Days after an African agricultural revolution was proclaimed in Nairobi, talk must end and action embarked on. Unless we embrace a radical mindset, farming will continue to be confined to rural folks who constitute 70 per cent of farmers in Africa.
We must stop burying our heads in the sand, like the proverbial ostrich, and begin to take care of the current food deficit by targeting the low-hanging fruits which must start by sorting out the soil health issues.
While at it, we must then take care of the fertiliser problem once and for all because it is the reason for the percentage drop in yields.Fattening the middleman must end. If Nigeria won the fertiliser war, why can’t we? We know the multiplier effects of fertiliser on farming are greater than anything else.
More importantly let’s make it sexier by injecting vigour and youthfulness into agriculture.If part of the billions set aside by the Agriculture Green Revolution Forum is used to change mindsets, the future will be assured.
It is time to take the example of M-PESA and beam its impact on agriculture. The sector is a goldmine of opportunities and the multiplier effects of information technology right from planting, harvesting, post harvesting and after sales services, constituting a multibillion economy waiting to be tapped.
Several opportunities are waiting to be unlocked in what would give the sector a solid foundation for job creation employing millions of Kenyans as Mfarmers or back office farmers.
One doesn’t have to be a farmer to add value to the sector. Investments in technology, especially ICT, will go a long way in opening new opportunities that can widen agriculture’s input to the economy.
Such moves will encourage the youth to take part in the sector and help tap the 70 per cent currently left to peasants and the old.Did you know you can simply become a farmer by acquiring a greenhouse for Sh100,000 – an automatic one for that matter?
If you have a CCTV that beams information to a smartphone, you can actually be an M-farmer from the comfort of your 8am to 5pm job. In any case, it seems agriculture is the only side-hustle which employers don’t consider an abomination – going by the amazing narratives from the police vetting exercise.