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Rural youth shatter the myth of farming as a poor man's profession

Although Kenyan youths make up over 75 per cent of the country's population, farming is not considered an attractive option. This mentality has been entrenched in the education system that traditionally dooms the academically challenged to farming, otherwise known as the 'poor man's profession'. As a result, according to Kenya's agricultural ministry, the average age of a Kenyan farmer is 55.

However, the tide is beginning to turn. The lure of profitable farming is prompting even urbanites to ditch white collar jobs and trade their designer suits and shoes for overalls and gumboots. The resurgence of farming interest amongst the youth is down to efforts by private and public agricultural development organisations, pushing for the adoption of better agronomic techniques that guarantee high yields, and creating market linkages for their produce.

A model that is working

Kieni West County in Central Kenya is a region where this model is working and has turned young onion farmers, barely in their mid-30s, into prosperous entrepreneurs. Yet, prior to the 2005/2006 farming season, Timothy Mururi, then aged 30, remembers how the region was rife with poverty. Over 10,000 disillusioned farmers grew potatoes, wheat and onions whose optimum yield was 5,000 kgs a hectare.

However, an intervention in 2006/2007 by Farm Concern International (FCI), a private agriculture organisation that advocates for farming as a business, dramatically improved farmers' productivity. With funding from FARM-Africa, FCI introduced F1 hybrid onions which, with the right agronomic practices, guaranteed yields of 20,000 to 25,000 kg per ha. READ MORE HERE

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Wednesday, 27 September 2023

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