Youth test Farm – Kenya
In Kenya, there are high rates of youth (18-35 years) unemployment. The agricultural sector offers multiple livelihood and employment opportunities for the youth, and is the backbone of the economy. However, youth often have a negative perception of agricultural activities. To make farming attractive to youth and build capacity, we have introduced the Youth Test Farm concept in Kenya. On the farm youth can follow a program where they experiment with farming themselves, follow trainings and visit other inspiring example farmers. The farm strives to be financially self sustainable on the long term.
We are currently developing a youth test farm close to Nanyuki, Kenya. The training hall is finished, an irrigation system has been set up and we are harvesting the first crops grown. The first youth cohort started their trainings in January 2023 and graduated in july 2023. The second cohort has recently started their trainings on the farm.
- Climate Smart Farming Practices
- SMART farming technologies/tools
- Small Business Development
This project facilitates trainings for the youth. The trainings focus on climate smart farming practices and farming technologies/tools that are SMART: Simple, Market based, Affordable and Repairable Technologies. Besides this, trainings on how to start a small farming business will be given as well as part of the project. These practices and technologies aim to create a farm that is resilient to climate change. Next to this, they aim to increase the water productivity from source to crop, using water and land efficiently and preventing land degradation while increasing profits. On the farm the students learn more about aspects like small dams, water harvesting and storage (both surface and subsurface), solar powered drip irrigation, agroforestry, horticulture, aqua-agriculture (fish farming), mulching, improved seed varieties, land preparation techniques, and organic fertilization. In the future we also aim to add beekeeping and livestock to the farm.
On the farm the youth will also farm themselves. In groups they will put their newly learned farming practices/technologies into practice. They choose a crop they want to learn more about and get tips and tricks from experts on how to do this best. Before they start farming they will do a simple market analysis and make a business plan.
Experience has shown that many experienced farmers are willing to share experiences and teach others how to farm sustainably. Exchange visits to farmers that are using climate smart farming practices and SMART farming technologies will be organised for the youth. The example farmers will be part of the youth test farm network. This way, the youth will be able to contact example farmers to ask for information/knowledge about materials and resources.