Kenyans, Rwandans and Ugandans: Blog to Win a Trip to Washington, DC
Agriculture is the backbone of the East African regional economy, as it accounts for about 32% of the region’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Growth in the agriculture sector helps raise incomes, create employment opportunities, reduces poverty, and accounts for about 70% of employment opportunities in Kenya, Rwanda, and Uganda. Despite being a field vibrant with innovations driven by young people, those engaged in agriculture are typically elderly, and the number of youth with jobs in agriculture continues to drop. Why are young people shying away from agriculture? How can agriculture be made ‘cool’ for the youth? It’s your turn to have your say. Tell us, in no more than 500 words, what you see as opportunities for youth to prosper in agriculture and agro-business.
Now in its third year, the #Blog4Dev Contest is an ideas-sharing platform for youth in Kenya, Rwanda, and Uganda. This year, the World Bank wants you to share your thoughts on youth and agriculture.
For a chance to win a trip to Washington, D.C. in April 2017, discuss the following question in an original blog of no more than 500 words:
To farm or not to farm: What opportunities exist for youth to prosper in agriculture and agro-business?
Submit the blog post in English by January 15, 2017 here: Application
Must be a Kenyan, Rwandan or Ugandan citizen residing in your home country, and be aged between 18 and 28, and the blog post must be written in English.
What is mentoring?
Mentoring is most often defined as a professional relationship in which an experienced person
(the mentor) assists another (the mentee) in developing specific skills and knowledge that will
enhance the less-experienced person’s professional and personal growth.
It is no secret that Africa is known to be a vast portal for the production of endless treasures. These natural resources include diamonds, gold, oil, iron, copper, silver, petroleum, cocoa beans, as well as various tropical fruits. Although the continent known as the “motherland,” is rich in precious natural resources, Africa’s reality of being faced with a dire issue in relation to food resources and agricultural production needs, as well as water scarcity is becoming a serious concern for the ever growing population.
Due to the rising population of Africans steadily ballooning and said to expand on throughout the year 2050, the demand for educating the next generation of young African farmers in agriculture is ever growing. Organizations that will find the education of young African farmers on agriculture and the possibilities of using farm equipment such as tractors and other types of used farm machinery are starting to appear on the horizon.
Poverty in Africa slows the ability for easily accessing farming equipment such as tractors and other new technologies which can better assist farmers with yielding crops. For this reason, many African farmers who are able to obtain tractors and other farming equipment do so through the inheritance of family members or are else left to rely on DAP. To fight this problem, organizations have come together with partners in order to help assist with funding needed to provide young African farmers with farming machinery and the advanced technologies they need to fuel a new generation of successful farmers. Although many Africans still rely on the assistance of DAP, (Draught Animal Power) the demand to yield more crops at a faster rate encourages the need for more advanced and modern tools to speed the rapid need for crop renovation and rejuvenation. These new organizations and partnering foundations are helping to nurture the education and competence of a growing number of young male and even female African farmers which are steadily embarking on new ways to facilitate the needs of flourishing crops throughout Africa.
Farm Africa and the Importance of Chemical Sciences in Agriculture
Farm Africa is an organization that helps work in partnership with other powerful organizations such and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, The Ford Foundation, and The Rockefeller Foundation to work with smallholder farmers in order to provide education and used farm equipment to prepare young African farmers to thrive and propel in the agricultural field within the region of East Africa. Farm Africa’s objective is to improve crop production and harvesting, and help assist poor youth farmers with finding to help using tractors and other used farm machinery within Tanzania, Uganda, and Kenya.
The need for merging chemical sciences and agricultural arts for educating young African farmers is a ever increasing mission among Farm Africa and other partnering foundations/organizations who are aligned with this objective. Chemistry helps to better break down the knowledge of the agricultural ecosystem functions like nutrient cycles, helping to better explain interactions among species through bio-signalling. With this in mind, The PACN, (Pan Africa Chemistry Network) was established by the RSC and Syngenta to develop the administration of expanding knowledge of chemical sciences throughout Africa. The PACN currently works closely with Schools and Universities, scientists, teachers, and students alike in order to achieve this goal of educating new African Farmers everywhere. Together the PAN and the Federation of African Chemical Societies has established regional hubs in in both Kenya and Ethiopia, and continues to partner with others in their vision to develop and educate youth farmers throughout South Africa.
The AGRA (Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa)
The AGRA is a like-minded organization which addresses the changes in agricultural perspectives as well as agricultural technologies. The AGRA also assists with helping provide access to farm equipment and other farming technological tools such as GIS in order to better enhance the overall education of the business of agricultural financing and the marketplace. The program is hosted in Ghana through the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences in the Faculty Of Agriculture. This program can be found at KNUST,(The Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology.) Students within the regions of Ghana, Mali, Nigeria, Niger, directly benefit from the assistance of AGRA, which provides
courses with scientific training applications to expand education in properly monitoring soil processes, as well as effective solutions for water and soil management.
Elorm Allavi Of Syecomp for African Farmers
In Ghana Elorm Allavi the Chief Operations Manager and GIS specialist for Syecomp Business services in Accra, Ghana provides ICT services and global GIS services to help through his Syecomp program work with stakeholders including small to large farmers alike. Elorm Allavi has made an astonishing impression through his Syecomp with the impact of his education program and resources which equip young African farmers with the extensive knowledge they need in accordance with newly advanced technology which will allow them to compete in today’s modern agricultural business.
