A little hard work never kills, so goes the saying that is the driving mantra for Smart Dedicated Youth Group, which is based in Nakuru.
The group, as the name suggests, is not only dedicated to what they do but also works smart as they grow and sell maize.
Maize is Kenya’s staple, which means it has a huge and insatiable market, with Kenyans consuming some 40 million 90kg bags of the cereal every year, according to the Ministry of Agriculture. One only needs to identify their niche and make business out of it.
This is what members of the Smart Dedicated group have done, growing the crop on several acres, harvesting and selling.
“We ventured into cereals after identifying a gap in the business and noting there was huge demand," Anne Nyokabi, the secretary, tells Mkulima Young.
Nyokabi recounts that it has been a lengthy journey for the youth group that was started in 2010 to generate income but soon after became inactive.
“We became active again in 2017 after we found mentors who showed us how to engage in various activities. We started maize planting and cereal production as we sought to have some profitable source of income and create jobs for others,” she says, noting the business was important for them since many did not have jobs.
The group thus plants maize and also buys from other farmers, especially during harvest, stores and sells when prices goes up.
They sell their produce to institutions like secondary schools where they get tenders to supply at a good price. They also market their produce online via Mkulima Young, what they started lately as they broadened their channels of sale.
George Maina, a member and the ICT manager of the group, says before starting to actively participate in the business, he used to be idle most of the time.
“But since I was engaged in the group, I have been busy all the time. When I am not on the farm, I am working on the computer trying to learn new skills and selling our produce online,” he says.
The youths have attended several trainings courtesy of Vijabiz project, which have not only helped to broaden their minds, but also equipped them with business skills.
“I now have skills that I can use to successfully run any business,” he says.
Morgan Siguda, a project officer with Vijabiz, says they are training the group so that they can move from selling raw maize to value addition.
“I know this is a new area but the group is dedicated and they have indicated that they have tenders from schools. This will enable them transform the raw products they are supplying into finished form before sale, what will increase their profit margins,” he says.
Mechack Ochola, a member of the group, advises the youth to be patient and remain focused to avoid ups and down that come when one is working hard to achieve certain goals.