The Youth Agri Challenge was organized by Citi Bank in partnership with Miti Alliance and Junior Achievement Kenya. High school and University students were put to task to invent an agricultural innovation that was aimed at solving a problem in the agricultural field. The goal was to encourage the youth to be solution-oriented.
An event was held on 3Oth June 2021 at Upperhill Secondary to mark the official launch of the Youth Agri Challenge. It involved the participation of the school’s JA club members, teachers, the teams from Miti Alliance, Citi Bank and JA Kenya. A panel discussion was held on inventing and utilizing smart systems of food growing followed by a speech and official launch by Citi Bank CEO Martin Mugambi. He put emphasis on the role of youth in agriculture to improve the current food growing systems with the increasing population. Afterwards a tree planting session was done and the attendees planted 20 indigenous trees.
For the competition, the participants were asked to submit an innovation that can disrupt Agri-business. The ideas were evaluated by JA who in turn chose the 7 best ideas for the final round of the competitions for presentation. A panel of four judges was responsible for evaluating the best ideas shortlisted then select the best three ideas out of seven in both High school and University groups
HIGH SCHOOL WINNER – LIMURU GIRLS HIGH SCHOOL
The students presented an Aquarium with hydroponics and aquaculture integrated into one system. Their aim was to address hunger due to the onset of global warming, erosion, drought, and hunger. The system combines fish farming and vegetable growing together such that the waste from the fish is nutrients for the plants.
UNIVERSITY/OUT OF SCHOOL WINNER – URBAN SMART GARDENS
Urban Smart Gardeners is a gardening company that was started in late 2020 by Pramila Mwibanda. It mainly deals
with setting up kitchen gardens to address the issue of rising food insecurity. The aim is to solve urban setting challenges
such as insufficient water, limited spaces, limited knowledge of how to produce crops and inaccessibility of production inputs for the gardening systems.
OUT OF SCHOOL 1ST RUNNERS UP – JOKA BIOSUPS
Joka farm Resource and services started in 2014 as a sugarcane juice processor within the Nyeri region.
Through the sugarcane production process, the founder Mr. John Mwangi Kanyi realized there was a lot of waste from crushing the sugarcane. The bagasse later became a challenge and that’s when the idea to recycle the bagasse to produce the organic fertilizer and animal feeds. The farm is now a family project and Cavendish Kanyi who was the challenge winner is the manager.
OUT OF SCHOOL 2ND RUNNERS UP – HYDROPONIC FODDER FARMING
Brian Mayuba started hydroponic fodder farming in June 2021 after realizing the high cost of fodder in his
poultry farming. Since then the fodder has greatly increased his poultry production with nutrients and has supplemented commercial feeds. Initially, the project just started to support his poultry farming but now the project has grown and created other opportunities. It has become a source of income through the sale of fodder to local farmers.
All the winners got a monetary award. These cash awards were key in supporting and actualizing the ideas. The University (out of school) winners had presented ideas with which they had already established businesses hence the awards were very handy in boosting their businesses. The high school institutions were able to get funds to start implementing the projects. This is very motivating to the high schoolers to see their innovations being taken seriously
OVERALL, The competition and awards played a key role in challenging the young participants to be creative while encouraging the rest of the student community to be part of agricultural activities & innovations
We are grateful to Citi Bank, JA Kenya for a fruitful partnership!