Let’s get some perspective.
60% of Africa’s population is aged below 24 years. With 1.26 billion people on this continent, that means at least 756 million are within this age bracket. This figure translates to around 240 Nairobis.
It is a huge number of young people, don’t you think? According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), it is expected that there are about 74.2 million unemployed youth. This represents a 3.8 million increase from 2007 to present.
What is even more shocking is that the average age of a farmer in Kenya stands at 60 years old. Seems like young people are not interested in farming. Why so?
Growing up in the city, it never crossed my mind that I’d one day end up on a farm. It was never advocated. The careers floated by my parents were “prestigious” ones. Farming was never seen as a rewarding career path.
It is ironic that we eat more than 3 times a day yet don’t consider farming to be lucrative. Many parents and Kenyan youth still chase white collar jobs.
I have no objection to that.
However, universities are churning out thousands of graduates every year. Yet, the job market offers few employment opportunities. As such, it is important that you, as youth, are flexible to ride on any opportunity that presents itself.
One such opportunity is agriculture. Farmers are making a fortune out here. This is a no-brainer since, again, we eat at least 3 times a day. For example, one household uses at least 3 tomatoes in a single meal. How many tomatoes do you think are needed in a single day in Nairobi alone?
When my mother and I started serious farming, it hit me that this is actually a rewarding venture. If done right, the possibilities are endless. You could start your own export company, develop niche-products and provide employment to others. If you are looking for a rewarding venture, I would gladly urge you to consider farming.
Just like any job out there, farming requires passion. If you are not passionate about it, you will quit the first time you fail. There are so many disappointments on a farm, just so you know.
One costly mistake people make is naive calculations of profits expected, after a harvest, based on someone else’s success. This means that you are into farming because you saw someone else do it and make it. The problem with that is that if you fail once, you will not try again because you are not passionate. Time and effort are very key in the sector.
You need to understand that farming is a business that requires research, such as visiting other successful farms, taking advantage of agricultural forums amd trainings.
Light at the end of the tunnel
Recently, there has been a mass entry of young Kenyans into farming. This is an encouraging move considering that our folks are getting older. Young guys are quitting office jobs for the hoe. As much as that is encouraging, it should also be carefully thought through.
I say so because young people in Kenya are being urged into farming with the catchphrase “let’s go back to farming”. I say we were simply never there in the first place.3