MOST youths’ perception of agriculture and agribusiness reflects the image of a dirty, exhausted poor farmer carrying a rusty hoe on puffy, tired shoulders somewhere on the outskirts of modernity.
This old-fashioned guy is not conceivably on Snapchat, Twitter, or Instagram. Perhaps this is the reason farming is not “cool” to young people? Nonetheless, since young people enjoy eating food, in an equal measure they must partake in the production of food—growing it, investing in it, producing it, processing it, packaging it, distributing it, marketing it, and sustaining it.
What an exciting time! Massive technologies and markets present farming with opportunities. More to the point, challenges facing agriculture and agribusiness offer creative minds similar advantages.
Advanced, user-friendly apps that link farmers to consumers are lacking. Websites, magazines, newspapers, and books offering agriculture and agribusiness information are scarce.
Yet they are necessary: agriculture- and agribusiness-related training centres need to be set up for new entrants. Storage facilities are in high demand but largely unavailable. Crop and seed selection mechanisms need innovation. Effective land preparation and efficient irrigation services are not enough to meet demand. Factories for food processing and packaging are scarce. Distribution channels and marketing need a boost. And did you know that consumers of agricultural products would pay for consumption guidance?
Imagine that we probably don’t even have young agricultural researchers! In terms of transport, farmers continue to wait for the day an entrepreneur makes refrigerated trailers abundant.
In Information Technology, farmers want to possess a mobile device to enable them to track down the growth of their crops, spot possible crop threats beforehand, and be able to perform basic work on their farms, all while enjoying the comfort of their homes.
Take this example; in Rwanda, many consumers of traditional beverages, namely “Urwarwa” (produced out of ripe bananas), and “Ikigage, Ubushera, Umusururu” (produced out of sorghum) have given up drinking their favourite beverages because of the basic way they are produced, packaged, and can’t be stored. Isn’t this a huge opportunity for young creative minds out there?
Just come up with innovative methods to better produce, suitably package, and efficiently store and market the above traditional beverages. A cooperative of ten youths should undertake this opportunity. Success is guaranteed!
Take this example. After graduating from Mount Kenya University, Gerald Mutema decided to start a piggery with five pigs on an investment of 500,000 Rwandan francs ($590). According to his calculations, by the end of next year, the pigs will have grown to number a thousand and be making him millions of francs in revenue.
I hereby press the call-to-action button. I challenge you to pause and reflect a while on this enlightening question: if agriculture were one among us, if we let her die, what will happen to us?
Do you see how the survival of humanity depends on the survival of farming? If you care strongly enough for your children and their grandchildren, now is the time to engage in agriculture and agribusiness.