NAIROBI, July 13 (Xinhua) -- Kenya will next week hold a three day national forum to discuss the participation of youth in critical agricultural value chains including processing, storage and marketing, an official said on Thursday.
Anne Onyango, a senior director in the ministry of agriculture said the conference to be held from July 19 to 21 will explore new ways to encourage youth to take up farming as a full time occupation.
"We have invited more than 500 youth to participate in the three day conference that seeks to promote their involvement in agri-business," Onyango said, adding that dozens of youth will showcase technologies and innovations that are transforming farming.
Senior policymakers, industry executives and representatives of multilateral agencies will attend the inaugural forum on youth's participation in agriculture.
Onyango said the conference will also provide a platform for youth involved in agriculture to meet potential financiers and clients for their produce.
"Executives from major banks will meet youthful farmers and discuss areas of collaboration. The government has been encouraging financial institutions to lend seed capital to young people who have embraced farming as a career," said Onyango.
Kenya's ministry of agriculture has partnered with multilateral institutions to incentivize the youth to take up farming through training and provision of capital.
Onyango revealed that the African Development Bank has agreed to lend the Kenyan government 32 million dollars to promote the participation of youth in agriculture.
"There are many partners who are keen to support our ambitious agenda to transform agriculture through participation of the youth who have technology and expertise that is required to realize that goal," Onyango told reporters on the sidelines of a regional forum on food security.
Representatives of multilateral agencies hailed the inaugural forum on youth in agri-business, saying it marked a giant step towards revitalization of a sector that contributes 24 percent to Kenya's GDP.
Patrick Kormawa, the FAO Sub-Regional Coordinator said that Kenya's long-term vision of achieving hunger free status and alleviating unemployment hinges on greater involvement of youth in farming. Enditem