Agriculture as we all know is the backbone of Kenyan Economy. Kenya has a population of about 50 million where according to 2009 census 80% are farmers. However, in the recent years, rural-urban migration has been very high where young people move to cities in such of better opportunities. This has left a gap in agriculture. Oxfarm Ag Ltd has identified several trends that will shape agribusiness not just in Kenya but worldwide.
Attracting Young People Into agribusiness
One of the biggest factors that will determine how well agribusiness industry will cope with and adopt the newest Ag-Tech applications related to food production, will be young farmers. The industry is facing a problem with ensuring effective food production due to the fact, that most farms are run by older demographics that can range from 40 years old and above. If this persists happening and if we will not be able to figure out methods of raising the interest of farming and agriculture to young people, the pace at which new technology will be adopted will be hindered, as well as the progress of finding new solutions to current problems in the industry will be slowed down tremendously as well.
Given the recent drought conditions which cost Kenyan farmers billions of shillings in losses, there’s a lot of investment in the development of advanced drip irrigation technology, which allows farmers to limit wastage by efficiently delivering the exact amount of water to the soil, needed by their crops to grow.
In order to improve operational efficiency and yield prediction, the agricultural industry is increasingly using data analytics. Farmers are now able to implement complex systems that assist them with equipment management. This is also combined with data on weather patterns and soil conditions as well as crops to be planted, to develop a formula to determine the best time and place to plant and harvest. Big data is also useful for forecasting demand for crops, yield on crops, as well as potential land size and usage of land.
This modern form of farming, used to produce food in a smaller controlled environment through vertically stacked layers to save on water and fertilizer, is no longer just a noisy word, but a reality. A number of farmers in Kenya are already successfully using this technology as part of their farming practices.
Mobile applications (apps)
Smart phones are no longer just used for multimedia purposes and accessing information through the internet. Farmers are now actively using apps to monitor their crops via GPS, calculate feed, save water, get access to networks and markets, etc. Mobile apps have become a major disruptor in the agricultural industry. Developers globally are working around the clock to introduce app innovations that were once unimaginable.
Future Trends We Can Expect In Agribusiness
The introduction of new technologies and the potential they can provide to farmers across the globe (e.g. using Biotech to alter crop health, utilizing Digital Twin to predict optimal weather conditions for crop growth etc.) will become dependent on our ability to introduce younger generations to start a career in farming and agribusiness. In order to achieve this, we need to put the focus on financing and funding the younger generation in terms of financially encouraging them to start their own sustainable farming businesses and help them get a meaningful start that will contribute to efficient future food production.