On December 7, Partnership for African Social and Governance Research (PASGR) in collaboration Center for African Bio-Entrepreneurship (CABE) held a stakeholder mapping forum to discuss youth employment in agriculture and agro-processing in Kenya. This was done using the Utafiti Sera (Research-Policy Community) approach that provides a platform for policy engagement. The forum that attracted farmers, county official representatives, academia and private sector from the agriculture discussed on various ways of making agriculture a viable business opportunity.
The aim of the forum was to identify strategic actors in relation to youth and agriculture in Kenya and also identify contact persons in each organization who will be liaison for this initiative.
Utafiti Sera ensures that all policy actors and community of researchers work together to ensure that appropriate policy actions, programmes, legislation and other actions provide employment creation in the context of an inclusive growth in Kenya.
Opening the forum, PASGR Executive Director, Prof. Tade Aina said “There is need to create employment among the youths hence our agenda ‘Youth Employment in Agriculture and Agro-processing in Kenya’. This agenda builds on Phase 1 of Utafiti Sera that convened around employment issues in sugar and horticulture industry. From the scientific research carried out, there was interest in creating employment for the youths hence the need to identify the knowledge gaps by engaging policy actors.”
Agriculture being the backbone of Kenya’s growth and contributor of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) claims to offer employment opportunities for the youths in particular and envisions them as key actors in agricultural transformation through entrepreneurial programmes.
“Despite efforts by African policy makers and development partners supporting youth employment, limited comprehensive data or evidence on opportunities, challenges and programs exists. Hence the need to generate and make evidence available to policy makers and practitioners on this relevant issue, remarked PASGR Program Manager, Martin Atela.
In 2016, the first forum on wage employment creation in agriculture and agro-processing in the context of inclusive growth was held. It involved a stakeholder analysis to identify institutions having power, interest, motivation and capacity to influence policies and programs in agriculture and agro-processing.
According to CABE Research Associate, Lucy Adoyo who made a presentation during the forum on unlocking potential in employment creation in agriculture and agro-processing in Kenya insisted that there is need to identify counties which aren’t strong in undertaking agricultural activities.
“Many policy actors are supporting interventions in youth employment but it would be good to learn what other counties are doing to support youths in agriculture already. These areas have been classified as either hot or cold where hot represents well developed and intensive farm business while cold is less intensive family business,” remarked Ms. Adoyo.
CABE Executive Director, Dr. Hannigton Odame engaged the audience in a Participatory Impact Pathways Analysis (PIPA) approach to collectively determine the route in terms of categorization of identified actors by their relative importance to youth employment creation in agriculture, identify potential actors along specific commodity value chain in the agricultural sector, strategy influence, among others.
The participants were divided into two groups and each has to identify the actors in relation to size of the organization, linkage and response to Utafiti Sera approach. They also had to come up with influencing strategic actors who can well play their respective roles in Utafiti Sera for youth employment in agriculture and agro-processing in Kenya.
Concluding the forum, Dr. Odame was grateful to the stakeholders for showing up at the forum. He assured participants that their contributions presented on the charts would be valuable input especially in pushing the Utafiti Sera agenda forward. He further added that it was a learning process since the concept was relatively new to many and it would be important to synthesize the actor maps, to generate key strategic actors and a strategy for engagement at both county and national levels. Dr. Odame closed the meeting and thanked the participants for their valuable input in the mapping process.