The Kibwezi Hortipreneur Youth Group (KHYG) is thriving in eastern Kenya, aligning with the Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT) youth empowerment strategy. Thanks to the ENABLE TAAT Food Basket Outreach, our farm now grows orange-fleshed sweet potatoes, high-iron beans, vitamin A cassava, and drought-tolerant maize. We’ve also introduced small-scale mechanization tools—hand tractors, paddle weeders, power sprayers, and land augers—reducing labor and enabling us to expand our farm operations by an additional hectare.

This mechanization and crop diversification have attracted many young people eager to train with us, resulting in a surge of applications. Although our current revenues limit the number of new members we can support, we are excited to welcome four highly committed individuals. These new members will help fill the gap left by current members branching out to start their own agribusinesses. We are immensely grateful to ENABLE TAAT for propelling us in new directions. Our enhanced profile has opened doors to collaborations with other youth groups, new markets, agrodealers, and cooperative societies, establishing KHYG as a significant force in Makueni County and fostering relationships with various Kenyan government agencies.

About KHYG

Founded in 2015, KHYG is a self-help group of enthusiastic Kenyan youth. As a local chapter within the IITA Youth Agripreneur Program, our mission is to empower youth through agribusiness opportunities, ensuring a gender-balanced and self-sufficient approach. Located in the semi-arid region of eastern Kenya at the University of Nairobi Dryland Research Station, we benefit from the university’s facilities and mentorship while operating independently with irrigation access from the Kibwezi River. Registered as a self-help group, we maintain an audited account with Kenya Commercial Bank and adhere to a constitution for governance. All members are university graduates pursuing careers in agribusiness, managing enterprises in greenhouse and field crop production, fish farming, nutritious snack manufacturing, and a marketing depot in nearby Kibwezi town.

Innovations and Achievements

KHYG has pioneered several agricultural innovations. We were the first Agripreneur group to construct greenhouses and implement drip irrigation. By intercropping sweet potatoes and beans, we optimized our drip emitter spacing, a method now being expanded to another hectare. Our innovative tent-style greenhouse houses six new virus- and drought-tolerant varieties of orange-fleshed sweet potatoes, producing vines for cuttings and animal feed. We’ve integrated fish pond effluents into crop production and started vermiculture to supply worms for fish feed and compost. Recognizing the value of green vegetable production for daily cash flow, we continue to offer traditional vegetables to local markets and consumers.

Future Directions and Partnerships

KHYG is dedicated to strengthening ties with the Kenyan government to benefit from various programs. We are partnering with the Kenya Agricultural Sector Development Support Program and will provide updates as this partnership evolves. Although the suspension of the youth-led Fall Army Worm Rapid Response program impacted us, we remain resilient. We are committed to developing new strategies for youth empowerment advocacy, registering Kenyan youth as TAAT beneficiaries, and supporting our members in becoming independent agribusiness operators.

Our journey has been one of growth and innovation, and we look forward to continuing to drive agricultural transformation in Kenya. With the support of programs like ENABLE TAAT, KHYG is poised to become a commercial Agribusiness Park, inspiring the next generation of agripreneurs.

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