Youth awareness center for new agricultural technologies

Gardener harvesting fresh tomatoes in a greenhouse [iStockphoto]

Rain-forest Alliance has set up an incubation center to educate young people on new agricultural technologies they can adopt to earn money.

Paul Orangi, the alliance’s national director, said that through the program dubbed “Future Farmers”, they have established a demonstration farm in Kirinyaga County, used to show young people how they can venture into growing cash crops through hydroponics.

Hydroponics is a type of agriculture and a subset of hydroculture that involves growing crops without soil using water-based mineral nutrient solutions in aqueous solvents.

“We want to show young people that they can use technology in agricultural activities to earn money quickly by farming for example; vegetables, mushrooms and keeping the black soldier fly which is used as a protein ingredient in animal feed,” he said.

KTDA Foundation program coordinator Elizabeth Njenga said that alongside Rain-forest Alliance, GIZ and Kenya Climate Innovation Center (KCIC), they want to support the next generation of tea farmers and their households.

“Tea farmers have an average age of 50-60, so we want to invest in the next generation by helping them elevate their ideas and helping them see what complementary businesses young people can create in their communities,” she said. .

Njega disclosed that alongside Unilever, GIZ and KTDA Foundation support various youth and women groups through entrepreneurship trainings and support different value chains.

“We want to expand it by identifying more ideas and partners for scalability,” she said.

She made the remarks at the University of Kabianga during a symposium dubbed “The Future of Youth in Green Entrepreneurship”.

National Environment Trust Fund Projects Manager Andrew Machora said with the Kenya Climate Innovation Center and The Standard Group that they are targeting youth innovation in waste management, commercial forestry as well as renewable energy.

“We want young people with such ideas to join us to be supported through incubation support as well as links with financial investors,” he said.

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