A growing number of young, urbane people are gravitating towards new age farming, in a move vital for the country’s food security.
Traditionally, agriculture has been synonymous with the rural poor and in some circles christened the practice of the paupers.
The dangers of such assertions have been manifested in the ballooning population that has put pressure on food as agricultural land shrinks.
This calls for concerted, innovative and holistic approaches to the way we produce food. In short, we have to do things differently.
With women and youth being an integral constituency of any society, it is heart-warming to read how an increasing number of young people are dumping suits for overalls and gumboots, and getting their hands dirty.
But these ‘Facebook’ farmers as they are christened, are looking for innovative and modern ways of producing more with less, and this has been the clarion call to industry players.
The disconnect between the transformative innovations and their access among farmers has been attributed to lack of proper information channels as many small-scale farmers farm from a point of no information.
With Kenya estimated to have 38 million prepaid mobile users, out of which 27 million are said to have access to internet data, a gold mine presents itself.
Majority of those who own the mobile devices are young people who are constantly relying on the gadgets to access information, including agricultural.
This, therefore, means that companies interested in tapping into the youth have to look at newer ways of reaching them if they are to have any impact.
Elgon Kenya, a key player in East Africa’s agricultural sector, runs an online information centre fully equipped with trained agronomists, who are on standby 24/7 to address farmers’ concerns, answering their questions and advising them on the best options in their ventures.
The idea is to ensure that people are farming from a point of information.
The services offered at the online information centre is free-of-charge to all farmers.
The centre is complemented by an online shop that allows customers to place their orders at the click of a button.
Elgon Kenya has partnered with courier companies to ensure that once a farmer has placed the order, they are able to receive them at the convenience of their farms.
The new development also means that farmers can now order for single units, say a single sprinkler or a packet of seeds and have them easily delivered, which was traditionally tough due to logistical constraints.
The information center and online shop are another addition to Elgon Kenya’s many pursuits of walking with farmers in the food production journey and ensuring it is as smooth as possible.
To access the two, log onto www.elgonkenya.co.ke
Nelson Maina is Head of Communication at Elgon Kenya Ltd