Leaders advised to make agriculture ‘sexy’ to woo youth

Karen Kandie of Industrial Development Bank with Robert Waihumbu Ngang'a of IDB Capital at the 14th CII-Exim Bank Conclave on India-Africa Project Partnership at the Taj Palace Hotel in New Dehli. [Stephen Muthui, Standard]

Making agriculture “sexy’’ is the only way to entice the millions of jobless and educated youth, experts say.

 Jack Beyer, the marketing director of agricultural machinery manufacturer, told business and government leaders at the 14th CII-Exim Bank Conclave on India-Africa Project Partnership held in New Delhi that rebranding farming is the only way to create employment in the sector, particularly in Africa and Asia. He gave an example of an ageing Narok-based farmer who was quite frustrated by his son’s lack of interest in his big farm despite being highly educated.

The firm, Mr Beyer said, helped the family adopt technology in their operations which immediately drew the graduate back to the farm to take over from his father. “Production even in smallholders farms increases by up to 200 per cent by use of mechanisation in the same piece of land, seed and fertiliser,” he said.

The conference provides an opportunity for Indian and African governments as well as industry to meet and explore new avenues of partnerships.

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It also takes stock of the progress of current partnerships and addresses future needs.

This year’s meeting heard that using mobile apps and smart farming technologies to monitor the whole production chain enables farmers to reduce losses, making the venture more attractive. Leaders were urged to involve universities in agricultural projects so as to attract the youth to farming at an early age.

Kesses MP Swaroop Mishra told Indian investors to exploit the great human resource in Kenya to start agri-processing factories. Karen Kandie of Industrial Development Bank of Kenya said the county needs to attract capital in agro-processing.

“We waste a lot of food after harvesting then we end up importing so much later,” she said.

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