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My name is Pilirani Khoza and I am writing from Malawi, in the warm heart of Africa. I have two years of working experience as a research assistant at Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR). In 2012, I founded Bunda Female Students Organisation (BUFESO), a student-led initiative with the simple goal of encouraging girls to become academically involved in the field of science and agriculture by providing scholarships to needy students.

Picture: pig farming

Over the years, pig farming in Kenya has gradually risen to become one of the top agribusiness ventures. Pork accounts for 38% of the world’s meat production, making it very popular meat. Domesticated pigs are called swines. Swines reproduce twice a year, their gestation period being only 114 days, that is 3 months, three weeks and three days. Farmers rearing pigs for sale can get a lot of profit, depending on the number of pigs they rear in their farm. Farmers in Kenya can buy their pigs from trusted sources like the Agricultural Development farm in Nakuru. Just like any other business, a person looking to go into pig farming must do research to determine whether the business will realize profit or not. Lack of research and planning may cause frustrations when faced with the challenges that come with pig farming in Kenya. Here are factors to consider when pig farming.

Ghana and the Ivory Coast, its western neighbour, are the two biggest producers of cocoa in the world. And cocoa from these two West African countries is the backbone of the thriving chocolate industry in The Netherlands.

According to a report by Statistics Netherlands (CBS), the total value of chocolate and semi-finished products including cocoa butter produced in that country and exported, reached €2.8 billion in 2015. That is an increase of 6 per cent on that of 2014 and an “all time-record.”

Youth in agriculture

In Africa over 200 million people are aged between 15 and 24, the youngest population in the world. This age group according to the African Economic Outlooks is expected to double in number by 2045. Low profitability, poor security of land tenure, and high risks are just some of the reasons Africa’s youth are leaving rural areas to seek jobs in cities, a migration that could see Africa with a shortage of farmers in the future. Given that agriculture is one of the continent’s biggest economic sectors, generating broad economic development and providing much of the population with food, this poses a serious threat to the future of farming and to meeting the demands of a rapidly growing urban population. Growing youth unemployment, ageing farmers and declining crop yields under traditional farming systems mean engaging youth in agriculture should be a priority.

Picture: vegetable market

Agribusiness has grown in leaps and bounds across Kenya over the years. The most common vegetables and fruits grown in Kenya include kale, lettuce, cabbages, potatoes, carrots, onions, cucumber, broccoli, beans, peas, avocado, mangoes, oranges and others. These fruits and vegetables tend to get damaged when being harvested, while being handled, during storage, processing, packaging, transportation and marketing. They are delicate and tend to lose water even after being harvested. This causes them to discolor and lose weight, affecting their appearance and therefore their market value.

The future of agriculture depends on attracting young talented people who are prepared to balance risk and reward so that they can deliver

picture: watermelons

One bite into a sweet, juicy watermelon can brighten a gloomy day. The fruit is popular in Kenya and can be found in any major market. It has a high demand, which makes it a profitable fruit to grow. With a growing concern among Kenyans to stay healthy, watermelons are an instant favorite as they are mostly made of water, are plenty in nutrients and are low in calories. The best part is growing watermelons in Kenya is easy, you can reap a lot of profit from a mere acre of land. Watermelons need space to grow because of their vines, so make sure you space them well.