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Teen farmers are just as cool

Gone are the days when farming was a career for the old and the broke. Technology has made farming easier and fun and more young people are getting on board with it. The upside is that there will always be a demand for food and you can also combine your varied interests to add value to the farmers around you. The downside is that it takes much more then planting a seedling or buying a chick to get you started.

To engage in Agribusiness you will need;

Step 1: Passion; It must be what you really want to do. Farming has a lot of risks and your success lies in your ambition and perseverance. You should be happy to wake up every morning to go to the farm.

Step 2: Information; Information is strength. Find out as much as you can about the crops or animals you want to nurture.  For example, if you want to grow maize, you must know the available varieties, the kind of soil you will need, possible diseases to look out for and even the exiting players in the markets.

Step 3: Market Power; Who will you be selling your products to? It does not make sense to buy 10 cows that produce 30 litres of milk when you have only two customers that buy three litres of milk from you. You want to produce a good that has a ready market to avoid losses. Find the right market and the right customers for your business.

Step 4: Business Strategy; You must have a plan of action. How many staff will you need for your venture? How large should the farm be and how much money do you aim to make within a given period? Lack of money should not prevent you from forging ahead as there are investors and partners who are willing to help if you have a good business strategy.

Step 5: Execution; This can be hard. You must be willing to sacrifice your comfort and get things done. There are young people that are leaving the cities to take advantage of the expansive pieces of land in the villages. To succeed, the have had to change addresses from the urban to the rural spaces. If these kinds of sacrifices don’t register with you then perhaps farming is not your thing.

Career opportunities in agripreneurship

Kenya and Africa are keen on being food secure in the long term. The world is also changing to embrace the versatility of skills, especially in young people. Moving forward, the agriculture sector will need professionals from many other sectors to thrive. You can have many other interests and still find your place as an agripreneur.

  • Farm machinery will need inventing and repairing thus requiring someone with a mechanical engineering background. Farmers need bankers, lawyers, electricians and even water engineers for their crops and businesses to thrive.
  • You can add value on different crops. Once crop can have varied uses. For instance, soy bean produce can be used for soy beans, soy sauce, soy by-products. If your friend keeps livestock, you can partner to sell manure to other farmers or produce energy through bio gas.  
  • Take advantage of emerging markets that are demanding unique produce. Currently, these include; organic fertiliser, edible flowers, dairy goat milk production, camel milk production and commercial insect farming. (cricket, silkworms, waxworms, honeybees, cochineals) What is not eaten in your neighbourhood can find a ready market elsewhere.

Soft skills

Business Savvy; Agriculture is serious business. Develop a love for numbers as you will be paying bills, hiring staff, writing budgets, keeping records and drafting business plans

Teachability; It is a learning process. Every farmer learns something new every day. You must be open to new skills to stay up to date with your market.

Levelheadedness; Ability to think on your feet and to work under pressure.

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