Kenya’s government is planning on tapping the country’s young adult population to help revive the country’s troubled cotton industry.
The East African Nation’s President, Uhuru Kenyatta has directed the National Youth Service (NYS) – a government sanctioned body – to engage more in commercial activities and to especially play a lead role in reviving the country’s cotton sector.
The National Youth Service is a government department whose purpose is to create a pool of technical, disciplined and organized human resource to undertake national development programmes.
The NYS is also tasked with alleviating youth unemployment in both formal and informal sectors by providing skills necessary for employment while promoting national cohesion.
Kenyatta issued the directive to revive Kenya’s cotton industry as he underscored the role of the youth in achievement of a government-backed initiative dubbed the Big Four Agenda for transforming the country through the expansion of manufacturing, affordable housing, food security and universal healthcare.
His sentiments come at a time when cotton production in Kenya currently stands at 4,000 metric tonnes despite a demand of about 10,000 metric tons. An estimated 50% of Kenya’s requirement is therefore imported.
President Kenyatta spoke when he presided over a passing out parade of 15,461 NYS recruits at the National Youth Service College in Kenya’s Gilgil area. He noted that the Government was taking bold steps to utilise the youth in spearheading the country’s economic revival.
The Head of State asked the NYS to expedite its commercialization agenda, especially in the areas of agribusiness, garment making and construction.
As part of the plan to revive the cotton sector, the NYS will be allocated 100,000 acres of land at a facility known as the Galana Kulalu Complex. The organisation will also be gifted with access to Kenya’s National Irrigation farm in the country’s Tana Delta.
“The key to achieving our national goals and the aspirations of our people…lies in working together in deliberate and strategic partnerships,” said the President.