In a move to signal the confidence the Government has in agriculture, President Uhuru Kenyatta plans to launch the good old 4K Clubs in schools next month.
The President will on June 4 this year officially launch the 4-K Clubs in an event that will be attended by various Governors, key stakeholders, invited students and other dignitaries. The high-profile event will take place at the ASK Show Grounds along Ngong' Road, in Nairobi.
The 4Ks stood for Kuungana, Kufanya, Kusaidia Kenya in Kiswahili, a clarion call to help the country be food secure.
For most Kenyans who grew up in the 80s and 90s, the term ‘4-K Clubs’ is one that evokes nostalgic memories and brings to mind a movement that enabled hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of Kenyans to have a basic introduction to farming concepts at primary school level.
The students were taught the basics of farming like crop production, pests and weed control and animal management skills among other critical life skills.
Using school gardens, pupils were taught how to tend to crops and rear animals. These clubs, however, died off in the late 1990s.
Signalling a ray of hope, in February 2021, the Cabinet, chaired by the President, approved the revival of the 4-K Clubs.
According to a Ministry statement, the return of the 4-K Clubs will focus on the value chains in the agricultural activities and include other thematic areas namely environmental conservation, healthy living and nutrition, civic engagement, and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (Stem).
Additionally, the 4-K Clubs will provide a holistic approach to positive youth development at home, school and the community by building on the strength of the youth as active agents to community development.
Taking cognizance of the importance of agriculture to the country’s economy, the significance of creating interest in children to involve themselves in agriculture and related activities from an early age cannot be overstated.
Enhancing the practice of agriculture as a skill through the 4-K Clubs will go hand in hand with the newly rolled out Competence Based Curriculum (CBC).
Agriculture, however, is not part of the 8-4-4 curriculum in primary schools currently and is an optional subject in high school.
But the revival of the clubs will shape the youth to exploit agricultural space to become agribusiness savvy, professionals, trainers and mentors along the value chains thereby transforming the Agriculture sector.
The Government is committed to supporting schools in rolling out the 4-K Clubs countrywide. This initiative is in line with the Big 4 Agenda, particularly with regard to food and nutrition security and seeks to incorporate children participation in its roll out and implementation.
The average age of a farmer in Kenya is 58 years, and majority of young people still shy away from taking up agriculture because it is seen as less rewarding compared to white collar jobs.
Make farming attractive
But with this bold step, the narrative is set to change as the Government seeks to interest more young people in agriculture.
An upcoming generation of young people interested in pursuing agriculture and related fields as a career path, means the realisation of a future that is food secure, and one with improved nutrition and access to healthy food, can only mean good things for us as a nation.
In a previous interview with the media, Prof Ruth Oniang’o, an agriculturalist and a nutritionist, said she believed that the country needs to reintroduce the 4K Clubs in schools if it is to be food sufficient.
“4K Club is what moulded my career in early life,” she is quoted saying Prof Oniang’o.
Oniang’o added that 4 K Clubs work well because most public primary schools have farm land which they can use to promote agriculture, build future leadership and instil a sense of humility and servant-hood in learners.
Despite the collapse of the clubs, some schools have continued with the programme in a bid to create the next generation of young farmers.Some of the popular school farm projects include vegetable farming and rabbit keeping.
Sh700m Kajiado modern market funded by State and World Bank is ready for use