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How Can Kenya Boost Agricultural Productivity?

How to boost productivity

Many countries have successfully developed after shifting resources from agriculture to manufacturing. Countries in East Asia and the Pacific witnessed a revolution in the 90’s but Kenya and Africa in general missed out and has overtime lacked progress in agricultural productivity which can be blamed for holding back the region’s overall economic growth.

So what can be done to boost Kenyan agricultural productivity? below are eight factors that are drawn from transforming Kenya’s agriculture to improve competitiveness.

Grow High-yield Crops

Kenya requires increased research into plant breeding, taking into consideration the unique Kenyan soils. If money is put in good use in this segment, according to world bank, 1ksh is capable of yielding Ksh 6 in terms of benefits.

Improve Irrigation

With the growing effects of climate change on weather patterns, more irrigation will be needed. Average yields in irrigated farms are 90% higher than those of nearby rain-fed farms.

Increase the use of Organic fertilizers

As soil fertility deteriorates, organic fertilizer use must increase. Governments need to ensure the right type of fertilizers are available at the right price, and at the right times. Fertilizer education lessens the environmental impact and an analysis of such training programs in East Africa found they boosted average incomes by 61%.

Enhance Regulations, Market Access and Governance

Improving rural infrastructure such as roads is crucial to raising productivity through reductions in shipping costs and the loss of perishable produce. Meanwhile, providing better incentives to farmers, including reductions in food subsidies, could raise agricultural output by nearly 5%. In recent times Kenyan government has had a tussle with maize farmers where the government insisted on buying a 90 Kg bag of maize at Ksh 2300 but the farmers wanted more. Eventually the government increased the amount up to Ksh 2500. Such fights with farmers will only deteriorate and make things worse as farmers will get tired of farming if the market is harsh for them.

State of Hass Avocado Farming in Kenya

Use of IT

Information technology can support better crop, fertilizer and pesticide selection. It also improves land and water management, provides access to weather information, and connects farmers to sources of credit. Simply giving farmers information about crop prices in different markets has increased their bargaining power.

Reform land ownership

Africa has the highest area of arable uncultivated land in the world (202 million hectares) yet most farms occupy less than 2 hectares. This results from poor land governance and ownership. Land reform has had mixed results on the African continent but changes that clearly define property rights, ensure the security of land tenure, and enable land to be used as collateral will be necessary if many African nations are to realize potential productivity gains. In Pastoralists counties such as Kajiado and Narok, land is owned by communities but recently some individuals have been grabbing it and making it theirs with no development. government should come up with policies that can help the common man.

Significance of Hass Avocado Farming in Kenya

Intensify integration into Agricultural Value Chains

Driven partly by the growth of international supermarket chains, Kenyan economy has progressively diversified from traditional cash crops into fruits, vegetables, fish, and flowers. However, lack of access to finance and poor infrastructure have slowed progress. Government support, crucial to coordinate the integration of smallholder farmers into larger cooperatives and groups, may be needed in other areas that aid integration with wider markets.

If the government, NGO’s, all agriculture stakeholders come together and do the above, we might reap as a country and as a continent. At Oxfarm we have been educating the public on the best farming methods and how to access the market, we expect the government to provide a fair and a good working environment for farmers.

 

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How to achieve success in a given agribusiness venture

For a long time now agriculture, has been the major contributor of the economy. Of course there has been challenges and they are still there, but in the long run, those who have practiced agribusiness are making money and some have made it in life.

For those who are new in this field, agribusiness simply refers to those businesses that are associated with production, processing and sale of agricultural goods. Some people think like ancient people thought about farming; that it is a dirty job and meant for the less fortunate in the society.

According to Chris Kirubi, a well-established businessman in Kenya, “Agribusiness has the potential to do much more than we think but we are stuck in the mind frame that it is a dirty job and is for the unemployed. If at all that is how you think then I pity you.” Kirubi was quoted by Capital FM saying that he is puzzled by young people who complain day in day out about unemployment, while the opportunities in agricultural sector are massive and untapped.

For those who have taken the risk and have taken the first steps in the business, they can attest that agribusiness is the way to go. Being stuck in the mind frame that it is a dirty job and is for the unemployed is the greatest undoing of our time. For those willing to make their hands dirty and venture in agribusiness, there are a number of things you can do to make your dreams true.

How to succeed in Agribusiness

Below are few things that you can do become a successful person in the world of agribusiness.

·         Idea

Most people fail in the world of agribusiness because they lack ideas on what they want to do. It is crucial for a farmer to learn the trends and combine that with hard work and passion. A clever farmer works and produces when the rest are resting. Ensure you do research and come up with the best idea.

·         Capital

The field of agribusiness is mostly taken by young people of our nation and the greatest challenges that face them is starting capital. Someone will tell you they have not amassed enough money to buy a green house or start poultry farming or grow tomatoes. However, with an idea and passion, you can do great things. It is a misconception that has been there for a long time that for you to become successful in agribusiness you need huge amount of money.

Read: Profitable poultry farming and production in Kenya

·         Market

A clever farmer conducts market research before embarking on agribusiness. Knowing the market where your products will go is yet another milestone in agri-business. Whether you are a middleman or a retailer, you need to establish the right market for you to be able to make it.

·         Information on agri-business

Having the right information at hand before you embark on a project will certainly help you do it smoothly and reduce the risks that come with trying something you completely don’t understand. It is advisable for one to do a clear research, for instance on the crops they want to grow or the animals they want to keep. If possible, one needs to seek the advice of agronomists around the area so that they can advise on crops to grow in certain areas, know the soil PH and the conditions of the area.

Read: Get Over Ksh 700,000 from an acre of Hybrid onions in Kenya

·         Determination and patience

Patience in farming or agribusiness is a virtue that any willing farmer should have. As a farmer you need, to be extra patient and determined so as to achieve your goals. People fail in this field because they lose hope if they do not make profits as they would have wanted and end up quitting. In Farming, risks are many and failing the first time doesn’t mean you will keep on failing. It only means that one should keep on fighting and making the right decisions.

Narrow-Minded

Hass avocado at Mkulima Wa Nyeri Farm

Kirubi says that its time we stop being narrow-minded and look at the agribusiness sector as a lucrative one. “We come from the lineage of subsistence farmers who would provide fully for their families. It is the profits from this produce that educated your parents or grandparents and if it were not for them, you would not be where you are today”, says Kirubi.

He also adds that we should stop blaming the government, education system or society for turning its back on agriculture.

“Young people wake up! We have beautiful land and great climate and even though some areas are arid, we can source for water or harvest rain water. But let us use the land to generate great produce that will grow the economy of this nation and benefit the people. We are also in need of scholars who will look for innovative ways to deal with some of the challenges that are encountered and improve the methods of farming”

Read: Cost and returns of establishing successful dairy farm

If at the end of the day we need a better Kenya, we all must come together and do something about it.

 

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