A new generation of young Kenyans are turning to farming as a viable career. Following the complexities of the job market and scarcity of white collar jobs, many including 35-year-old Anthony Munene have resorted to organic farming.
He left a well paying job in America and returned home to start his own business.
“When I moved back to Kenya I leased half an acre at Kenya institute of organic farming because they shared the same vision with what I wanted to do. And on this half an acre, I am now intensively growing different varieties of vegetables. I am doing over 30 varieties,” he said.
I will define myself as someone who is practising organic agriculture.
After every harvest, Munene packages his products at a shed so that he does not use other methods of chemical storage. He has been practising organic farming that uses methods which avoid most synthetic materials, such as pesticides and antibiotics.
“I will define myself as someone who is practising organic agriculture. I have also sat down and really reviewed my business plan so that I can work for profit,” he added.
Seth Johnson is the manager at Marula Mercantile Café. He operates a coffee shop and restaurant and he is a client to Munene.
“We buy from the local market because first of all we find that the quality is better both in the flavour of the produce and the healthful aspects of it. Another very important reason is we get to know where our food is coming from. Very literally we know the farmers, we know that they have picked it that morning and that they have brought it directly to us,” said Johnson.
The Kenyan educational system has also played a key role in the growth of agro-business among students.Dr. Jane Amuko, a horticulturist and lecturer at the Agriculture campus said they are finding new ways to make agriculture attractive and interesting for a new generation of students.
“Now you find that the curriculum that we offer in the university have a lot of practical application, first of all the curriculum have been revised to include a lot of practical skills talk about experiential learning so that the students do not only have theory but also practical application of the science which is agriculture,” she said.
Young farmers like Munene are showing that it is possible to change things. He said developing local consumption of farm products could encourage more local industry. This will eventually eradicate unemployment among the youth.