Assessing the relationship between resource access and youth involvement in agricultural value chains in Kakamega County, Kenya
Rogito, Jeremiah Magoma
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According to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics 2020 economic survey, 75 % of the total population in Kenya is youthful 36% of this are between 15-34 years and 38.1% of them are unemployed. Agribusiness has a huge potential in offering employment to the youth considering its wider labor absorptive capacity. Despite this, youth involvement in agribusiness is low due to existing inequalities in the value chain. In Kakamega County, there is a large percentage of unemployed young people, leading to migration from rural to urban centres by the youth. This study sought to identify the relationship between access to resources and youth involvement in agribusiness value chains. The study objectives included; identifying youth’s access to land use, information services and financial services in the value chain in Kakamega County. The study was guided by the Weberian theory of social stratification which implies that to impart meaningful change in society one requires access to wealth, prestige and power. The research adopted a quantitative research design. For this study, the target population was 2453 members of registered youth farmer groups in Kakamega County. The sample size was 240 respondents. Stratified and simple random sampling was adopted to select the respondents from each of the 12 sub-counties in the County. Data collection involved using a questionnaire. Data was analyzed quantitatively using Eviews7 computer software to generate frequencies, means, percentages and correlation which has been presented, discussed, and interpreted in line with the study objectives. It was established that there is a strong correlation between access to resources in this case land, finance, and information and youth involvement in agricultural value chains. Lack of or inadequate access to these resources is a key constrain to agricultural productivity in Kakamega County. Access to the various resources affect the various segments of the agricultural value chain uniquely. Lack of access to land affects production mainly. Lack of or limited access to finance greatly affects the value chain including consumption. Limited access to information services affects all aspects of the value chain. However, it was found out that in Kakamega County, limited access to these resources does not affect the consumption of agricultural products as this is the last part of the agricultural value chain. Hence, youth are predominantly consumers of products that they did not actively get involved in producing, processing packaging and marketing. Policymakers will make use of findings in the study to formulate policies that will enhance youth equity and consequently youth involvement in the Value Chain. Scholars will find this study useful to broaden their knowledge base. Donors will find the study use as it will direct their minds to what segments of the value chain to focus on youth intervention strategies. The study is significant because agriculture is the backbone of Kenyan economy, and a source of livelihood to residents of Kakamega County.