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Why rebirth of 4K Clubs excites many veterans

4K Club members of St Michael Primary School in Embu County tend cabbages at a garden in the school compound. [Joseph Muchiri, Standard]

Dear Daktari

I like how you use this platform to create awareness on various issues in agriculture. Before my retirement, I was an agriculture teacher and 4K Club patron in various schools. I was delighted when it took the highest office on the land to relaunch this great movement that served to make us fall in love with agriculture. I hope that there is a deliberate plan to ensure that this will not die again.  [Silas Wamukota, Bungoma County]

Thanks, Mr Wamukota for reaching out. I also have fond memories of the 4-K Club in primary and secondary school. As a student at St Peter's Mumias Primary School, we had a passionate agriculture and science teacher by the name of Lithala who also doubled up as our patron for the 4-K Club.

Thanks to 4K Clubs, children's evenings after school were spent feeding rabbits and counting our doves. This act inculcated in us the love for animals, plants and the environment.

At St Mary’s Yala Secondary School, our agriculture teacher and 4K Club patron was one Mr Arombe. If there is a subject I was cocksure of not dropping; it was agriculture. It expounded on the knowledge we had acquired at primary school. Learning that sweet potatoes was scientifically called Ipomea batatas, Maize Zay Mais and Zebu cattle -Bos inducus and understanding a little more about photosynthesis and reproduction cycle in animals injected in us a sense of pride as agriculture students.

After my Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education examinations, I successfully did tomato and pig farming; earning some good money. With this income I bought a sizeable Sony radio-cassette, some fine apparels – second hand Tokyo and Savco jeans trousers and had enough petty cash to visit John Njoroge, George Opil and Dennis Solika – my childhood friends who lived villages away. This great love for agriculture led me to choose an undergraduate degree in veterinary medicine at the University of Nairobi. Throughout the course my mind wondered into the future – how I was going to support livestock farmers. l loved and I still love agriculture.

Fond memories

I am sure this script applies to many in my age group and it goes long way in showing how modeling works. Schools are breeding grounds for many life skills that later turn into our professions and clubs like 4K Club.

The death of 4K Club in the late 90s was therefore a sad thing to many. The relaunch of the 4K Club by President Uhuru Kenyatta excited many a heart. So great was excitement that on my own accord I visited Kilimo House to find out more about its rebirth.

I was pleasantly excited to find that one of my Agricultural Information and Communication masters student at the University of Nairobi - Jane Njeru was in charge of 4K Club communications at the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Cooperatives.  And yes, there are elaborate plans in the relaunched 4K Club. Key among them being institutionaliasing 4K Clubs in the counties and National governments, private sector and development partners. With this commitment, I am sure 4K Clubs will not die again.

[The writer is a veterinary surgeon and the head of communications at the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) Kenya. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of FAO but his own]

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