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Is Agribusiness the way to go in Kenya?

When most people think of agriculture in Kenya, images of poor and overworked farmers with crude tools on a rural farm readily come to mind. Many, especially young Kenyans, still think that agribusiness is a poor man’s occupation. Nowadays everybody wants a white-collar office job in the Nairobi. Agribusiness is hardly on anyone’s mind. Here is Oxfarm’s insight on this story!

Did you know that Kenya sits on an agribusiness goldmine but most people just don’t see it? If you’re one of the blind, allow Oxfarm Ag to open your eyes with a few exciting facts you need to know about agribusiness in Kenya and Africa in large.

Did you know that Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, recently invested $1 billion in rice production? Every year, Africa spends billions of dollars on rice imports, and Dangote surely wants a juicy slice of the market. Didi you know that President Uhuru and his Deputy are also farmers?

Did you know that since 2009, investors in the USA, Europe, Middle East and Asia have been buying and leasing millions of hectares of Kenyan land for agricultural purposes? Many people may not know it but there’s a trend of serious land grabbing by foreign interests for Kenyan land.

Did you know that Foreign Direct Investment in African agribusiness was around $20 billion in 2017 and is projected to reach $45 billion by 2020? Agriculture is taking a huge leap in Kenya and investors want a piece of the action too.

Did you know that Kenya’s agribusiness industry will be worth Ksh 1 trillion by 2030! That’s huge! If this projection by the UN comes true, agribusiness will become the ‘new oil’ in Kenya!

In the light of all these facts, how come the rich and wealthy folks are investing in Kenya’s agribusiness industry while the majority of Kenyans are largely ignorant about the amazing potentials of agriculture on the country?

Below are five reasons why agriculture is the biggest business opportunity right now in Kenya. We will tell you why many of the world’s top business people are investing in agribusiness.

Best Agribusiness For the Youth to Engage in Kenya

Kenya Has Abundant And Cheap Agricultural Land

According to the World Bank, Sub-Saharan Africa is home to nearly 50 percent of the world’s fertile, usable and uncultivated agricultural land. The size: over 200 million hectares! This is why the continent is now widely considered to be the future breadbasket of the world. It is this huge abundance of land resources that gives Kenya the strategic potential to grow crops!

Most of Kenya’s agricultural land lies in the tropical belt, which receives a favorable amount of rainfall and sunlight all year round. As a direct consequence, more than 80 percent of food crops consumed across the world can be produced here.

Interestingly, a large proportion of Kenya’s agricultural land is located in the rural areas. That’s why they’re often cheap to buy or lease. On the average, one hectare of land (10,000sqm) can be leased for as low as Ksh10, 000 per year (depending on the location). This makes it one of the best land bargains you can find anywhere in the world!

Existence of Ready Market

Agribusiness is one of the best business opportunities in the world because food never goes out of fashion. People must eat food everyday!

Currently, Kenya’s population is just over 45 million people. At its current growth rate, the country’s population is expected to reach 70 million by 2050. Now and in the future, Kenya will always have a lot of mouths to feed.

Kenya currently spends billions of dollars every year to import maize, sugar, rice,  and all kinds of finished and semi-finished foods which it can produce locally. There is a huge opportunity for entrepreneurs who can provide cheaper and locally-grown alternatives to the food that Kenya imports.

It’s not just the food industry that depends on agribusiness. Several other industries, especially the manufacturing and processing industries, depend on agribusiness for a wide range of raw materials. As Kenya’s economies continue to grow, the demand for raw materials will surely increase and create more interesting opportunities for agribusiness on the continent.

Technology Change and Improved Varieties

Agribusiness in Kenya has suffered through the years because of its poor yields and crude farm practices. Most of the crops cultivated on the country produce very little and are often very prone to pests, diseases and drought. As a result, most Kenyan farmers used to work very hard but have very little to show for all their hard work during harvest time.

However, due to advances in crop/animal science and technology, it is now possible to harvest more food per hectare than ever before in Kenya’s history. There are now improved crop and animal varieties that mature earlier, require less resources, and are less susceptible to pest attacks, diseases and drought. Across Kenya, these improved varieties are increasing yields by as much as 400 percent!

There are now improved and locally-adapted varieties of maize, cassava, millet, rice, sorghum, beans, sweet potato, cowpea, hass avocado, banana, and wheat.

There are also several local and international organization that are focused on supporting Kenyan farmers with improved seedlings and support.

