In this two part series, we look at the importance of agribusiness entrepreneurship to Kenya’s economic prospects. The first question to answer is why the Government should direct effort to this in the country.
Truth be told, there’s a toxic atmosphere regarding expectations Kenyans hold for their country. The bombastic promises listed before the elections have not been met. But this misses the forest for the trees. There’s a strategy in motion and the resilient Kenyans should show confidence in it. This strategy should put agribusiness entrepreneurship at the forefront.
Agribusiness is part of that crucial sector of our economy that is agriculture. It is the biggest contributor to Kenya’s GDP. Agriculture has been getting prominence in our psych but there’s still a great hollow to fill in realizing its full potential.
Foremost, it is yet to be embraced by the youth. On top of this, it has not been promoted by as much verve as you would expect from a country of our standing. What this reveals is, perhaps, a lack of appreciation as to just how important and transformative agriculture and agribusiness is to our aspirations.
Most importantly, agribusiness will help us deal with the issue of food security. It is necessary that our agricultural capacity is utilized in the most optimal manner. Off the bat, we have a sector like horticulture using up a lot of water at the expense of food on the table. We have also developed a craze to speculate with and build on our most fertile lands.
Secondly, agribusiness is critical to tackling poverty in rural areas. Poverty among women in rural areas is the highest in the country. This poverty also presents itself as lack of opportunities for youth in rural areas. This develops into rural-urban migration that is draining rural areas and choking, poorly planned, urban areas.
Promotion of agribusiness in rural areas will keep young people rooted at home as they find opportunity is decentralized from Nairobi CBD. Rural development, through agribusiness entrepreneurship, is one of the core ways of dealing with unemployment. It’s at the same standing as labour intensive manufacturing.
This inadvertently realizes the goals of devolution. I do not need to spell out the gains of actually sharing the national cake. Instead of stressing on the political consequence of which county to pick for national development; the Government can direct resources and regulation to creating an enabling environment for agribusiness.
It’s no coincidence that the Asian Tigers had agriculture as the first step. Or that Europe and America, earlier, underwent Agrarian revolution. The wheel cannot be reinvented. On the next part you will read on the “how” of promoting agribusiness entrepreneurship in Kenya.