Carole is an expert writer for hire who loves all things farming.
Viability of Agribusiness in Kenya
Agribusiness is the engaging in farming with the sole purpose of earning good returns. This is to say that Agriculture is practiced from a practical perspective with a clear end goal. Agribusiness is a thriving venture whose benefits stand out.
As long as one is ready to roll up their sleeves, work hard, be street-smart, and very patient; the rewards from Agribusiness are real. One needs to be good at planning, organizing and record keeping.
For a viable Agribusiness venture, ensure you
- know your target market
- strategize well in advance
- have good land management practices
- are persistent and focused
- organize good cash flow
- understand your minimum production level
Top Trends in Agribusiness | 2021
Agribusiness is the backbone of any country as it affects national and global economies. Here are important trends to watch in the agricultural sector in 2021:
Organic farming: where there is no use of chemicals
More young farmers: many school ad college graduates are joining the agriculture sector because it is rewarding if you understand ho it works
Sustainable farming: which aims at lowering pollution levels and encouraging people to embrace healthier diets
Crop monitoring technology: use of drones, computer apps, and smartphone sensors in simplifying farming processes
Vertical farming: popular in urban areas with limited spaces where different crops are grown by stacking them above each other
The Benefits of Agribusiness
Agribusiness is very important to our contemporary society just as it was in the olden days. The importance of Agriculture can be seen in every sector such as our economy, education, and environment.
Here are 5 benefits of Agribusiness:
1. Solves the problem of unemployment
Fresh graduates have realized that getting white collar jobs is becoming increasingly difficult. Rather than keep on hoping, searching, and waiting, many have embraced Agribusiness either on land owned by their parents or on leased land.
Many are the breakthrough success stories for those who have chosen this path (example below). I remember keeping myself busy by farming on my parents' land soon after completing high school. This was the gap year as I waited to join college.
I grew tomatoes and zucchini that yielded a bumper harvest. I was able to earn a tidy sum from the sale of my harvest. Throughout college, whenever we were on long holidays, I would grow a crop that would mature in three to six months.
During most of those college years, I grew carrots as they were easy to maintain and did not take a long time to grow. I have continued farming to date. Most fresh graduates and school leavers nowadays opt to do agribusiness because of the profits they realize within a short time. It has resulted in a continuous income stream.
2. Leads to bumper harvests
Agribusiness is a move away from traditional farming patterns and practices. It discourages the growing of the same crops year in year out. Farmers are now diversifying and experimenting with new crops in regions they were not grown before.
Take the case of the farmers in Nyanza province (Kenya) who decided grow melons in an area chiefly known for cassava and sweet potatoes. The outcome was a huge harvest that translated to huge profits. This boosted their confidence and they now encourage their neighbors to experiment with new crops.
3. Encourages different farming approaches
As agribusiness takes shape in society, some farmers are choosing not to grow a variety of crops on their pieces of land. Instead, they are concentrating on one crop that they have identified, researched and tested. They focus on this one crop after having identified their market such that as soon as they harvest, they transport their produce and get paid promptly.
An example is farmer X from western Kenya who chose to grow only groundnuts in an area commonly known for cassava, sorghum, sugarcane, maize and cow peas. She had thoroughly done her research and discovered that people in that region grew groundnuts on a very small scale.
So she identified her niche market in Nairobi, negotiated the price per bag and embarked on planting them on a large scale. She earned a tidy sum from her first harvest and was motivated to expand her groundnut farm from one acre to five acres.
Note that, even with such large scale farming, the land is left to recover after two or three years continuous farming.
4. Emphasizes the use of technology (digital farming) which eliminates middlemen
Technology has played a crucial role in getting farmers to take agribusiness seriously. Many farmers have suffered in the hands of middlemen for the longest time; earning peanuts while the middlemen reap where they did not sow.
Farmers embracing technology are now able to use the many applications that have been developed to directly market their produce, thus cutting out middlemen. This results in a satisfied farmer whose efforts are well compensated.
The apps used are either crop-specific or animal-specific. Records of crops that can be tracked by these apps include:
- planting period
- application of manure/fertilizer
- general care to ward off pests
The animal apps enable farmers to keep records of when animals were purchased/bought,growth rate, weight, health and output (dairy, meat, fleece etc). Examples of these apps include iCow, M-Shamba, Mbegu Choice, M-Farm and VetAfrica.