Agribusiness Is Very  Easy to Start

Whether you own one plot of land or 10,000 hectares, agribusiness is one of few business opportunities that allow you to start on any scale, with whatever you have!

Entrepreneurs like Dickson Kahuro started his agribusiness in 2014 in his backyard with just few tree tomato trees. Today, he owns Oxfarm and is a major supplier of hass avocado  and other seedlings.

The opportunity to start small means that people with little capital can become part of Kenya’s multi-billion dollar agribusiness industry. Because of the guaranteed demand for agricultural produce, that small vegetable or poultry farm in your backyard could just become a huge business tomorrow.

Every evidence shows that you don’t have to be a wealthy investor with millions of dollars in the bank or a highly-educated person in order to start a business in agriculture in Kenya. You can start where you are and use what you have, and grow from there. You can start your agribusiness journey in your home backyard or do it on a part-time basis with your day job. It’s very flexible that way!

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Agribusiness Is A Huge Job Creator

Agribusiness is one of the most effective ways to create jobs and empower millions of Kenyans. At present, up to 60% of the labour force in Kenya is employed in the agribusiness industry. Agribusiness remains a top employer of labour in many Kenyan countries.

The value chain in the agribusiness industry, from food production, processing and marketing provide huge opportunities for employment and entrepreneurship.

So, if you’re looking to start a business or invest in an industry that makes a significant social impact, provides jobs and creates sustainable wealth, agribusiness is surely the way to go!

Interested in Kenyan Agribusiness?

If you’re excited about the potentials of agribusiness in Kenya and would like to explore it much further, we have just the right resource for you! Just head over to our website and you will learn about several ideas, opportunities and success stories that will surely amaze you.

Kenya is changing. You ought to have this big dream that’s finally changing the world.

 

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Have you ever heard of the amazing Stinging Nettle?

Stinging Nettle

You may have by now seen this plant that when touched with bare hands irritates and can cause rushes. To some communities in Kenya, it is a curse but to those who know it, its a blessing as its a source of food and other many benefits. The Agikuyu for instance have for so long been using stinging nettle leaves in cooking their favorite dish (Mukimo). Apart from that, Stinging nettle (Hatha/Thabai), as they call it is used to cure several diseases.

The stinging nettle is a herbaceous flowering plant which is a subspecies of, and belongs to the Urtica genus. The stinging nettle is a small plant and it rarely grows past five feet in height, but is has a huge variety of health benefits. The stinging nettle plant has stinging hairs called trichomes on their leaves and stems, which, when touched by humans, injects chemicals such as histamine into the human body, thus giving it the name ‘stinging nettle’. It is also due to this very reason that this plant also has colloquial names such as burn nettle, burn weed and burn hazel.

Nutritional Value of Stinging Nettle

While the name ‘stinging nettle’ often makes it seem like it cannot be consumed, that is not true. This plant actually offers great nutritional value. A single cup of blanched stinging nettles comprises of 37 calories, and 0.1 grams of fat. It has no sodium, fat, cholesterol, or sugar in it, but it provides a substantial amount of carbohydrates and protein. One cup of stinging nettle contains 2.4 grams of protein and 6.6 grams of carbohydrates. Stinging nettles also have minerals such as potassium, iron and silica.

Nutritional facts Per 100 Grams

42 Calories

0.1 g Total Fat

4 mg Sodium

334 mg Potassium

7 g Total Carbohydrate

2.7 g Protein

Vitamins and Minerals

40 % Vitamin A

0.48 Calcium

8 % Iron

5 % Vitamin B-6

40 % Magnesium

What are the Health Benefits of Stinging Nettle?

Helps in detoxification

The stinging nettle has a huge variety of nutrients in it, thus making it an ideal natural detoxifier. It helps cleanse the body of all toxins. It is a diuretic substance, which means that it can not only cleanse toxins from the body, but it can also ensure that any toxins that are being neutralized in the body are eliminated from the body as quickly as possible. Stinging nettles also help stimulate the lymphatic system, thus helping the body to get rid of excess toxins from the kidneys.

Aids in pregnancy

The stinging nettle has often been recommended to women who undergo extremely painful labour. The stinging nettle acts as a coagulant, thus helping prevent excessive bleeding. Additionally, stinging nettle has been proven very effective in helping to stimulate the production of milk in the body of a woman, thus making lactation easier for the mother as well as for the infants.

