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Showing posts from September, 2020

Farmer-Government partnership: Why government supports farmers with free incentives

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Why do governments support farmers with subsidies? Across the globe, every government is expected to have ample sympathy for the farming community. Governments support farmers through various incentive measures such as: 1. Subsidy programs (Seeds, agrochemicals, machinery, water sources such as dams and boreholes, etc) 2. Tax exemption or reduction, 3. Special loan facilities, 4. etc In other economic sectors, the only role of the government is to create an enabling environment for the private sector businesses to thrive. However, in the agriculture sector, the government's support to farmers is widely adopted to the extent that any government that does not support farmers with "free goodies" is said to be turning its back on its responsibilities. But why do governments support farmers for "free"? Governments support farmers not because farmers are needy, but because governments need farmers' support it to fulfil the responsibility of feeding

Six months of blogging: Feedback from readers on how to change the attitudes and practices of farmers

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Agribusiness blogging is an avenue to get feedback from farmers For change makers to influence the attitude and practices of farmers, they will need to utilize personalized tactics. Since I started blogging on agriculture around 6 months ago, I have managed to reach a huge audience and collect a lot of feedback that I could have otherwise taken decades of  physical meetings with farmers. RELATED ARTICLE>>  COVID-19 is a reminder that farm mechanization in Africa is indispensable To date, my blog has received over 16,000 visitors and hundreds of comments on the website itself, and on various social medias as well. I share my articles through targeted social media farmers' groups, which has ensured that most readers are either farmers or youth Interested in agriculture. I am  still building traction of organic search ranking through SEO. To me, the most interesting part of my blogging journey is not the information I put out there, but the feedback I receive. I have learnt a lo

Practical ways to make farming appealing to youth

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How to make agriculture attractive to youth Can we make farming appealing to youth? Why is it that despite the huge untapped potential in agriculture, the youth still avoid it even with the high unemployment rates in the continent? The ability of youth to engage in productive agricultural activities has social and economic benefits for both the young people and the economy. Youths joining agriculture could be a solid solution to ending hunger and poverty in Africa. RELATED ARTICLE >> Intensifying awareness campaign among the rural youths However, many youths in developing countries have negative perceptions. Farming is not appealing to the youth at all. Young people are usually not interested in this field of work, in large part due to their perception of farming being antiquated and unprofitable. The “image” of agriculture traditionally has been more about subsistence; you only produce enough for you to eat. As a matter of fact, this is not an image of agriculture, but a r

When will the desired future of agriculture in Africa come true?

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What is the future of agriculture in Africa? The desired future of agriculture in our continent could come as early as tomorrow or as late as after a century or two. It will all depend on the small steps we are taking today to secure that future. From my observation, it seems that many countries are making one step forward and two steps backward.  Practically speaking, the progression of the agriculture sector has been very slow or regressive in the African continent. The challenges that the continent was facing three decades ago still remain the same today, in addition to the effects of climate change. ALSO READ >>  Can Africa feed itself? Yes! This is why ALSO READ >>  Mentoring youth to embrace agribusiness in Kenya  During my usual visits to smallholder farmers in rural areas, I have realized that very little or no progress has been made in the farming systems. Most farmers, in my own estimation, over 90% of smallholder farmers are practicing farming today the same

Modern farming technologies: Intensifying awareness campaign among the rural youths

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 Youths want to learn about modern farming but they do not know how. Lets help them learn! If you have read any of my articles, you might have realized that I like sharing personal stories relating to my experience either as a youth, a member of a  smallholder family , or other professional experiences that I have gathered in the course of my work during the past few years. This perspective has elicited a lot of feedback from young people and other  like-minded  professionals who express great gratitude and interest to share their stories too.  Since the relaxation of the COVID-19 travel restrictions early this month, I have managed to make numerous  visits to rural areas  to meet farmers, friends, and family members who live in rural areas. I always inform them about my visits early enough so that they can prepare for some solid conversations and questions around agriculture, and most of them informed me that they read my blog in advance so that they can understand how best I can assi

Over-ambitious agricultural strategic development plans

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Our strategic development plans have been over-ambitious. They should  narrow down their focus for better results.  Providing food and nutrition security to all Kenyans is a mandate of the government. The future of our country depends on a healthy population. Over the past few years, I have interacted with various agricultural development plans for Kenya which have kept changing from 2004 to 2019 (Some were just shelve documents). All these strategic plans failed in major areas. Why? The post-implementation evaluations have revealed that the poor coordination between the various departments of the ministry of agriculture, as well as poor coordination between the ministry of agriculture and other ministries, was the single smoking gun, and still is even today. All these development plans had very good ideas, and if they were achieved and envisaged, Kenya would be a first-class economy today. But experience has proven to us that Kenya does not have the capacity to implement robust st

Engaging youth in agriculture : Take from Njeri, a young professional in agriculture

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How to engage youth in agriculture: Words of a young Farmer, Njeri Photo of Njeri My name is Njeri, a young professional in the Agricultural Industry in Kenya. I am a d edicated and committed agricultural economist with experience in managing financial-based projects aimed at developing corporate strategy, enhancing technology capabilities, improving operational processes, and executing client and data migrations.    I appreciate the classics, when it comes to music that is. When it comes to agriculture, I know that we need to do better, be better, be more innovative and more sustainable. I’ve not always had a passion for agriculture, like most Kenyan youth, I grew up dreaming of getting a desk job and moving to the big city even though I was brought up an hour’s drive from the capital. However, my tune has changed from that small clueless girl. There is countless more youth like myself, venturing into agriculture as a last result. In my case, I got an Agricultural Economics degree to

Smallholder farmers may be poor, but they live a quality life

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Smallholder farmers lack money but they enjoy peace of mind There is no better place to spend a weekend than in the rural areas visiting small scale farmers and participating in their daily activities.  Last weekend, I traveled upcountry to see my parents, grandparents and I also said hi to several neighbors, all of whom are small scale farmers.  If you live in a city like Nairobi, then you will never fail to appreciate the serenity of the rural life. If there are people who eat healthy food and enjoy nature, then they are small scale farmers living in the rural area. Everything they eat is grown on their own farms (apart from cooking oil, sugar and salt). And whatever that one does not grow, is most probably grown by the a neighbor next door.  The only challenge that they face is that they have to do most of the farm work manually, which is very tiresome.  This is a pictorial article. I will give you a tour of my farm visits using pictures: Farmers wake up early to work as they wait f