State calls for deeper investment in agriculture as labour market becomes oversaturated

State calls for deeper investment in agriculture as labour market becomes oversaturated

Kenya’s government has called for deeper investment in agriculture as the country’s labour market continues to become oversaturated.

Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture, Fisheries And Livestock Willy Bett has called on stakeholders to create a system of accessible information that will help Kenya’s youth develop the skills they need to branch into the lucrative industry.

“The Kenyan Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries (MoALF) mission is to improve livelihoods of Kenyans by ensuring food and nutrition security through creation of an enabling environment and ensuring sustainable natural resources,” the CS said.

Bett was speaking during the Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition and 4th AGRITEC Africa International Exhibition, which comes to a close today. The international event, held in Nairobi, was attended by ministers, high level delegates, members of the diplomatic corps, civil societies and academia.

“The fulfilment of this mission requires data for information and action is simply indispensable if we are to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and lift our populations from poverty. Creating a culture of usage of data for evidence-based decisions and empowering the people, especially on matters of food and nutrition, is no longer an issue of political-will but a rational developmental choice,” Bett added.

“This is especially important as our region has been experiencing severe drought and food shortages, leading to displacements, malnutrition and even deaths,” he continued.

Bett stated that agriculture accounts for over 70 per cent of employment and livelihood in the global south that support multiple sectors critical to economic growth and poverty reduction.

He noted that a special feature of African agriculture in comparison to the rest of the world is that the sector has continued to absorb a large proportion of the working population, and “will have to continue doing so, since a very large number of young people will be entering the labour market.”

It is estimated that by the year 2025, about 330 million young Africans will have entered the labour market.

“Our ability to ensure that this population is meaningfully engaged in agricultural value chains will depend on how we harness data for decision making and forecasting,” the CS told delegates at the forum yesterday.

He argued that agriculture holds the key to unlocking the benefits of the current economic growth in the global south to benefit youth. He said that more specifically, Agribusiness and agri-preneurship is already taking root, where innovative youth, on their own, are beginning to create new jobs and opportunities for employment. These initiative have been largely self-driven and require Government and Private Sector support if they are to scale up to meet the current challenges.

“It is therefore my hope that our deliberations will address these challenges faced by young people, especially those that are related to financial support and uptake of innovations,” said Bett.





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