Utafiti Sera project: Youth Employment in Agriculture & Agro-Processing in Kenya
Africa’s youth population, currently the highest in the world, is expected to double by 2030. High unemployment rates continue to be a major challenge that can turn this demographic group into a ticking time bomb, if left unmitigated. As more people migrate to the cities, the demand for food is substantially growing, creating many employment opportunities in the agriculture and agro-processing sectors. However, these opportunities remain underexplored and under-utilised by the youth and policy-actors alike.
The Utafiti Sera: Youth Employment in Agriculture and Agro-processing in Kenya was inaugurated in December 2017 in Nairobi, Kenya by PASGR (Partnership for African Social and Governance Research) (www.pasgr.org ). The project implemented by CABE seeks to use research evidence to enhance policy processes and outcomes on youth employment in the agriculture and agro-processing sectors. The key stakeholders are policymakers in the national and county governments, policymakers in the ministries which work with the youth (Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock Development, training and vocational education institutions), development partners, donors, Non-Governmental Organizations, academic institutions, the private sector, youth farmers and innovators.
The thematic focus of Utafiti sera phase III was inspired by the outcomes of previous Utafiti Sera discussions on Employment in the Sugar and Horticulture industry in Kenya and Nigeria between 2015 – 2017. During these discussions, it emerged that there is limited comprehensive data on youth employment opportunities and best practices, despite the endorsement of many policies and programmes which aim to promote youth employment in Africa. In addition, the youth are often marginalised in conversations on wage employment at both policy and programme level. The programme seeks to address these concerns to bridge the gap between the youth, researchers, and policymakers to identify and promote best practices in youth employment initiatives in agriculture and agro-processing.
The main activities for Utafiti sera phase III aim to bridge the gap between research and public policy. This can be achieved by providing policy-relevant research evidence on what works to promote youth employment; making evidence available to policy makers in user-friendly formats; and providing spaces for discussions to inform government policies and practice which can help tackle challenges of youth unemployment in Africa.
The project aims to:
i) Build, facilitate, enhance, and sustain a vibrant research-policy community on employment creation and inclusive growth in agriculture and agro-processing.
ii) Synthesize new and existing relevant research evidence on youth employment creation in agriculture and agro-processing and make them available to policymakers and practitioners using policy briefs, newspaper articles, and infographics; and iii) Engage key policymakers and practitioners through direct contact, policy advocacy and use of productive employment and inclusive growth champions during breakfast meetings, policy debates, workshops, and various other venues.