Friday, 13 November 2020 12:46

Developing Youth Agribusiness Opportunities for attaining the SDG targets: Experience from Egerton University

Written by Prof. P. M. Mshenga
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Prof. P. M. Mshenga

Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness Management,

Egerton University. Tel: 0722361991

Corresponding Author: pmshenga@egerton.ac.ke

Africa has great potential to realize food security, poverty reduction as well as reduce youth unemployment through the agricultural sector. Consequently, many African governments have emphasized the importance of agricultural productivity and competitiveness in achieving the SDG “to create conditions for sustainable, inclusive and sustained economic growth, shared prosperity and decent work for all, taking into account different levels of national development and capacities.” However, this potential is marred by several challenges such as low value addition, limited access to high value markets as well as mismatch between the skill requirements of the agri-food sector employers and graduates, with universities often accused of producing graduates without the requisite skills for innovation, entrepreneurship and community transformation. Most graduates have a mindset of white collar employment as opposed to self-employment and working with smallholder farmers for rural development. Changing this calls for new approaches in delivering agricultural science curricula to inculcate entrepreneurship, innovativeness and community engagement competencies amongst the students for agribusiness development. Developing youth agribusinesses is in line with African leaders’ vision of ‘a socially inclusive and sustainably development of Africa’ as given in Agenda 2063 of the African Union, the Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy for Africa (STISA) 2024 as well as the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP), Africa’s Agenda 2030 and the African Development Banks’ Feed Africa strategy.  Moreover, the African Development Bank has initiated the ENABLE Youth programme. These programmes support young African graduates to become entrepreneurs in agriculture.  They focus on providing support, skills, knowledge and access to funds that enable the creation of viable agribusinesses for economic growth and employment. This paper aims at sharing insights on how African Universities can provide opportunities to students to develop agribusinesses and realize Africa’s Agenda 2063 as well as the sustainable Development Goals.

Key Words: Sustainable Development Goals, Agri-food sector, agripreneurship

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