Skip to main content

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

Agriculture of today in Africa is far from the desired future farm. How long will it take us to get there?

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 way it was done 30 years ago. Manual labor, low use of inputs, farming for the daily meal, low agricultural knowledge levels, etc is what characterizes farming in most parts of Kenya today. In as much as everyone is speaking about improving the livelihoods of smallholder farmers, there is little or no hope for a better future for small scale farmers.

Back in the early 90, there were thousands of agricultural extension officers in Kenya. They were quite many that I can vividly remember three officers who used to visit my parents at least once a month. I knew them by name. They trained my parents on how to set gabions to prevent soil erosion. They also did several other trainings and usually advised farmers on the best crops to grow depending on the market realities and land potential. For instance, they convinced my grandparents to convert from maize to pyrethrum on their 5-hectare piece of land. This was a good advice from the officers because pyrethrum turned out to be a cash cow until the year 2000 when pyrethrum milling companies collapsed and my grandparents reverted to growing maize. Currently, experts are discussing how to de-maize Kenya, especially among smallholder farmers. They have realized that maize is a poverty grass, especially when not done on a large scale.

My investigative research has revealed that since 1980, the government has never employed any new agricultural extension officers and the old ones have progressively retired from work. Today, there is no single government extension officer in Kenya, which is a very big loss compared to back then when these officers were educating farmers proactively.

When you look at agricultural mechanization, Kenya and Africa in general had more tractor in the 70s than we have today.

Irrigated land in Kenya has continuously shrunk with the collapse of large-scale government irrigated projects.

Tea and coffee farming continues to face extinction, not because the weather does not allow high productivity, but because farmers feel exploited and hence less motivated to grow these crops. Many coffee and tea factories, and cooperatives have shut down over the past few years leaving farmers without a market for their produce. Where are we headed? Are we winning or losing?

ALSO READ>> Farming is hard work: Eat. Farm. Sleep. Repeat 

Regardless of the progress made in the adoption of modern technologies of farming like digital farming, greenhouses, vertical farms and kitchen garden, use of fertilizer, and other agrochemicals, we should be keen no to lose the gains that we had achieved after many decades of trial and error.

As a country and a continent, our leaders must be committed to implementing successful strategies consistently, and any new strategy should be well assessed and proven to be of long-term benefits.

We should not be taking one step forward and two steps backward, otherwise, the most desired future of our African agriculture will move from a decade to a century away.

ALSO READ >> Engaging youth in agriculture 


Popular posts from this blog

Where to get Wambugu apples and how to grow them

The story of farming Wambugu apples in Kenya People like eating apples, but in Kenya, imported apples are very expensive and farmers are now looking for an alternative to grow apples locally, and the farming of Wambugu apples has excited many farmers in Kenya and abroad. In this article, we have gathered and reviewed some information from Wambugu Apple farm as well as from some farmers who have been growing the Wambugu apple variety in Kenya. Read also:  Dairy Goat farming with Wambugu Farmer It is said that an apple a day keeps a doctor away, but what if you could venture into the business of farming apples and keep poverty away? Think about it this way: A huge percentage of apples consumed in Kenya, almost 99% are imported from South Africa, the Middle East region, and the Mediterranean countries majorly Egypt. The price of one piece of apple fruit in Kenya goes for around $ 0.5. One kilogram of the imported apples go for up to 10 dollars. The price is very inhibitive especially th

Dairy Goat farming with Wambugu Farmer

Dairy goat farming step by step by Wambugu Farmer Dairy goat farming is an upcoming lucrative agribusiness venture, not only because of the huge prices that goat milk attracts but also because of the well-known health benefits of goat milk. My name is Wambugu Farmer, and I will take you through a few outlines that I have learnt about dairy goat farming during the past few years. I am not a direct dairy goat farmer, but my parents are. I visit them regularly and over the past five years that they have been practicing this farming, we have learnt a lot of lessons surrounding dairy goats that I am going to share with you in this article. Read also: Wambugu Apple Farm in Nyeri Kenya Watch Youtube Video:  WAMBUGU Apples Farm If you are looking forward to start dairy goats on a large scale or small scale farming, there will be something for you to learn from this article. My parents are small-scale dairy goat farmers doing around 6 goats at a time. They started this project because of th

How to make a kitchen garden in Kenya: Cone kitchen garden

  Simple steps to make a kitchen garden in Kenya This is an opportunity for every rural family to make a kitchen garden in Kenya. Just as the name indicates, a cone kitchen garden is a type of garden that resembles a cone, like that of an ice-cream holder. It consists of arranging soil in a conical shape above the ground to create more space for crop growing. Cone kitchen garden is efficient in that it allows for mixed cropping since different species of crop are grown on different layers. Materials and procedure of constructing a Cone kitchen garden in Kenya: Polythene sheet : It should be the heavy one, commonly called the dam-liner in local hardware. Alternatively, you can use old circular containers that have different circumferences in a manner that they can be concentric. Site identification : Chose a site that receives sufficient direct sunlight throughout the day and well drained. Mark the middle point of the garden site, and arrange the containers/polythene in layers, "