Africa invests in youth employment for food and nutrition security in Eastern Africa / The Africa Solidarity Trust Fund (ASTF) project for Eastern Africa kicks off
The Food and Agriculture Organization in collaboration with the Governments of Burundi, Rwanda, Kenya and Uganda launched yesterday the Eastern Africa project ‘Promoting Nutrition Sensitive Agricultural Diversification to Fight malnutrition and Enhance Youth employment Opportunities in Eastern Africa’.
The Kenyan Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries endorsed the project’s commitment to engaging the youth in aquaculture and poultry production in order to boost market opportunities emphasizing that it is important to facilitate access to markets and to enhance the capacity of young producers in marketing and agribusiness skills.
The project benefits four countries in Eastern Africa: Burundi, Rwanda, Kenya and Uganda and the USD 4 million project is already in implementation in the beneficiary countries. It aims to promote greater diversity and intensification in agricultural production, namely in poultry and fish farming to improve nutrition, and offer better job prospects for young people in Eastern Africa. In that regard, it was stressed that the aim is to promote business oriented farming for young entrepreneurs.
This project is one of four new projects funded by the Africa Solidarity Trust Fund worth a total investment of USD 16 million, set to benefit 24 countries in West, Central, East, and Southern Africa, encompassing youth employment and malnutrition, transboundary animal and plant diseases, food safety and urban food security. In his address, Mr. Tijani noted, “We as Africans must address food security and build capacity of rural youth to obtain decent employment in the agriculture sector and improve their entrepreneurial skills.”
Youth in Agriculture, key contributors to food and nutrition security
Young people under the age of 24 represent more than 60 percent of Africa’s population and over 70 percent of them live on less than USD 2 a day. By generating attractive and decent jobs for the youth in the rural agricultural settings, the project aims to significantly contribute to increased food security, improved nutrition and livelihood resilience that ultimately reduced rural poverty.
More than 500 youth farmers engaging in aquaculture and poultry farming are transforming lives in rural and peri-urban settings. The project targets to benefit about 5,000 people in each of the four countries (20,000 people in all).
For example, the Kenyan and Ugandan component of the regional project will receive support of USD 1,000,000 over a period of three years. This will enhance access to markets and increase the availability of good quality fish fingerlings and feeds and thereby increase the overall production, marketing and value addition capacity of local aquaculture value chains.
In Burundi and Rwanda, the project will invest USD 800,000 with focus on the poultry component aiming to address food security and build capacity of rural youth in these countries to obtain decent employment in the agriculture sector and improve their entrepreneurial skills.
The launch was held in Embu County, Kenya, in presence of the FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Africa, Mr. Bukar Tijani, and the Kenyan Permanent Secretary of Fisheries in the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, Professor Micheni J. Ntiba; the Embu County Governor, Mr. Martin Wambora, high-level Government officials from the four countries, and FAO Representatives for the Eastern Africa Sub-regional Office, Djibouti, Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda.