IITA - International Institute of Tropical Agriculture

10/12/2021 | News release | Distributed by Public on 10/12/2021 10:35

ENABLE-TAAT Kenya beneficiaries hail life-transforming experience

After a training and mentorship period of 15 months, ENABLE-TAAT beneficiaries Jonathan Mutinda and Ian Mambo created their own enterprise in Kenya.

At the beginning of their venture, they leased one-eighth of an acre at Dukuma Dam, Makueni County, where they began planting and selling orange-fleshed sweet potato (OFSP) and other vegetables. Within a year, their customer base had increased so much that they needed to expand their business. The team acquired two acres of land for production to meet the demand.

Mutinda and Mambo have attributed their success to their encounter with ENABLE-TAAT in Kibwezi. "If it were not for the experience we had with the ENABLE-TAAT in Kibwezi, we could not have started our journey of agripreneurship and doing agriculture as a business," they said.

"We learned practical skills like land preparation, making a plan for our businesses, proper record keeping, good agricultural practices, and integrated pest control mechanisms. We also learned a lot about group dynamics and how to deal with various customers," they continued.

According to Elizabeth Muema, ENABLE-TAAT Liaison Officer in Kenya, "The two youth have displayed great performance in their areas of operation, and we all meet monthly to share experiences and updates. We have an incubation center at the University of Nairobi, consisting of 12 graduates split into groups from various disciplines and specializations. Ian and Jonathan can help the group with valuable ideas from their own enterprise," she said.

Shortly after, they were inspired to train two other graduate youth. Since then, the team has focused on transforming other youth groups with their expertise and knowledge.

Currently, they are networking with three more groups who are practicing agripreneurship despite the few challenges they meet as startups. Many of their trainees have shown massive improvement after getting business advice and mentorship from Mutinda and Mambo.

Although they are both graduates of agricultural studies from the University of Nairobi, ENABLE-TAAT introduced them to agribusiness and profit-making. The compact connects youth to the agricultural transformation process necessary to secure economic prosperity through youth-led agribusinesses.