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Bidco, KCB and FAO Sign Youth, Women Empowerment & Agribusiness Deals Worth Over 50 Billion..

From Left, KCB's Jane Mwangi, Vision 2030's Edward Githaiga, Bidco's Vimal Shah, CS Cecily Kariuki and a member of AWEP posing for a group photo at Bidco.

Bidco Africa Limited and KCB Foundation have entered into a strategic partnership to support thousands of young entrepreneurs to take advantage of agri-business opportunities.

The partnership, which is part of KCB’s sh. 50 billion 2jiajiri programme will every year, provide 1,000 young entrepreneurs with training, technical support and market linkages where Bidco will provide a guaranteed market for their products as KCB does the technical capacity building. The deal will also see 1,500 other young men and women benefit from annual internship opportunities across the country.

The 2jiajiri programme has been informed by the belief that the youth hold the key to building a stronger and better country. Through the programme, the youth and women will be engaged in systems that will propel them into self-reliance and productivity through training, incubating and introducing them into ready market linkages.

“The partnership that we have just signed with Bidco gives us opportunities in our Agri-piece of 2jiajiri programme where we are looking at first building the capacity and field-based competency skills in agriculture, construction, beauty and personal services, automobile and domestic services among the youth and then giving them resources and hand-holding them to take utmost advantage of the skills that they have acquired. Under the Agri-piece, we are encouraging the youth to invest big in agriculture and seek ready market for their produce, which is what Bidco is guaranteeing here today especially for soya beans and sunflower products,” said Jane Mwangi, the KCB Foundation Executive Director.

KCB Foundation will be tasked in the duty to ensure the beneficiaries have produced these two products as per the standards set by Bidco.

In the domestic pillar of the 2jiajiri pillar, KCB will train the young people in catering and housekeeping where they will undergo training at the Utalii College. In return, the youth will use Bidco products in their day-to-day duties, thereby promoting local goods market.

“So far we have spent more than sh. 100 million to train 2,138 students, 1,000 of whom, graduated this July. We are recruiting the next bunch of cohorts in January next year. The next stage will be to give them the working capital, handhold them and incubate their small businesses,” said Mwangi.

KCB has already committed $ 350 million (Ksh. 35 billion) into the agricultural space.

On its part, Bidco will provide a ready market to the soya beans and sunflower farmers in this programme.
Bidco CEO Vimal Shah noted that the company was currently operating at 50% capacity in terms of the seed crushing and therefore called on more opportunities to increase production of both soya beans and sunflowers.

“We are very delighted today for actually ‘seizing the moment’ with our small scale farmers and KCB Foundation. After the agreement signed here today with KCB Foundation, 1,000 young entrepreneurs will be trained as agri-preneurs in their own rights. We have also formed another partnership with the African Women Entrepreneurship Programme (AWEP) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) who have 30, 000 women in their supply chain. We are also going to look into agri-business in the same manner as in the first one involving KCB Foundation. We shall give them all of the contracts and guarantee them upfront, a price for their product and a ready market,” said Vimal.

Bidco plans to partner with other companies to provide these farmers with the right seeds, fertiliser and the right type of agronomic practices.

The company also signed a deal with Vision 2030 Youth Entrepreneurship Programme who will ensure as many youth as possible, ventured into agribusiness.

AWEP will organise 10,000 women to grow sunflower and soya beans while the Vision 2030 Youth Entrepreneurship Associates will have 1,000 farmers benefiting annually. FAO will on its part, facilitate farmers in Laikipia and Tharaka Nithi counties grow these products for Bidco.

Bidco will engage the youth through distributorship contracts and marketing activities that will promote the use of Bidco animal feeds to 6,000 plus dairy farmers involved in KCB Foundation’s Mifugo ni Mali programme.

The CEO said that his company was committed to working with both the national and county governments to ensure that these programmes were a success. He added that they were looking forward to that time the farmers will stop dependence on rain farming and venture into irrigation farming so as to enable them harvest three times in a year.

“Productivity per acre or sq. metre needs to go up. We are ready to buy up to even 100,000 tonnes of produce. Demand is elastic and we are encouraging more production,” said Vimal.

He added that they were open to more such partnership which may even to diversifying their crop range into including other types of farm produce.

Additionally, the company will offer the 1,500 internship opportunities to the beneficiaries annually over the next 5 years. This will expose the interns to the real world of work, an opportunity that will assist them to perfect their skills as potential employees or entrepreneurs.

Present to witness the signing of the MOUs was the Cecily Kanini Kariuki, the Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs Cabinet Secretary.

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