Agriculture still the most promising area of growth

Farming can offer great job opportunities

In Summary

•The community of domesticated animals increasingly depending on humans for food is  increasing.

•Investment in the local manufacture of fertiliser can be achieved through partnerships and offering tax incentives

Agribusiness is one of the biggest businesses that will continue to expand due to the continued need to feed humanity and domesticated animals such as cows, chickens, pigs, and dogs. The global population has been increasing consistently and is estimated to expand from present-day 7.8 billion to 9.7 billion by end of 2050. The community of domesticated animals increasingly depending on humans for food is also increasing.

This increase, therefore, presents a golden opportunity for agriculturally based economies like ours since the demand for food will always increase. The challenge is choosing innovative strategies that give it a competitive advantage, spur growth and attract investment in the sector. For quite some time, agriculture has been relegated to the position of being the activity people engage in because they do not have any other options. It also lags in the employment of technology and has been limited mainly to subsistence farming in many rural areas. The high cost of inputs, coupled with low prices, especially during the peak season and marketing challenges, has discouraged younger people from venturing into the sector.,

It is, however, the right time to turn the tables and place the sector at the forefront. It is time to make agriculture a viable and robust business that cuts across the entire value chain from primary farm production, processing, packaging, and distribution, using the latest technology and attracting aggressive entrepreneurs.

One of the strategies to steer it is an investment in agricultural research and development geared towards increasing crop and livestock yields and introducing new and innovative farming techniques.

Through the existing cooperative societies, the information can be passed to farmers through targeted training and education on modern farming practices, crop and livestock management, and market access. Incentives such as tax reliefs, subsidies, and other support mechanisms advanced by the authorities can encourage private-sector investment in agribusiness. Using the digital highway, the farmers can sell their produce directly to the consumers, thus cutting out the middle-man and getting good returns.

The second strategy is to improve infrastructure such as roads, irrigation systems, and storage facilities to allow farmers to access markets and transport their products efficiently. The third strategy is encouraging public-private partnerships to enable farmers to enter new markets and expand their businesses.

One of the challenges, especially for cereal farmers, has been farm inputs such as fertiliser, which are mainly imported and therefore subjected to international pricing. Another strategy would be to encourage investment in the local manufacture of fertiliser which can be achieved through partnerships and offering tax incentives. The focus would be producing fertiliser for the region, bearing in mind that the regional economy also depends on agriculture.

Karen Kandie

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