For a long time I have been puzzled as to why young people are not taking the leap and looking for opportunities in the agricultural sector. Agribusiness has the potential to do much more than we think but we are stuck in the mind frame that it is a dirty job and is for the unemployed. If at all that is how you think then I pity you because there is a Kenyan who has made it large through agriculture, he is Chris Kirubi the farmer.

We need to stop being narrow-minded and look at the agricultural sector as a lucrative one.

We come from the lineage of subsistence farmers who would provide fully for their families. It is the profits from this produce that educated your parents or grandparents and if it were not for them, you would not be where you are today.

So I beg to ask, should we blame the government, education system or society for turning its back on Agribusiness?

We say agriculture is the backbone of our economy yet government policy on agribusiness is not promising.

It is sad that we have not gotten the support we really need from the government in the agricultural sector, over the years. Gone are the days when we cried of food shortages and lack of technological knowhow. Nowadays, information is readily available and there are foreign investors willing to provide technological support but only in an area that has proper structures in place. It is time government took this up seriously.

Government needs to reinforce policies that will encourage young Africans to venture into farming even if it means making it mandatory for financial institutions to tailor make their products to support ventures in agriculture. That way we will not only encourage more and more Africans to establish careers in farming but also inspire them to be innovators of farming. Just like Israel, we have the capability to produce enough food for our people but we lag behind in testing new farming methods and mechanization in part of the production process.

If something is not working out why can?t we move on to the next thing? For example, our coffee is not doing well because of the overall market prices as well as the high cost of production. Now, if it does not make business sense why do we continue engaging in it? We are afraid to start something new yet we cannot compete with the prices from the rest of the world?

Coming from a coffee farming family, I can tell you that there have been huge losses and I am seriously thinking of uprooting our coffee and venturing into something else.

Young people wake up! We have beautiful land and great climate and even though some areas are arid, we can source for water or harvest rain water. But let us use the land to generate great produce that will grow the economy of this nation and benefit the people. We are also in need of scholars who will look for innovative ways to deal with some of the challenges that are encountered and improve the methods of farming.

I have always said that if we want a better Africa, we must get out there and do something about it. Let each of us arm ourselves with responsibility to manage. So to those who think this is not a lucrative industry, think again. With that said, I am off to look for other ways to use my land.

Source: Atsiavor Israel


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