Jobless & Penniless? Try Agropreneur.- Chania.

The digital generation is known to be ambitious, sharper, faster, tenacious and relentless in their pursuit to reach their goals in the shortest possible time. This has greatly created a wider aspiration only for white collar jobs, ignoring the great opportunities and demand for technical and skilled jobs across the country. This huge uncertainty has resulted in unemployment and under-employment of youth across the country over the last few decades.

It is this perception among the youth that keeps worrying Madam Gladys Chania Mwangi, a youth mentor and counsellor.

“Kenyan youth has immense potential. It is unfortunate that a majority of them are jobless despite being educated. Their degrees are of no use to them if they cannot think outside the box and apply them to create employment for themselves,” she said.

“The youth have never realised that there is a lot of money in agriculture. Though majority of them are challenged by poor access to land, finance, market, mentoring, farm inputs and equipment, there are still quite a lot of benefits for them in agriculture.”

She added that there was a compelling need to restructure the thinking of the Kenyan youth not only to solve the problem of drudgery but also create millions of jobs, generate employment and wealth and also ensure eradicate hunger through improved food production.

She narrated to Thika Town Today how she came to value agropreneur (investing in agriculture for income generation), shortly after coming back to the country from the States.

She said that when she returned from the US, she purchased three pieces of land in the sloppy Gatundu North Constituency in Kiambu County with the intention of investing in property.

She had no immediate plans of farming nor developing the plots. However, the previous owners had grown some arrowroots on the land through which a stream runs just as everyone else in the neighbourhood. Thus, this looked to Gladys the best thing to do too.

Six months later, Chania and her neighbours were faced with the dilemma of where to take the excess produce on their farms. The solution came when she talked to her neighbours at her Thika home who agreed to be buying from her. So, she would have the produce delivered to the estate from where she would distribute it to  the pneighbours.

With time, the supply outran the demand forcing her to look for a bigger market which landed her a deal with a supply chain store in Thika Town as well as some few other wholesale traders.

With the demand high and the need to be consistent rising, Gladys hired a farm manager and 20 casual labourers who work on the farm, especially during weeding and harvesting.

Today, her half-an-acre parcel of land earns her an average of Sh600,000 annually.

She contends that arrowroot farming is a viable venture which if taken seriously can attract very huge profits. Arrowroots do not require a lot of farm input nor any fertiliser or regular care, making the cost of production minimal. The market is good as many people nowadays are opting to have the arrowroot for breakfast.

“It is the high time we changed the notion that agriculture is just a way of life. Agriculture is a business that will help countries to diversify their economies, reduce their dependency on food imports, create jobs especially among the youth and revive rural economies. It is not only profitable but it is also a solution to problems of unemployment, insecurity, poverty, corruption among several others. Whilst Kenya needs doctors, engineers, architects, administrators and business managers, the country also needs farmers, masons, electricians, plumbers and carpenters etc,” she concluded.

(Photo Courtesy of Saturday Nation)
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