Meru Greens Horticulture (MG) is an agro-processor helping smallholder farmers produce and market fruits and vegetables, both in domestic and export markets. Together with Edukans, MG will be implementing the Turn Up the Green Jobs model to create over 700 decent and green jobs for Kenyan youth.
Young Kenyans’skill-sets and aspirations are often disconnected from the realities of the market. This mismatch is noticeable between the youths’ skills and the needs of Meru Greens’ production processes. It is challenging to find youth with technical education to fill high-quality technical positions. MG’s current training system and capacity-building are costly and do not address life skills vital to employees’ well-being and productivity. On top of this, the recent global economic recession due to the Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in a sharp reduction of workers at MG. The increased demand for processed green beans and fruits is much bigger than Meru Greens’ capacity can deliver. Therefore, they need a sufficient amount of productive employees to support the sustainable economic growth of the company.
Finally, transporting green waste from Nairobi to farms in rural locations for composting is deemed inefficient, climate-unfriendly, and expensive. Tackling these challenges effectively can lead to higher revenue that could be invested in creating more decent jobs. Turn Up the Green Jobs strives to make sustainable agro-processing accessible to more farmers while creating decent employment for young Kenyans.
MG will decentralize the pre-processing from the urban (Nairobi) area to three rural locations and equip the new facilities and staff with the appropriate resources and knowledge. This will create at least 500 decent jobs for youth, especially young women, and improve 200 already existing jobs. To achieve this goal, the consortium will engage in the following activities: setting up pre-processing locations, recruiting and training human resources, improving decent work conditions, greening the green beans value chain, reducing post-harvest losses, limiting transportation, providing training to increase inclusion and participation of women and youth, monitoring the implementation of improved decent work policies, and ensuring the sustainability of activities after the project end.
Edukans, with their cost-effective quality skills training methodologies, will support Meru Greens to upscale the training program to close the gap between the youths’ and the market-required skills. The training will strongly focus on involving diverse and vulnerable youth and empowering them with the required technical and life skills.
CFYE’s contribution allows MG to speed up the creation of hubs in rural areas. Moreover, MG will organize new transport systems, and implement the required international quality standards and social certification procedures due to CFYE’s funding and technical assistance. With the funding, MG and Edukans can also jointly bridge the skills gap. As a result, the consortium will achieve the desired scalability and create the necessary number of jobs.
In addition, the fund’s contribution will inspire a long-term social impact with increased livelihoods for existing staff and thousands of smallholder farmers in the MG network and value chains.