Since its inception in 2017, The Kenarava Agribusiness Dinner has established itself as a reliable and dependable platform for conversations and action on youth and women in Agriculture. It has provided a space for different strategic players (Governments, development partners, private sector, youth and women) in the Agri-Food Sector to Connect, Network and explore Collaboration for scale and impact.
Through the support of Food and Agriculture Organization of The United Nations (UN FAO), Yara Kenya, USAID Kenya Crops Dairy and Market Systems RTI and Agricultural Finance Corporation, The #KenaravaAgriDinner2019 was convened by The Kenarava Group Ltd and iAgribiz Africa at Villa Rosa Kempinski, Nairobi on 21st November 2019 examining the theme “Harnessing Alternative Financial Models for Food and Agriculture Transformation” The knowledge partners to the event were Ibua Africa and Wendy Farms.
The Dinner took an interactive approach that featured a keynote speech, Key intervention, year in review, showcasing and an exhibit of youth agri-champions, panel discussions, a call to action and networking sessions. The event was attended by 150 participants from various counties and organizations and dignitaries including Prof. Hamadi Boga, (PS State Department of Crops and Rssearch), H.E Joseph Oded, (Israeli Ambassador to Kenya), Mr. Eyal David (Deputy ambassador of Israel to Kenya), Mr David Mwangi, (Project Manager European Union Delegation to Kenya), Dr.Tomas Takavarasha, (FAO Kenya Country Rep), Mr. Hamisi Williams, (Assistant FAO Kenya Representative), Mr. William Ngeno, (YARA Kenya Country Manager )and Alvin Munyasia, (OXFAM Pan Africa Programme)
The Kenarava Agribusiness Dinner 2019 was held at The Villa Rosa Kempinski Hotel, Nairobi on 21st November 2019. The Annual dinner is now established as a platform for stakeholders, youth and women in Agriculture to connect, Network and explore opportunities for collaboration to impact the Regional Food System. The Dinner was co-hosted by The Kenarava Group and iAgribiz Africa through the support of the Food and Agriculture organization of the United Nations, YARA Kenya, USAID – KCDMS Project of RTI, Agricultural Finance Corporation and the Embassy of Israel In Nairobi. The Technical and Knowledge partners were Ibua Africa and Wendy Farms.
2. The Dinner was attended by about 150 participants from various organizations and regions in the country. There were also various Dignitaries including, Prof Hamadi Boga (Permanent Secretary State Department for Crop Development and Agricultural research), H.E Amb Joseph Oded (Israel Ambassador to Kenya), Mr. David Eyal (Deputy Israeli Ambassador to Kenya) Dr. Tomas Takavarasha ( FAO Kenya Representative), Mr. Hamisi Williams ( Assistant FAO Kenya Rep), Mr. William Ngeno (YARA Kenya Country Manager), Mr. Njeru Mwangi (Program Manager European Delegation to Kenya), Mr. Alvin Munyasia (OXFAM International Pan Africa Program) and Benard Barasa (Programs Manager KCB Foundation). Also in Attendance were young Agricultural entrepreneurs from across the country and key organizations working with youth in Agriculture.
3. The theme for this years’ event was “Harnessing Alternative Financial Models For Food and Agriculture Transformation”. Throughout the various sessions there discussions identified various alternative ways to finance agriculture sustainably. The discussions emphasised the need for integrated financing models by the various financial providers to increase uptake and utilizations of the different financial products and services. Digital platforms were identifies as one of the key emerging opportunties that could be leveraged on to increase access to finance by farmers.
4. The forum examined and identified various financial models like Crowdfunding platforms, Contract farming, Farmers Cooperatives and Agricultural insurance as some of the Models that could impact the Agri Food Sector.
5. Various young agricultural entrepreneurs who shared their journey in Agriculture demosntrating their commitment to solving the challenges of Food Insecurity and Unemployment. Some of the included Eric Onchonga (Irrihub Ltd), Joanne Kinyanjui (Yatta Bee Keepers, Ezra Muinde (Anzia Sokoni) and Zipporah Wahome (Tarime Fresh) among others.
5.1. The Highlight of the Youth Agrichampions focused on Robin Njau the Founder of KIsumeo Organics who produce Traditional African Vegetables and rabbit meat for the local market.
Advancing the Youth In Agriculture Agenda
6. The various Guest Speakers shared critical situational analysis of the status of youth engagement in agriculture and further committed to supporting and Advacing the Youth in Agriculture Agenda.
6.1. The PS underscored the fact that the average age of a farmer in Kenya is 59 while that of the consumer is 17. He stated that as a MInistry they are committed to the Youth in agriculture Agenda through the Enable Youth Program and Agricultural Sector Transformation and Growth Strategy.
6.2. H.E Amb Joseph Oded pointed out that one very important necessary condition for any success story is that the young starsare involved in development and agriculture projects. He further emphasized the commitment of the Embassy in Supporting youth in Agriculture through their AgriNow 2020 project launching in March 2020.
6.3. The FAO Representative stated their commitment to supporting youth in Agriculture through the leadership of the Ministry and underscored the fact that no entity can achieve results on its own emphasizing the need for PARTNERSHIPS.
6.4. Mr. Hamisi Williams observed that it has reached a time for that we have to be practical on how we want to solve matters agriculture and food security and emphasized the fundamental role of science in tackling these challenges
7. The event closed with a call to Action Presentation by Kenneth Chepkwony of Kenarava Group highlighting the opportunities for collaboration to scale and increased impact on matters Youth in Agriculture. He stated the initiatives that the Kenrava Group and iAgribiz Africa will Jointly work on in 2020 as follows:
7.1. Support & Strengthen at least 5 Agri – Hubs in different counties that will act as local resource centre for Knowledge, inputs, market leads, technology and information demonstration. This will be managed by Village champions who are the owners of the land and are practicing farming on full time basis.
7.2. Farmer Training Series will take a County approach. Leveraging on the working relationship with the different farmers in different regions, Kenarava & iAgribiz Africa will conduct farmer field days (On Farm & Off Farm) in different counties to demonstrate different best farming practices and technologies.
7.3. Understanding the value of tested peer to peer learning, the Agribusiness Mentorship Program will scale up to different Institutions/schools across the country featuring Lectures, opportunities for capacity building and exposure.
7.4. Mobilze for increased investment in Agriculture by different financial providers and stakeholders through their products, services and programs. Further work to de-risk agriculture players across the value chain in order to reduce the risk of lending to them.