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Land Access and Youth Participation in Agriculture

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A recent assessment by the World Bank found that by 2030, serving the food demands of Africa’s growing middle class alone will create a market worth $1 trillion (Sh 103 trillion). African “agri-preneurs” can own that market if we tap the two assets that should be an unbeatable combination: the world’s largest population of young people, and the world’s largest holdings of uncultivated arable land. In fact, Tegemeo Institute has conducted a study that has found access to land could dramatically increase youth participation in agriculture, particularly for young women farmers. There are about 1 million youths entering the labour market annually. They can contribute to significant food security in Kenya if they are gainfully employed in agriculture where increasing population, low agricultural productivity and decreasing arable land in the high and medium potential areas are a threat to food security. Their participation in agriculture has however been constrained by limited access to land in the rural areas. Unlike the rural areas, innovative urban farming takes place even on 0.25 acres of land. This allows rearing of poultry, rabbits and having green houses in urban areas where land is scarce. Such innovative approaches can involve the youths more especially where land is scarce. Involvement of the young people in farming requires development of a positive attitude towards agriculture. This will help reduce unemployment among the youths because political and social consequences of unemployed youths can be extensive as witnessed by political unrest globally. This would involve equipping youthful agri-preneurs with relevant skills to build a sustainable and resilient agricultural innovation system that will respond to unique challenges within their counties. Such skills coupled with access to land enable the youths to participate actively in farming.

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