The historic era of Covid-19 prevalence has delivered unprecedent tough stretches with a myriad of tribulations, among them food insecurity. These are tough times full of limbo for many, whether in business or in employment. As has been witnessed, this pandemic has brought along an economic meltdown even as governments and allied players try to cushion their citizens against looming crises.
This underpinning notwithstanding, life has to soldier on and the need to survive is paramount. Kenya Climate Innovation Center (KCIC) in collaboration with Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Youth Enterprise Development Fund (YEDF), Ministry of ICT, Innovation and Youth Affairs and GIZ have in this regard launched the 47 Champions Awards.
The 47 Champions awards offers a big hope for innovative change-makers in the agriculture sector. The competition is looking for the best 47 youth agripreneurs (one champion per county) who will be selected and awarded during the National Finals. The nation-wide competition aims at promoting youth employment in the agricultural sector by fostering role models of youth in agripreneurs who are willing to work with and support other youth through knowledge-sharing, capacity building and mentorship. It has been made open for youth aged 18-35 years and can be applied online via kenyacic.org.
To combat the issue of food insecurity, this present generation ought to revisit the fundamental adage of agriculture being the back-bone of the economy. Succinctly speaking, in recent times agriculture has been relegated to being a suggestion that it is for the low-income earners in the country particularly the elderly generation in the rural areas. Most of these people, paradoxically, are only engaging in subsistence farming thus their power to provide agriculture sustainability are minimal. The 47 Champions Awards therefore comes in handy to encourage the younger generation to participate in innovative agricultural practices and to as well support their peers to do find agricultural cool.
The Coronavirus pandemic has proved the need to come up with a new dimension because millions of Kenyans now rely on agricultural yields for their survival. Being a devolved government function, citizens today have their focus on county governments to promote the sector by introducing modern agricultural technologies in farm inputs, nurturing of crops and animals to harvesting, value addition and consumption; In other words, from farm to fork. Winners (one winner per county) from this competition will qualify for study tours, opportunities to attend technical training and exhibitions of agricultural products, mentorship support and policy dialogues related to youth employment in agriculture.
To edify a resilient, food secure and sustainable future, Kenyans need to engage in sustainable agricultural practices. This means fulfilling the present needs for agricultural produce without compromising the capacity of the future to meet its demand for food. This also means more involvement by more people in agriculture, the art and science of crops and animals production, while at the same time taking care of the environment and focusing on continuous improvement.
The 47 Champions Awards aims to see agriculture metamorphosizing from being a preserve of the elderly especially in the rural areas and instead adopting a holistic approach encompassing youth in all counties.