CABI-trained youths were among 18,000 agripreneurs commissioned by H.E William Ruto, President of Kenya, to help the country’s 7.5 million smallholder farmers increase their livelihoods and the nation’s ability to sufficiently feed itself.

The agripreneurs, representing all 47 counties in Kenya, were commissioned by President Ruto at the 61st Madaraka Day celebrations in Bungoma County which had the theme of agriculture and food security.

Three youths, including 25-year-old Vincent Wambua, from Makueni County, are agricultural service providers who support farmers with information needed to enable them to move away from subsistence to commercial agriculture.

CABI empowers youths

Under the CABI-led PlantwisePlus programme, CABI empowered the youths, who also come from Nakuru and Makueni Counties with skills to establish agribusinesses so they can generate meaningful incomes through service provision.

The programme aims to reach 75 million smallholder farmers around the world with the knowledge and skills they need to improve their production practices.

This includes providing information on crop pest diagnosis, spray service provision of low chemical pesticides as part of Integrated pest management (IPM), as well as pruning and orchard management advice to mango farmers in Makueni County.

Vincent, and the other agripreneurs, represent hundreds of thousands of young Kenyans who lack meaningful employment. According to the Federation of Kenyan Employers, youth, who form 35% of the Kenyan population, have the highest unemployment rate of 67%.

Not only that but over one million young people enter the labour market annually without any skills some having either dropped out of school or completed school and not enrolled in any college.

Agricultural service providers

CABI’s training of youth in agricultural service provision addresses the NEET (Not in Education, Employment or any form of Training) problem faced by Vincent and many other young Kenyans by equipping them with the skills and knowledge to become agricultural service providers.

This can include roles such as Spray Service Providers (SSPs), IPM, agro-input shop operators, or consultants offering agronomy advice. These positions provide income and a path for young people to build careers in agriculture.

Deogratius Magero, Youth Engagement Manager at CABI, based at its regional centre for Africa, in Nairobi, Kenya, said, “The focus on gender inclusion ensures young women too have access to these new opportunities and can meaningfully participate in the agricultural sector.

“By creating new job opportunities within agriculture, the program lessens the pressure on the already saturated formal job market.

“This allows young people like Vincent to find dignified work, contribute to the agricultural economy, and build a brighter future for themselves without solely relying on a limited number of formal job openings.”

Training through three models

CABI’s training of the youth is achieved through three models – the Farmer Service Centre (FSC) model, the Affiliated Model, and the Mentorship model.

In the Affiliated model, for example, CABI trains and links young people – who are associated with farmer cooperatives – to provide services to members of the cooperative/business.

In turn, the cooperative/businesses pay the young service providers based on the services offered. Starlight Farmers’ Co-operative Society in Nakuru County and KEITT Exporters Limited in Makueni County are good examples where this model is being rolled out.

Earning to a new level

Vincent said, “Before joining CABI I was sending various applications to various organisations and institutions actively searching for work with fail. With no prior experience and the skills needed out here, I could also not sell my services professionally.’’

“I, therefore, resorted to various menial jobs such as picking mangoes for a buyer company. But I could only make up to 6,000 KES in a month. And this was only during the harvesting season.’’

“Thanks to CABI’s training, I have now gained more knowledge, skills, and expertise in agriculture. Also, I have gained more trust from farmers due to the quality and effectiveness of the services I provide them and have increased my monthly earning to a new level of 10,000 – 15,000 KES.”

Vincent said his advice to young people is to never give up on your agricultural dreams as the industry has many opportunities to explore that can be profitable.


Deogratius Magero, CABI’s Youth Engagement Manager (centre), with some of the agricultural youth service providers after they received training on Spray Service Provision.

The commissioning of the 18,000 agripreneurs is part of an initiative called Kilimo Nyumbani which is being delivered under Government of Kenya’s plans for agricultural reform in the Bottom-up Economic Transformation Agenda (BETA).


Additional information

Main image: CABI-trained Vincent Wambua is among the youth agripreneurs commissioned by Kenyan President William Ruto as part of the country’s Madaraka Day celebrations.

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Kenya News Media Report

She also the report from Kenya News Media on YouTube ‘President William Ruto says Kenya have 18,000 Agripreneurs countrywide.’