Why Technology is Critical in Agribusiness Development
With the population of Kenya increasingly getting immersed into technology, innovators with the support of donor agencies and facilitators are beginning to tap into the agriculture sector with a bid to diversify food production, either for commercial purposes or home use.
The focus has majorly shifted to rural areas which are the bedrock of the country’s agricultural produce. The innovators are increasingly targeting small-scale farmers with a hope to see a positive impact on job creation, food security and GDP growth in Kenya.
Google Kenya in partnership with One Acre Fund, for instance, recently launched their plans to train 100,000 stallholder farmers in digital skills through a Sh100 million grant. The training is expected to benefit the farmers by providing products as well as services that would help them digitize their agricultural operations.
In Makueni, the German Development Corporation in a partnership with GIZ, KCB Foundation, and the County Government has also set up to train youths in the county on hydroponics technology. This type of farming is a subset of hydroculture where plants are grown in a soilless ground using only a mineral nutrient solution in a water solvent.
The training, which will involve about 150 youths aged 18 to 35 years, is expected to equip them with skills on the production of leafy vegetables, strawberries, livestock fodder, tomatoes among other food crops. It will support the youth to engage in food and nutrition security projects as part of the government’s Big Four Agenda.
Apart from facilitating the production of food crops, technology has also provided an avenue for marketing and sale of the food products. There are testimonies of youths who are now able to sell their food products at the comfort of their homes, cutting on expenses that they would otherwise accrue in renting stalls.
Rosemary Mukhangabwe from Embakasi estate, Nairobi, is one such example, who sells fishing using WhatsApp. The daughter of Busia County joined a WhatsApp group in her neighborhood where she also sells fruits.
“I post the stock I have, which I store in my fridge in my house. Members and buyers come for them, or I deliver,” says Rosemary.
Rosemary buys fish from a group of youths from her rural home under an agreement and travels to back to Nairobi where she posts pictures of her stock in three WhatsApp groups where she belongs. She stores the fish in ice boxes from Busia and keeps them in her home refrigerator.
“I sell the fish from my house at between Sh250 and Sh650. If I were to do business the conventional way, I would have had to rent a stall, pay licensing fees and market levies, which are huge business costs,” she narrates.
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