Although Africa is home to World’s largest tracks of Arable land, food security and erratic climatic changes continue to top Africa’s greatest challenges. Addressing food security concerns calls for sustainable and productive interventions among them being youth involvement in the agribusiness sector.
In a bid to harness the potential of the Youth in driving Africa’s agricultural transformation journey, Strathmore Business School in partnership with AGCO Corporation, a global leader in the design, manufacture and distribution of agricultural equipment launched the first junior management trainee programme; AGCO Agribusiness Qualification Programme (AAQ) on 6th March 2018.
“This is quite an exciting time for Kenya and Africa at large. Through this partnership, we share in the hopes and aspirations of building a productive Africa that will sustainably feed itself and the world,” remarked Dr. George Njenga, Dean of Strathmore Business School.
“It is our hope that through this inaugural programme, which focuses on the Youth, we shall first ensure that the average age of a farmer reduces from 59 to below 35 years of age. We are also confident that a youthful generation, as appreciated through this programme, shall create avenues which will generate research and provide innovative and technological solutions, enhancing mechanization and hence operationalise farm practices in Africa,” said Dr. Njenga.
Revolutionising the sector especially in Africa, will require a great mind set shift which encourages the Youth to pursue Agribusiness as a commercial endeavor, a flourishing a career and one with an impact. “This is a great opportunity not only for organisations such as AGCO but also for Young entrepreneurs who are passionate about Agriculture to understand how to improve the productivity of African farms. I greatly believe that the biggest transformations, will be in physical infrastructure as well as the infrastructure of the mind and talents of the youth, which is very evident in the programme,” said Gary L. Collar, Senior Vice President and General Manager Asia Pacific and Africa.
Permanent Secretary, State Department of Training and Development, Zeinab Hussein graced the launch and encouraged the skills based approach of the programme in bridging the gap between the unemployed youth graduates and the job/entrepreneurial world. “ I am highly encouraged by new initiatives set in place to ensure that the deliverables of a productive agricultural sector are achieved. As clearly indicated in the Government’s Big 4 Strategies, the food security and the manufacturing pillar shall be heavily dependent of Agricultural productivity. This means that there shall be more opportunities for the youth who would wish to pursue agribusiness to do so,” remarked Zeinab Hussein.
The selected 20 participants for the AGCO Agribusiness Qualification Programme have their work cut out: to innovate, provide solutions, mentor, impact and transform Africa’s Agricultural sector.
AAQ is a 2year program that is running in Kenya and South Africa. All the 20 youth will upon successful completion of the programme take on junior management roles within AGCO in the various countries in Africa. Key partners in the programme include The Bridge Africa and Harper Adams university in the UK.