country Report on Youth Employment, 2014). Thus, approximately 1.3 million new employment opportunities have to be created annually to meet this demand.
Despite a growing workforce, Kenya’s economy is not creating enough productive jobs, particularly for the youth between the ages of 15-34 years. The youth unemployment rate is equally high at 26.21% compared to the national unemployment rate of 11.47 %. Various opportunities exist for the youth. In particular, the Agriculture sector is important, since youth employment opportunities can be created from here.
It is in this light that the, Partnership for African Social and Governance Research (PASGR) and the Centre for African Bio-Entrepreneurship (CABE) have facilitated a research-policy engagement forum: Utafiti-Sera on “Youth Employment Creation in Agriculture and Agro-Processing in Kenya”. This platform brings together different policy actors and provides opportunities to address youth employment challenges with keen focus on Agribusiness by using evidence thus ensuring that appropriate policy actions are influenced and enacted.
PASGR and CABE will be hosting an Utafiti Sera National Forum on Youth Employment Creation in Agriculture and Agro-processing for Inclusive Growth in Kenya from 14th – 16th November, 2018 in Kisumu. This national meeting seeks to discuss the generation of evidence, share lessons learnt, experiences and build consensus on proposed policy actions to support youth employment creation in agriculture and agro-processing for inclusive growth in Kenya. The discussions during the various sessions expect to interrogate three key areas in youth employment in Agriculture and Agro-processing. These are:
1. Policy options to highlight what is functioning and provide recommendations;
2. Creating a platform for learning, knowledge sharing and action among various stakeholders to enhance opportunities for youth employment creation and;
3. Provide a comprehensive internship system to support policy and youth employment creation in agriculture and agro-processing.