So why Agriculture? Tell you what? Forget oil and the recent crush in the price of corn…he who owns the global food supply chain will run the world over the next half century reason being the consumption of food is growing in tandem with the expanding global population amidst shrinking agricultural land. Actually folks in Kenya are notorious for turning agricultural land into flats for rent. China recently relaxed its one child policy with the view of scrapping it in future; the policy change by the Chinese just mean one thing…millions of babies will be born in the next decade. I also expect Western and Asian countries such as Japan to come up with radical policies to reverse their aging populations which leads to me to one thing, the global population growth rate could accelerate over the coming decades. So who is going to feed all this new babies if potential bread baskets like Kenya are neglecting Agriculture? The weather or rains have also become erratic which means any drought in any of the Worlds bread baskets could result in a global food crises like in 2008 or 2011.
Agriculture to me is a 3 way play for Kenya
- It will create jobs-semi intensive not highly mechanized agriculture since the amount of oil needed to run machinery in a highly mechanized agriculture set up could worsen Kenya’s already precarious current account deficit. My take is if Kenya can create mini farms in each county where youth are given incentives to produce….I tend to think Kenya could have taken 3 steps of unraveling its youth unemployment situation. It takes one person at Ihub to produce software but it will take at least 5 youth to produce 90 liters a day on a dairy farm.
- Foreign Exchange earner-Apart from creating much needed jobs I tend to think an agricultural revolution where Kenya is producing enough to feed itself and eventually exports could earn Kenya Billions in Foreign exchange (Forex), already tea and coffee are Kenya’s biggest forex earners at the moment.
- Ripple effect-the impact on other sectors of the economy could be enornomous i.e. Nairobi could be home to one of the biggest fertilizer factories in Africa feeding this new agriculture revolution, what about the feed manufacturers? These factories could in turn employ more youth. Let’s not forget the services and banking sectors who could also be beneficiaries of this new agriculture wave.
Ah I know what you were going to tell me next…you were most likely to say that Kenyan youth are shunning Agriculture for the “cool” tech and finance jobs, I think I will disagree with you on that because I know a few friends who have gone into rabbit and quall egg farming because they heard there is a lot of money being made there so perhaps someone needs to start promoting Agriculture in a better way; more youth will catch on!