With the growing level of unemployment, influence in drugs and high crime rate as a result of fruitlessness after many years in school without a proper job or any meaningful income generating project, it is the high time that the young people focus in agriculture as a livelihood.
According to a research by the African Development Bank (ADB), the average Kenyan farmer is 53 years old which translates to the view that very few youths between 18years to 35 years engage in farming.
During the First East African Digital Exhibition and Conference held on 29th to 31st May 2018, facilitators of the event aimed at luring the youth into agriculture through digital farming. Speakers at the forum argued that the youth are the most conversant segment of the population with the technological advancements and are the best placed to steer the digital agriculture agenda to greater levels.
Given the fact that the youths interact with technological tools such as digital phones and computers on a regular basis, digital agriculture would effectively work out with them in regards to accessing finances for their farm practices, searching for the appropriate farm inputs and reliable markets for their produce. At the same time, effective awareness to make the youth interested in farming is of great importance in order to achieve the itinerary.
However, for the youth agenda to be effectively actualized in agriculture which is the backbone of Kenya’s economy and is responsible for livelihoods of over 80 per cent of the rural population a host barriers have to be addressed. One of the issues is on how the youth can acquire appropriate piece of land to enable them engage in farming adequately. This is because the cost of land in the nation is very expensive and many youths are not economically endowed to purchase land, there ought to be proper modalities to ensure that land ownership by the youth is achieved.
Early introduction into farming both at home and school can be another effective way of channeling the youths into agriculture. During the digital forum, there were a number of proposals through this can be achieved. Several speakers highlighted the fact that the Kenya Curriculum ought to be revised so that farming can be given special focus so that the youth can take keen interest in it at an early stage. This can be achieved if agriculture is considered as a compulsory subject in order for the students to have a lot of focus in it.On the other hand, parents need to cultivate the culture of farming in their young ones at the formative years.
There also needs to be policies that are friendly and supportive towards youth in regards to agricultural innovations in the country. This will enable them to be motivated in agronomic inventions and bring into action their wide technological knowledge, understanding and expertise. In so doing, the youth will feel appreciated in the agricultural sector and the notion that farming is boring and dirty will gradually move away from their minds and they will be a great asset in achieving the new digital farming techniques, practices and advancements in the country.