Strathmore University, School of Business in partnership with AGCO Corporation, a global leader in the design, manufacture and distribution of agricultural equipment launched an agribusiness training programme on value chain management and investment in agriculture targeting the youth to ensure that the average age of a farmer reduces from 59 to below 35 years of age.
The programme known as AGCO Agribusiness Qualification Programme (AAQ) has already employed 20 students who will be the trainers, a bid to instill work skills to graduates. This is the first junior management trainee programme between the two institutions.
“The programme is promising for Kenya and Africa at large. We share with our partners the hopes and aspirations of building a productive Africa that will sustainably feed itself and the world,” said Dr. George Njenga, Dean of Strathmore Business School.
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“It is our hope that through the programme, which focuses on the Youth, we shall first ensure that the average age of a farmer is reduced. We are also confident that a youthful generation, as appreciated through this programme, shall create avenues which will generate research and provide innovative and technological solutions, enhancing mechanization and hence operationalise farm practices in Africa,” said Dr. Njenga.
Agriculture sector presents a huge opportunity for the creation of employment to absorb the youth and ensure achievement of food security for future generations. However, the sector is yet to fully exploit the potential of the youth and it remains largely unattractive according to Kenya Youth Agribusiness Strategy 2017 -2021.
The strategy further indicates that the majority of those engaged in agricultural activities are aged between 50 and 65 years and still predominantly practise traditional and subsistence farming practices which cannot meet the current high food demand in the country.
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“We need to make agriculture look attractive for the young people through trainings and impacting skills to them. This programme is therefore welcome and we hope it will benefit our youth countrywide,” said Post-training and Skills Development Principal Secretary Zeinab Hussein during the launch last week.
“The government needs more experts and skilled personnel such as farm managers, production managers and food chain value managers to help in key agricultural projects such as the Galana Kulalu irrigation project to help realise the desired impacts. This should come from our youth,” said Ms Hussein.
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Revolutionising the sector especially in Africa, will require a great mind set shift which encourages the Youth to pursue Agribusiness as a commercial endeavor, a flourishing a career and one with an impact.
“This is a great opportunity not only for organisations such as AGCO but also for Young entrepreneurs who are passionate about Agriculture to understand how to improve the productivity of African farms. I greatly believe that the biggest transformations, will be in physical infrastructure as well as the infrastructure of the mind and talents of the youth, which is very evident in the programme,” said Gary L. Collar, Senior Vice President and General Manager Asia Pacific and Africa.