Makueni County Governor Prof Kivutha Kibwana flanked by KCB Foundation and GIZ officials flags off buses carrying 150 Makueni youth who have been sponsored by KCB Foundation and GIZ for a three-month training on hydroponics farming technology at the Miramar International College, Kikuyu. PHOTO / Oxygene PR

Youth from Makueni County have embarked on training in hydroponics farming technology under a partnership between the German Development Cooperation implemented by GIZ, KCB Foundation and the County Government.

The training would support youth to engage in food and nutrition security projects as part of the government’s Big Four Agenda. The partnership was launched at the commencement of the 2018 United Nations International Youth Week on 6th August 2018 by the Deputy President William Ruto in Wote, Makueni County.

The 150 youth are being sponsored under the Skills and Enterprise Development Project, an initiative between KCB Foundation’s 2jiajiri programme and GIZ’s E4D/SOGA (Employment and Skills for Eastern Africa) programme that offers scholarships in technical and vocational courses in agribusiness, building and construction for vulnerable youth.

The youth aged 18 to 35 years registered under the Makueni Youth Empowerment Service (M-YES) and will undergo a three-month training on the innovative hydroponics farming technology at the Miramar International College, Kikuyu.

Hydroponics farming is a soil-less farming method and a subset of hydroculture, where plants are grown using only a mineral nutrient solution in a water solvent. The crops mature within two to three months.

The beneficiaries will be equipped with skills to produce leafy vegetables, tomatoes, strawberries and livestock fodder among other food crops.

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KCB Foundation will offer enterprise support to the young entrepreneurs through the extension of business incubation services. They will develop business plans and access discounted financing from KCB to construct greenhouses on land sub-leased from the Government of Makueni County.

“We are not tired of emphasizing, that this partnership is a great example of how development partners, the private sector and County Governments can work successfully together to combat youth unemployment,” Youth Employment and TVET Programme E4D/SOGA, Aregash Asfaw GIZ Technical Advisor Dr Henrik Schmidtke said during the flag off event at the Makueni County headquarters today.

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KCB Foundation Managing Director Jane Mwangi said technical and vocational courses would help address unemployment challenges in Kenya. “We recognise the importance of youth involvement in enterprise development through agriculture, given its crucial place in the Kenyan economy,” she said.

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