Entrepreneurship in the agricultural sector or otherwise known as Agripreneurship is the order of the day. There are tremendous opportunities in the agriculture and allied sectors that promote it which include dairy farming, bee-keeping, fisheries and even poultry just to name a few here in Kenya. Farmers have also joined hands with foods processing industries that use agricultural produce examples being tomato sauce, fruit jam making, peanut butter, which leads to regional as well as individual growth. Such entrepreneurial ventures can increase your disposable income largely and make you more financially independent. The finished goods and services coming out of Agripreneurship are generally procured and produced out of resources in rural areas but consumed mostly in the urban sector.
Jobs in agriculture are attracting fewer younger people at a time when the world’s population is rapidly growing. The biggest obstacle facing agricultural transformation in Africa is our own education system. Many of us young people have been brought knowing we could pursue law or medicine but very few or almost none of our guardians would mention farming. In fact, farming was left to students who would not perform well in school. This is how we grew up seeing agriculture as a thing for failures. You will find there are several programs which aim to inspire the young generation by training, to give them knowledge, skills that they need to develop and manage productive farms in the 21st century. Majority of those engaged in agricultural activities are aged between 50 and 65 years and still do practice traditional and subsistence farming. The decreasing number of young people involved in farming as a business is a sign of distress on the sector. The youth have this perception of agriculture as a career of last resort and of low monetary value. Most of agricultural produce are either sold in its raw form in the local markets without further processing like packaging which is another sector that you could benefit from. There is less emphasis on processing and access to markets. Think of middle men who get produce from the rural areas and transport them to the urban areas and make a lot of income especially on season vegetables and fruits. During Covid times and when we had to undergo lockdown we can all admit that those that involved themselves in vegetables and poultry-keeping produce, marketing and deliveries made quite an income out of it. We had a neighbor who was selling tomatoes, onions or honey or peanut butter even cereals, just that they could supplement their income at a time when jobs were not guaranteed. Food is a never ending market and so is agriculture.
The rise of health conscious movements in this generation has resulted in a lot people, both globally and locally, turning towards organically grown food choices and shunning factory processed food. This presents a growing market for farm produce that any entrepreneur would be interested in. When researching look into the kind of farming that would bring returns for you. If it’s crop farming, look into the timing it takes for the crop to mature, the amount of land you might need, climate needed etc. this applies also to animal rearing. Also consider the technology you will need to get them to the market. After researching, plan on how you are going to start and run your business. What part of the supply chain are you intending to occupy? Will you be the farmer, the middleman or the final seller in the market? These factors will help you determine the budget required and the location of your business setup. To be successful in the agricultural sector, you need to be sharp, creative and fully aware of the ups and down of the stock you want to produce before you start investing. At least make sure that what you will produce fills the market gap for example, fertilizer distribution business that is if you like the idea of helping people work with the soil.
Do not venture into farming practice that you are not familiar with. Please make sure that you have done your research well and you have all the knowledge and skills at your disposal. This will reduce any outside help that would have otherwise added expenses into your business. After considering all your possible options and made a choice, you will need to find a market to sell your products. Pick a market that offers the best returns for you without incurring a lot of costs. Network and create business connections with potential buyers especially if you are looking to be a long term supplier. A lot of things will be learnt in the ground so keep your eyes open and listen to feedback from both customers and fellow players in the industry. This will help in guiding you.
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