Active youth participation in agriculture is crucial for optimal utilization of young peoples’ potential in contributing to the agribusiness goals of employment and wealth creation, increasing income generation, and achieving food and nutrition security in the country. However, numerous obstacles stand in the way to successful youth agripreneurship in Kenya.
Among the most important of these barriers are the youth’s negative perception and attitude to agribusiness. How come millions of Kenyan youth are jobless, yet slow to get into farming? Why do many young people believe agriculture is a profession for the elderly and poor academic performers?
Indeed, there are many reasons why youth hold negative perceptions and attitudes toward agribusiness. In this blog post, I argue that parents and teachers/schools contribute to this problem, and therefore, discourage youth agripreneurship in Kenya.
Parents are expected to be role models for their kids both in parenting and career. Back in the villages, most parents practice substance farming. Despite working throughout the year, thousands of subsistence farmers in Kenyan villages remain poor for most parts of their lives. They make meager incomes, barely enough to sustain themselves and their families.
Without access to capital and technology, their agricultural ventures cannot deliver the lifestyles that the youth desire and expect. So, agriculture, as it has historically been practiced back at home, only demotivates youth.
The traditional agricultural practices with little success make the young people to shy away from the sector, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Irrigation.
Schools and teachers also play a big role in discouraging youth agripreneurship in Kenya. Youth unemployment is estimated as high as 35% compared to the national average, which is about 7.20%.
Thus, students need to be made aware of the diminishing employment opportunities in the non-agricultural sectors, many Kenyan schools often show agriculture as a career for nonperforming students.
Moreover, teachers in high schools and primary schools use agriculture as a form of punishment. In doing so, they create a negative attitude toward agriculture.