A group of young farmers join together to meet growing demand for chickens and eggs.
Nearly 80 percent of Kenya’s population is under the age of 35. Many of these young people struggle to find employment. But with the agriculture sector accounting for 25 percent of the national gross domestic product in Kenya, there is potential to engage youth more meaningfully in the sector and help them seize employment opportunities.
Feed the Future helps younger generations, such as members of the Mugi Youth Group in Kenya, connect to markets and access finance to sustain and grow their business and improve employment opportunities for this critical segment of the Kenyan population.
Mugi Youth Group was formed several years ago when a group of young, budding farmers from outside of Nyeri got together to see how they could meet a growing demand for kienyeji, or local chickens and eggs, in the area.
Simon Muriuki, member and chairman of Mugi Youth Group, donated a portion of his land for the members to start a poultry business.
“There weren’t enough resources individually, so we thought why not come together?” Muriuki said. “That’s how the group business was born.”
Even after forming this group, the young members faced challenges accessing the formal market for their poultry products. Most had not received formal education or training in production, which led to poor breeding techniques, and, consequently, high poultry mortality rates.
“We lacked skills on how to maintain the chickens up to the time for them to lay eggs,” Muriuki said. “We used to lose almost 20 percent by the time they started. Today, we lose as little as four percent.”
Feed the Future trained Mugi Youth Group members on agribusiness and connected them to a private sector buyer, Aberdare Country Club — a four-star hotel in the area. Today, Mugi Youth Group provides 100 trays of eggs per week to Aberdare, which helps ensure a steady supply for the hotel as well as consistent earnings for Mugi Youth Group.
“Access to the market has been a huge plus for us — it has created employment which provides money directly to our members and to the youth,” Muriuki said.
At 26 years old, Muriuki is only getting started. The group is working to secure a business loan to expand its operation and double the amount of chickens they raise by building new chicken houses and coops.
“This project has reached youth coming out of school,” Muriuki said. “Our community has embraced them. Old farmers and young farmers are alike — they both want training and links to the market.”
Through its involvement with K-YES between 2016 and 2018, Land O’Lakes International Development trained 5,000 youth in Kenya. Land O’Lakes connected the younger generation to 3,000 new or improved jobs and helped 1,000 young people receive loans to grow their businesses.
The USAID Kenya Youth Employment and Skills Program (K-YES), with a consortium of partners, is focusing on building local relationships and capacity to increase the efficiency, effectiveness, and sustainability of education and employment outcomes. As a contributor to K-YES, Land O’Lakes International Development supported the development of demand-driven approaches, tools, market linkages and access to finance to help youth succeed in agribusiness ventures. To date, the project trained 5,000 youth in Kenya. Land O’Lakes connected the younger generation to 3,000 new or improved jobs and helped 1,000 young people receive loans to grow their businesses.