May 31, 2021

Youth mentorship in agribusiness records success in Kenya

Birds for poultry business (PHOTO: TAAT/Atayi OPALUWAH)

Everlyne Mwende,  a young lady in Kibwezi, Kenya, is passionate about agriculture. Shortly after she participated in an agribusiness incubation programme, Everlyne launched her livestock business with 50 birds in 2020.

The incubation programme was facilitated by the Youth-in Agribusiness compact of Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT)  as part of its commitment to stimulating youth-led agribusiness enterprises along agricultural commodity value chains.

Sponsored by the African Development Bank as part of its Feed Africa Initiative, TAAT’s main objective is to improve the business of agriculture across Africa by raising agricultural productivity, mitigating risks and promoting diversification and processing in 18 agricultural value chains within eight priority intervention areas.

The programme increases agricultural productivity through the deployment of proven and high-performance agricultural technologies at scale along selected nine commodity compacts such as cassava, Orange-fleshed sweet potato, aquaculture, small livestock, high iron beans, maize, rice, sorghum and millet, and wheat.

These work with six enabler compacts addressing transversal issues such as soil fertility management, water management, capacity development, policy support, attracting African youth in agribusiness and fall armyworm response.

Evelyne at one of her training sessions

Evelyne sold the 50 birds at Ksh 500 ($5) per piece translating to Ksh 25,000 ($250). After the sales, she restocked 100 birds for rebreeding. She later expanded her business to include the sale of eggs.

Beyond producing chicken, Everlyne has taken her passion to another level this year. She now mentors other poultry farmers within Kibwezi, building their capacity in good agricultural practices. She equally trains women and youth entrepreneurs for medium-scale poultry enterprises to deliver.

Members of the Bidii Self Help Group, a youth group in Kibwezi, have, since January 2021, engaged Evelyne to train them specifically on poultry and goat farming. She has equally mentored more than five other youth in poultry farming, and her business model has proven to be very efficient.

Evelyne is determined to continue sharing her production and business knowledge with other youth in her community and around Kenya. She will also be selling more chicks to farmers hence adding to her revenue streams.

According to Noel Mulinganya, the Leader of the Youth in Agribusiness compact, which is also known as ENABLE-TAAT (Empowering Novel Agribusiness-led Employment), “Evelyne’s resourcefulness affirms the efficacy of ENABLE-TAAT’s “Train-the-trainers” initiative. Through this initiative, benefitting youth are trained to become trainers in their local communities, thus creating a network of young people who have the skills and capacity to contribute to agricultural transformation in Africa.”

“More of such stories are budding, as the compact continues to track the record of previously trained youth,” Noel added.

It would be recalled that a similar “Train-the-Trainers” seminar, organised by the compact, held in March 2021 with youth participants from Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The youth were motivated to replicate the knowledge they received from ENABLE-TAAT in their communities as young instigators of African agricultural transformation.

Led by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA),  ENABLE-TAAT provides capacity building and technical assistance to establish and expand youth-led agribusiness enterprises along TAAT value chains such as high iron beans, cassava, fish, maize, small livestock, rice and orange-fleshed sweet potato.

Everlyne Mwende sensitizing members of the Bidii Self Help Group in Kibwezi,