Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Innovation is Running the Agribusiness Industry in Kenya

Farming in Kenya is no longer a preserve of the poor subsistence farmer in the rural set-up. Young people have turned to agriculture as a way of earning an income. In the past, food production has been limited to producing just enough to feed the family and maybe selling the surplus to raise school fees for the children. The young people in Kenya, on the other hand, are taking farming as a business. Reducing production costs, getting high returns, and solving issues to do with reaching the marketplace on time are on top of their list. Many graduates are snubbing formal employment to try their hand at farming, and many are reaping the fruits of their labor and smiling all the way to the bank.

As you can imagine, innovation has taken center stage to cater to these budding entrepreneurs. No longer is land just being marketed as land. Players in the real estate sector have come up with products tailor-made to attract the youth. Most of the land being sold in the country is coming with the option of having a greenhouse set up and managed such that you get additional income even as you plan your next move. You, therefore, earn from farming without worrying about your purchased land lying idle as you plan your finances.

Banking Innovation
Banks have not been left behind. In the past five years, almost all banks in the country have come up with a banking product targeted at the young farmers.  Agricultural loans are now a normal feature in the banking industry yet it was unheard of before. But what would you do as a bank if more and more young people are walking into your banking halls asking for agricultural loans? After turning away these youthful farmers for years, the banking sector had to tow the line since they were losing money. A banking product for these youth had to be created since they lost most of them to saccos that were willing to fund their agricultural ventures.

Insurance Innovation
Do you know that for the longest time no insurance company offered insurance products to serve Kenyan farmers and this resulted in massive losses for the farmer in case of droughts and floods? The young, educated farmer demanded insurance for their crops and animals just like any other business. Insurance firms had to listen since the amount of money flowing in the agricultural sector could no longer be ignored. 

Technology for Agriculture
Technology has not been left behind either. Apps for marketing agricultural produce and linking farmers with information on the weather and other such factors are now available on the phone. Farmers now have access to crucial information that could affect their farming ventures. They are also able to eliminate middlemen and reach the market directly which earns them more returns. Apart from individual apps, social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and the likes are being utilized by the Kenyan farmer to reach their markets not only within Kenya but across the globe.

Investing in agriculture in Kenya right now is a great move. There are risks involved just as in all other businesses, but agribusiness has never been this vibrant in the country before. The government has even stepped in to encourage the private sector to invest more in the agricultural sector.

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