Farmers from all over the world are also able to interact with the Kenyan/African farmers on social media platforms and share their insights, provide/receive advice and encourage one another.
These platforms also provide the real pricing of farming produce and where to market one's goods. Some farming groups on social media include: Farmlink, AgriProFocus, Kenya Small Scale Farmers Forum and several Facebook groups like Digital Farmers Kenya.
5. Receives supported from many non-governmental organizations (NGOs)
NGOs boost farmers in many ways through training them on the latest and best farming techniques and practices. They offer regular workshops where all participants brainstorm issues affecting them.
Some organizations provide farmers with inputs like seeds and fertilizers. Others offer incentives to those who follow and implement what they learn in the training seminars. Examples of these NGOs include One Acre Fund, World Vision, AgroKenya, World Concern International, AgriProFocus Kenya, Farm Africa, Women in Modern Agriculture and SNV Netherlands.
Disadvantages of Agribusiness
You could be wondering, "Are there any disadvantages of farming?" Yes, there are. This section looks into some of them.
Agribusiness is prone with risks because it mostly relies on the weather which tends to be unpredictable. The current climate changes have increased the risks as the planting and harvesting seasons are affected.
We have also seen insect infestations that are still underway in various parts of the world. The most notable are the locusts which interfere with crops and therefore affect harvests.
2. Fertilizer and pesticide use
Some of those who engage in agribusiness want to maximize their yields and so use a lot of chemicals to achieve this. It is not only harmful to the soil but also to humans who end up consuming the food.
Agribusiness encourages mechanization which reduces the number of workers who can directly benefit from such ventures.
4. Structures affect performance
If systems and structures are not thoughtfully put in place, they can affect performance and may lead to losses.
5. Unfair competition
Individuals find that they are competing in agribusiness with large corporations which gives them an unfair advantage. This is in terms of product pricing, negotiation of input prices, and workers (people prefer working for companies rather than individuals).
Sectors of Agribusiness
Agribusiness is a broad field that is divided into three sectors that are inter-related. These are
- agribusiness input services: comprises people and resources that enable production of farm yields. they include farmers, farmhands, seeds, fertilizers, and machinery
- agribusiness output services: involves people and processes that take place after harvesting until the products reach the consumer. For instance, transport, sale, storage, and inspection
- agriservices: these are support activities that make farming experiences better. They consist of research in food production or marketing and farmer production among others
It is worth trying agribusiness if you have the passion or some sort of interest as the rewards are plentiful. Apart from harvesting and selling, consider value-addition in farming to maximize your returns. As mentioned above, you do not have to own land. You can use idle land belonging to your parents or close relatives.
You could lease land at affordable rates payable annually. You could also use that small space in your plot of land in the urban area . Start small and see what works for you and what improvements need to be made regularly.
- Kenya: Meet Nakku Justine, A 25 Year Old Multi-Millionaire Farmer That Gets Things Done Herself! &am
Success stories about young farmers
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2019 Carole Mireri
Carole Mireri (author) on November 20, 2019:
Well said, Njoroge. Our fresh graduates need to be sensitized on this.
Njoroge Kang'iri on November 20, 2019:
Agribusiness is the way to go especially for a country like Kenya. With the ever growing technology it can be digitalized to make it easier.
Robert Sacchi on May 17, 2019:
Carole Mireri (author) on May 17, 2019:
Yes indeed, Robert. Thank you for taking your time here.
Robert Sacchi on May 16, 2019:
Time will tell.
Carole Mireri (author) on May 16, 2019:
Well, the most successful ones will either expand their farms or buy their own land if they had leased. They may venture out to other fields like real estate, transport( buying trucks, buses or lorries), hospitality and just about anything. Trust me. Talk about not putting your eggs in one basket!
Robert Sacchi on May 15, 2019:
It is an interesting development to watch. Will the most successful ones expand their farms and become the rich people of the next generation?
Carole Mireri (author) on May 15, 2019:
Yes it is Robert. There are many fresh graduates taking this route.
Robert Sacchi on May 15, 2019:
This is an interesting article about the growing interest in agrobusiness in Kenya.