The Sugar Industry Innovation Symposium and Expo 2024 is dedicated to empowering the youth to play a pivotal role in shaping the future of the sugar industry. Our third thematic area, "Empowering Youth Advocacy for Policy Reforms in the Sugar Industry" focuses on mobilizing young people to actively participate in the advocacy and implementation of policy reforms that drive industry growth and sustainability. By empowering youth to become advocates for change, we aim to create a more inclusive and progressive policy environment that supports the sustainable development of the sugar industry.

Problem Statement for Innovators

Kenya remains a net importer of sugar despite having the potential to produce and meet her local consumption and surplus for export. The country continues to rely on imports to bridge the deficit. The sugar value chain has several economic opportunities to contribute to Kenya’s economy and also support the livelihood of over eight million Kenyans in the sugar value chain. However, these opportunities have not been fully exploited due to policy reforms and challenges that have limited the growth of the subsector. Mismanagement within the public sugar mills, bureaucratic hurdles, political meddling, and misappropriation of resources have contributed to the industry's woes. There is a critical need for dynamic and informed youth participation to advocate for and drive necessary policy reforms.

This thematic area centers on equipping young leaders with the skills, knowledge and resources needed to actively engage in advocating for policy changes and reforms within the sugar sector. It aims to empower youth to influence decision-making processes, contribute to policy discussions, and champion reforms that foster sustainability, inclusivity, and innovation in the industry.

The overall objective of this thematic area is to  empower the youth in advocating for policies that can revitalize the sugar industry and make it competitive and sustainable. This will enable the industry to avail affordable quality sugar and coproducts, adequately remunerate all value chain actors and contribute to economic development.

Problem Statement: "How can effective advocacy and policy reform be achieved to enhance the competitiveness, sustainability, and inclusivity of the Kenyan sugar industry?"

Innovators are invited to propose solutions that:

  • Develop comprehensive training programs to build advocacy and leadership skills among young people.
  • Create platforms for youth engagement and dialogue with policymakers and industry stakeholders.
  • Promote research initiatives led by youth to identify policy gaps and suggest evidence-based reforms.
  • Facilitate the formation of youth coalitions and networks to amplify their collective voice.
  • Utilize technology to support and streamline advocacy efforts, making them more effective and far-reaching.
  • May apply to the sugar industry beyond the proposed solutions outlined above.

#TupataneSIIS2024 and Happy Innovating!