Update Youth Test Farm Kenya

The training of the first cohort of youth at the demonstration farm in Kenya is almost over! Over the past few months, the farm setup has been fine-tuned, and the youth have gained valuable experiences. Together with the youth, we have installed shade nets, a rainwater harvesting system, a solar-powered water pump, a greenhouse, and a drip irrigation system at the farm. The youth have received both theoretical and practical training from various trainers/experts on different topics, including climate change, nursery management, horizontal learning, crop management, pests and diseases, enterprise development, food and nutrition, and water management. They have also been on field trips to various example farms, including a tree nursery, seedling farm, rabbit farm, fish farm, organic farm, livestock farm, and climate-smart horticulture farm. These visits have provided the youth with valuable knowledge and inspiration to implement similar activities on the demonstration farm and in their own in the future.

Furthermore, the youth have actively participated in the entire crop cultivation process on the farm, including land preparation, crop planning considering market conditions, seedling cultivation, sowing, weed control, fertilization, and more. This hands-on involvement has provided them with practical experience. They have also been involved in the purchase, planting, and maintenance of different indigenous and fruit trees on the farm.

Unfortunately, some youth have dropped out due to other priorities. The cost of living in Kenya is increasing, and poorer youth, who would greatly benefit from our project, prioritize earning money for food and shelter. As a result, learning and making long-term plans become less of a priority, and the youth remain impoverished and reliant on “quick money” opportunities. Especially during the rainy season, they often fail to show up at the demonstration farm as they are working as seasonal laborers. We see an opportunity to provide food and shelter for the youth on the farm in the short term, ensuring they are not in a precarious situation to meet their basic needs. Currently, we are working on developing a plan for this and seeking funding.

We hope to harvest the tomatoes at the farm soon. With a portion of this income generated, we plan to organize a diploma ceremony in July, combined with a stakeholder day. This event will invite important stakeholders such as government officials, local farmers, church representatives, businesses, traders, and more. The youth will have the opportunity to present what they have learned and their plans for the future. Our hope is that these stakeholders will provide support to the youth for implementing their plans, such as funding, materials/equipment, knowledge sharing, and experiences. We will also begin recruiting youth for the second cohort, which will undergo training on the farm starting in late July.