A journey to Self-employment for a Young Graduate

Today, Kenya’s youth unemployment rate stands at 65 percent, among the highest in the world. Three in five unemployed Kenyans are 15 – 35 years old. The situation is exacerbated by a shrinking economy, political instability, and pervasive income inequality. 

Fortunately, FIPS-Africa in collaboration with Mission Grow Project is helping bridge this gap by working with 25,744 youths and 99 youth groups in western, eastern and coast regions of Kenya, supporting them in agricultural enterprises mainly fodder, vegetables and poultry. 

Meet Melque Ligulu, a youth engaging in fodder business. He’s from Kakamega County in western Kenya. Melque started growing fodder in 2018 when he was still in college. 

My mum is a VBA (Village Based Advisor) and in 2018, she asked me to look for five other youths to be trained in fodder production. FIPS leased one acre of land for each of us, trained us on how to establish fodder, how to harvest, and post-harvest practices,” he says smilingly. 

2018 was a bit dry in our area and my first harvest in May 2019 gave me 57 bales which I sold at 300 each making KES 17,100 (USD 131),” Milque states. 

Melque reinvested the money by starting a mini filling station business at his local market. In his second harvest in 2019, he got 97 bales and sold 60 bales at 300 making KES 18,000 (USD 138) and 37 bales at 250 making KES 9,250 (USD 71). At this point he had cleared school and therefore used the money to boost his gas selling business. 

In 2020, he used profits from his filling station and fodder production businesses to buy an oil dispenser which cost KES 420,000 (USD 3,228). He paid half the amount in cash and the rest in installments. 

“In January this year (2023) I dug a fishpond which cost me KES 25,000 (USD 192)a nd now am drilling a borehole to get enough water for the pond,” Melque says smilingly. 

This year, he has bought a pick-up truck to help in ferrying oil, gas cylinders and fodder. His friend sold it to him for KES 350,000 (USD 2690). He paid KES 200,000 (USD 1537) in cash and settled the debt with a supply of 500 bales of brachiaria. His fodder and mini filling station businesses have also enabled Milque to buy a cross breed dairy cow, two motorbikes and a 2500-litres water tank for KES 18,500 (USD 142). 

Melque confirms that FIPS helped change his negative attitude towards farming and he’s now enjoying the fruits. 

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