Hass Avocado Farming Training (Open Day) in Tetu Sub county Nyeri

Improves blood circulation

Stinging nettle has a high content of iron and vitamin C, thus making it ideal for helping stimulate production and growth of red blood cells, which consequently improves blood circulation in the body. The presence of Vitamin C helps increase uptake of iron by the body, and since iron is an essential compound present in hemoglobin, blood circulation is drastically improved. Also, with the increase in RBC count, healing of wounds speed up, and the body receives oxygenation essential for boosting overall energy levels.

Helps improve feminine health

Stinging nettle has often been shown to alleviate painful menstrual symptoms such as cramping and bloating. It also helps decrease premenstrual symptoms. Stinging nettle helps decrease blood flow during menstruation due to its capabilities as an astringent. It is also administered to women undergoing menopause, as it acts as a restorative, and thus smooths the transition process, so the shift in hormones is not as drastic as it otherwise would have been.

Improves kidney and gallbladder health

Stinging nettle is essentially a diuretic, and has nephritic qualities, which means that it can easily break down stones in the gall bladder and the kidneys. This ensures that pain is reduced as much as possible. In case the stones have to be surgically removed, stinging nettle is often used to reduce pain and inflammation. Since it is a diuretic, stinging nettle helps prevent bladder infections and retention of excess fluid in the body.

Has anti-inflammatory properties

Stinging nettle is a rubefacient substance, and a stimulant, which is why it acts as an effective agent against inflammatory conditions such as muscle pain or arthritis. Research has proven that stinging nettle helps effectively treat conditions such as gout. It also helps alleviate muscle pain, and reduces symptoms of arthritis.

Treats respiratory conditions

Stinging nettle helps in the treatment of quite a large number of respiratory conditions such as asthma, hay fever, and other seasonal allergies. If used in combination with certain other extracts, stinging nettle can help in the reduction of allergic reactions in patients suffering from various kinds of allergies.

Keeps the heart healthy

With regular consumption, stinging nettle can successfully lower systolic blood pressure, thus making sure the heart remains healthy and fit for a longer period of time. A decrease in systolic blood pressure means that there is a lesser amount of stress and tension on the cardiovascular system.

Improves health of the prostate

As men age, problems related to prostate enlargement and other diseases of the prostate become widespread. Stinging nettle can help prevent prostate growth due to its chemical composition. In case the disease has set in and cannot be prevented anymore, even in such cases, stinging nettle can reverse the condition effectively, thus treating any and all prostate problems.

Improves gastrointestinal health

Supplements made from the stinging nettle extract are often taken to help reduce nausea, diarrhea and other gastrointestinal problems. Stinging nettle can also help soothe hemorrhoids and ulcers.

Useful for skin care

Stinging nettle has been proven to effectively treat and reduce the appearance of acne. It can also prevent bacterial infections. Due to the fact that it has antioxidant properties, stinging nettle can help speed healing of wounds as well as reduce the appearance of blemishes and scars. It also promotes anti-aging by helping reduce wrinkles and age spots.

Uses of Stinging Nettle

Stinging nettle is a health-boosting herb that has a variety of amines, flavonoids, lignans, minerals, and vitamins A, B2, C and K. It has been used for hundreds of years as an effective treatment for muscle and joint pains, and for the treatment of diseases such as gout and arthritis. Certain extracts of the stinging nettle have been found to be very effective in treating conditions such as diarrhea, edema, and other prostate and urinary disorders. It is often used directly on the hair as an effective treatment against dandruff, as well as to add shine to the hair. The stinging nettle can also be used as a herbal remedy in the treatment of hay fever, as this plant possesses the ability to reduce production of histamine in the body.

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Side-Effects & Allergies of Stinging Nettle

The stinging nettle does not generally have any side effects if taken in doses directed by the doctor. It is very important to administer caution while handling the plant, because touching it bare handed can cause allergic rashes and reactions.

Cultivation of Stinging Nettle

The stinging nettle has its origins in the cold regions of Asia and Northern Europe. Today, however, this plant grows all over the world. The stinging nettle need soil rich in nitrogen for its growth, and can mostly be found in areas that are not very well tended to, such as gardens, lawns and other areas such as construction sites. This plant can also be found in areas with moderate forest coverage, as well as open meadows. Stinging Nettle just grow wildly !

CAUTION:  Stinging nettles should be planted away in obscure corners where innocent visitors are not likely to be stung, Always watch children to make sure they stay in the safe zone.