“All farmers are old and poor. They do not have a bright and promising future. Farmers do not have serious jobs. Farming is primitive, outdated, and low-tech. Farmers are illiterate.”
All these are misconceptions that have deluded young people. There is so much more to farming than what these myths and misconceptions illustrate. With agriculture serving as a critical sector in Kenya, we must address all misleading narratives and create opportunities for youth to realize their potential. Providing new opportunities for youth in agriculture and its value chains is envisaged to scale up, contribute to sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty and malnutrition among communities.
How can you make agriculture interesting for youth in Kenya?
With an aging population of farmers, it’s becoming paramount that the agriculture sector invests and engages more youngsters. The Vijana na AgriBiz competition has proven that youth have the techniques and innovations to leverage the vast agricultural resources and build thriving economies, ensure food security and uplift the lives of Kenyan communities.
The digitization of the agricultural sector is one way of ensuring that young people get involved. Social media play a significant role in the lives of young people in Kenya. It has become a solution to most of their problems. With the low adoption of technology in the agricultural sector, many youths shun away from the industry as they view it as boring and for the old people.
Vincent Oduor, the winner of the Vijana na AgriBiz Competition 2022, has digitized the aquaculture sector. His company, Aquaculture Barn Limited, aims to solve the problem of inadequate and unavailability of quality and affordable tilapia and catfish fingerlings by fish farmers in Kenya. This challenge is majorly experienced by small-scale and middle-scale fish farmers who might need more technical and financial capacities to set up and operate their own hatcheries. Aquaculture Barn Limited solved this problem by working on a farmer specialization model, setting up one nucleus hatchery for breeding, incubation, and treatment of the hatchlings.
John Beston Mutuma Muriuki, the founder of Digital Biofactor, an agritech start-up, is changing the agricultural narrative in Meru County. His innovation integrates solar-powered crop protection equipment. Using solar-powered crop protection equipment eradicates flying insect pests using ultraviolet light that saves the farmers from using chemicals on their farms that may affect the soil pH levels.
Other recommendations can make agriculture more interesting for youth. Providing grants and competitions like the Vijana na AgriBiz Competition will make more youth venture into agribusiness. Additionally, increasing youth access to land and finance will motivate them to create jobs in the agricultural sectors.