Four University of Nairobi students namely: Peter Nguka, Cyrus Muturi, Moses Muchiri and Grace Kamau beat teams from Strathmore University and Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) to represent Kenya in the Africa Research University Alliance (ARUA) Centre of Excellence for Unemployment and Skills Development competition known as Youth Business and Innovation challenge (YOBIC).
YOBIC is an annual competition that engages the innovative capacity of the African youth to tackle youth unemployment while solving some of Africa’s problems. The youth get an opportunity to pitch their designed innovation in a bid to secure seeding funding that will support the actualization of their innovations. The main areas of focus include Agriculture, Health, Circular Economy, Infrastructure and Financial Inclusion.
This year’s competition was held on the 25- 27th of August at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. Four African countries participated: Ghana, South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya. The Nigeria team emerged victorious while team Kenya was first runners up managing to secure GBP 1500 seed capital.
Team Kenya’s innovation aims to address the issue of youth unemployment by modernizing the Agri-food value chain. The innovation will reduce post-harvest losses for vegetable and fruit farmers to 1-2% by utilizing an automatic solar-powered refrigeration system before, during and after harvesting.
The initial phase of this project will be rolled out in Loitoktok, Kajiado County on 100 five acre French bean farms. A rough estimate of 80,000 jobs will created with gross margins of Ksh.16, 530 per acre expected to be made.
This project will go a long way in enabling the Big Four Agenda by creating jobs not only in Loitotoktok but all over Kenya once it’s replicated in different counties. Food security especially in arid and semi-arid areas will also be enhanced.