Many young people see agriculture as boring, tiresome and a dirty job, while their friends do not make things any better with their sly glances whenever one shows an interest in farming. And to the community?
The general belief is that those engaged in agriculture are failures! But this is not what agricultural experts and the authorities think, though.
“Encouraging young people to till the land is important in transforming the future in feeding the nation,” said Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui.
His remarks were in a speech read during an AgriTech Talks session held in December at the ATC Grounds in Nakuru. Mechanisation of the sector, he said, could attract more youth and ease their work, giving them time to engage in any other activities to earn an extra income.
“Through agribusiness and innovation startups by youth, the private sector is capable of instituting tremendous change in the sector, because the younger people understand technological tools more and can use them to improve agriculture, making it easier that the traditional methods. Technology is the enabler that will turn youth into effective farm ers in the 21st century,” said Dr Gabriel Rugalema, the Country Representative, United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), who officially opened the event.
The second AgriTech Talks were organised by Smart Farmer Africa, publishers of the Smart Farmer magazine, in partnership with the Nakuru County government, and held on December 6 and-7.
Through the theme, ‘Promoting Digital Technologies, Agribusiness and Mechanisation Among Youth’, the AgriTech Talks are a platform for young people, aimed at educating, inspiring, connecting and engaging young farmers by bringing to them technologies and innovations, which can change the way agriculture is done. It meant to encourage them to embrace agriculture, which is often shunned.
This one of the initiatives aimed at encouraging youth to venture into farming. Statistics show that one million students graduate from tertiary institutions in Kenya annually, but only 200,000 get employed, leaving about 800,000 with no meaningful source of income.
It is these unemployed youth that are being urged to consider agriculture as a way of earning a living and becoming responsible citizens. “Youthful farmers should practise agriculture differently from their parents who were used to the traditional ways of farming.