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The Future of Kenya In Farming Is Not Agriculture But Agribusiness

Kenya is a farm lover’s dream: abundant uncultivated arable land, tropical climates that permit long growing seasons; a young labor force; and an expanding population that provides a readily available market for produce consumption.

Yet, Kenya is yet to harness these opportunities to ensure sustainable food security and food production. The average age of farmers is about 60 years—in a country where 60% of the population is under 35 years of age. Farmers are also less educated, with younger, more educated Kenyans are leaving rural areas, where farms are located, and moving to cities.

Some of these youngsters are also discouraged by the difficulties of accessing funds or land, the reliance on manual technology in smallholder agriculture, all compounded by the low and volatile profits.

But to remedy these issues, a new report suggests government should change their outlook on agriculture from a subsistence, daily activity into a commercial enterprise. The African Center for Economic Transformation (ACET) says focusing on the entire value chain of the process—land tenure, farming technology, markets, and pricing—would help transform food systems around the continent. Positioning farming “as a business and entrepreneurial endeavor” would also help draw younger people into the practice, and make them see it as less of a “cool” idea and more as a “career option.”

Agribusiness is one of the few sectors that can create the quantum of jobs needed for Africa’s youth.

This marked transformation could be instituted by boosting productivity within the farms and bolstering the link between the farms and other economic segments. For instance, strengthening land tenure privileges ensures the rights of women and minorities and increases the formality of property rights.

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Use of Technology

Technology and mobile phones should also be increasingly adopted as a way to not only to reach farmers, but also as a mechanism for data collection and analysis on soil conditions, fertilizer application, and climate change. Mechanization should also be expanded in order to ease the back-breaking manual labor and increase yields.

And just like in the modern workplace, the report notes that women should be put on an equal footing with men in order to drive agricultural transformation in Kenya. In Kenya, we still have laws governing marriage, divorce, and inheritance, which still put a barrier against women land ownership—and hinder them from using their plots as collateral for loans.

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Importance of growing tree fruits in our environment

The many benefits of growing fruit trees include their yield of fresh, locally grown food. As another advantage, fruit trees grow well in urban and suburban settings. From a social aspect, fruit trees help people become connected to the growing process while also providing a nutritious food source and food security. Planting fruit trees also has many helpful environmental benefits, from cleaner air to reduced energy costs and green jobs.

Reduced CO2 Emissions

The burning of fossil fuels is largely believed to be the cause of global warming. Carbon dioxide is one of the greatest offending fossil fuels. Fortunately, trees help offset the effects of CO2 pollution. Trees, including fruit trees, actually need CO2 to survive. Trees act as a cleaner, or filter for the air, absorbing CO2 and expelling fresh oxygen into the atmosphere. You can do your part for the environment by planting a fruit tree or two in your garden landscape. You will enjoy the benefit of fresh fruit, and also help to reduce greenhouse gases. According to TreePeople.org, one acre of mature fruit trees will absorb as much CO2 as would be produced by driving 26,000 miles.

Reduced Energy Costs

Fruit trees in the home garden help you to save energy and reduce the cost of utilities, such as electric and water. A fruit tree providing shade for your home can reduce the need for cooling on the occasional hot day. When partial shade-loving plants are incorporated near your fruit tree, they lose less water through evaporation on sunny days, reducing the need for supplemental watering. Lawns shaded by fruit trees are also healthier and more vibrant, because they do not lose moisture or become scorched by the sun.

Storm Water Management

In urban settings with few trees, storm water management is often a problem. Although storm water seems harmless, without proper absorption runoff water gathers and carries pollutants that travel to streams, rivers and, ultimately, the ocean. This runoff also leads to erosion on hillsides and slopes. Fruit trees help to eliminate some storm water management problems and erosion by absorbing some of the runoff and using it for hydration after a rainstorm. If your yard is particularly soggy, the addition of a tree may help alleviate some of your drainage problems.

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Green Jobs

In a community setting, a garden or orchard with fruit trees provides opportunities for residents to learn about sustainable development and growing your own food. In some communities, orchards open the door for green jobs and other small business opportunities. This not only helps the community in an economic sense, it also helps the environment by promoting sustainable living. Growing your own fruit helps you become more connected to the growing process and where your food is coming from.