Though it is unclear how close Africa is to winning in the war to fight water scarcity and food crop decline, it is clear that with the power of organizations which utilize funding, farming machinery, and tools for educational developments on agriculture, that the promise of a new generation of capable African farmers is a vision that is slowly becoming fulfilled.
Are you an agro input dealer, farmer, NGO representative, processor, trader, buyer, agribusiness company executive, financial institution executive, representative from a research institution, academia or policy maker? If so, then you should apply for the Agribusiness Management Master Class before 19th September (East Africa) and 27th October, 2014 (Southern Africa). To register, download registration forms from http://ow.ly/Arino
As in any business you want to venture in, you need to do your research before embarking on rabbit farming. As noted before, rabbits come in different breeds and sizes. There are those that take up to six months to mature and those that take up to two months to mature. The California White matures quickly and reaches up to five kilograms in weight. Learn about rabbit habits so that you will be able to quickly notice if anything is amiss or if your rabbit is uncomfortable. Learn about diseases and what to do in case your rabbit becomes sick. Learn how to differentiate male and female rabbits and how to know if your rabbit is pregnant.
Rabbits reproduce at a first rate as their gestation period is just 30 days. This means that they can give birth up to ten times in a year. However, caution should be taken to allow your rabbits a period of rest in between giving birth. They can give birth to up to ten rabbits; therefore, a serious rabbit farmer has to prepare housing beforehand. Do not start with a large number of rabbits if you are new to the business. You can start with one male and one female and expand as they grow.
It is vital to build several cages for your rabbits so as to avoid inbreeding. Inbreeding causes production to go down. Each rabbit that gives birth should be kept in a cage with its children and once the children are of age, you need to separate them and find them their own cages so that they can start their own family. Remember to adhere to the space rules required for rabbits so as not to keep them in debilitating conditions.
While rabbits can be housed on the ground, it is prudent to keep them in raised cages that use wire mesh. This will enable you to easily keep the cages clean as the waste falls through the wire mesh. It is also advisable that you position the cages in such a way that you will be able to collect the urine as this can later be sold instead of going to waste.
Keep accurate records
Ensure that you keep accurate records of the rabbits in your care. Keeping records will enable you to notice any anomalies such as a rabbit that is not good at reproducing or a rabbit that has developed carnivorous habits or rabbits that are dwarfs in size. It will also enable you choose which rabbits should be kept to continue the line and which should be sold for meat. Keeping accurate records is very useful when it comes to breeding as you should be able to prepare a litter box for a rabbit that is about to give birth and you will also know when to do the breeding.
Rabbits enjoy eating dry grass and green vegetation that can be found easily in the environment. They also enjoy vegetables such as cabbages and can eat things like maize, banana and cassava peels and ugali. If you are planning on going large scale, you should plant grass and stock up on dry grass to provide nutrition in the dry season. Also try to experiment on various growing plants. Rabbits are usually very careful not to eat anything that can harm them so you will quickly be able to discern if your rabbits like a particular food or not. So basically, finding food for your rabbits should not be difficult. Ensure that you also give them water to drink as part of their diet.
Hygiene and prevention of disease
When you embark on rabbit farming, you should take the prevention of diseases seriously. Disease outbreaks can occur in a region, and this could cause havoc to your rabbit farming venture. However, if you develop a habit of disinfecting before handling rabbits, your rabbits will be free from disease. Do not allow anyone to enter the rabbit houses before disinfecting as this can lead to your rabbits becoming sick. You can put a container with the disinfectant just outside the door so that those who go in can quickly step on the disinfectant before entering.
Rabbits are kept for their meat, manure and fur. These are all products that are beneficial and can provide you with a regular source of income. Collect rabbit manure instead of letting things like urine go to waste. You can decide to sell the rabbits whole various businessmen (this is a good way for those who do not want to be involved with slaughtering). Hotels especially those frequented by Chinese would also be a good place to sell your rabbits as rabbit eating is nothing new to them.
Or, you can sell directly to customers or to butcheries. There are also many people who keep rabbits as pets that would benefit from your rabbits. With a mature rabbit going from shs2000-shs 2500, you can indeed reap a lot from rabbit farming. Schools are also a good place to sell your rabbits as most students look for activities to do in their school clubs, and rabbit keeping does not inconvenience them. So why not make rabbit farming provide you with a source of income?
Plan for expansion
This is a point that cannot be overemphasized. Rabbits breed at a fast rate. When you start with two rabbits, you can get up to 80 rabbits by the end of the year. And the next year would lead to more rabbits as the younger rabbits mature and give birth to their own rabbits. Many farmers utilize space wisely by stacking up cages. This ensures they use only a small amount of space for their rabbit farming business.
Use social media
Internet marketing is a tool that Kenyan farmers should not ignore. It is relatively cheap and it brings great results that will enable you to continue to benefit from your rabbit farming business. The future of rabbit farming is great in Kenya. When done well, rabbit farming has the potential to change livelihoods and employ many Kenyans. So let rabbit farming become a source of revenue for you. It is a fairly easy venture to pull off and its returns are awesome!
The Future of Agriculture Lies in the Hands of the Youth……..