For many years, farming activities were left for the select few. Children who grew up in homes where farming activities took place could not wait to leave for the city in search of lucrative white-collar jobs. It was the only way to develop, or so it was thought. Today, many people are looking at the potential of agribusiness and are opting to leave the once lucrative jobs. What has brought this change in attitude?
Introduction of new highly sought-after foods and fruits
Gone are the days when all you could see in farms were maize, beans, potatoes and vegetables. Today you will find farmers planting foods that fall under the category of “superfoods”. Many Kenyans are becoming more health conscious and there has been an increased production of foods that help them achieve their goals as far as health is concerned. This demand has led many of those in agribusiness to consider growing foods that were never grown before but are highly demanded today. They include chia seeds, flax seeds, hibiscus, celery and many more. These are also favored because they are harvested within a short time. There are also unique fruits such as the Pepino which were not known a few years back but are highly priced and demanded today.
A few years ago, greenhouses in Kenya were seen to be useful only for those practicing horticulture. Today, greenhouses have become popular in urban and rural areas. Those who used to concentrate on growing maize have today diversified by including other crops like tomatoes and vegetables. The popularity of green houses has grown because of improved technology that gives one control. Changing weather patterns have become increasingly frustrating for those practicing farming. Introduction of greenhouses was a game changer for many as now they were in charge of the conditions in the greenhouse. Irrigation is also inexpensive as evaporation is no longer an issue. The positive impact of greenhouses encouraged and continues to encourage more people to go into agribusiness.
Improved breeds of animals
Dairy milk is the one that is most consumed by many households in Kenya. It is estimated that the annual milk production in Kenya is 5.2billion litres. This meets the local demand and leaves some for export. Some farmers have invested in cows that produce up to 40 or 50 litres a day. This, of course, means the feeding costs go up. However, the returns are worth it and many have been encouraged to go into dairy farming because of demand, but also because of the improved breeds of mil producing cows.
Employment opportunities are not increasing at the same rate at which population is. Every year there are graduates who are released to an insufficient job market. The frustration of the educated missing employment opportunities has led many to try their hand in farming and it has paid off. Many graduates no longer look at dirt as poverty, but it has now become an opportunity to earn a decent living.