Agribusiness has been proving to be an effective way for the country to sustain itself in light of the Covid restrictions that have forced many imports and exports to be affected. Kenya relies heavily on imports and exports for some particular products, especially fresh produce.
According to the International Trade Administration’s Country Commercial Guide report, Agriculture dominates the Kenyan economy, accounting for 40% of the overall workforce (70% of the rural workforce) and about 25% of the annual GDP directly, as well as contributing another 27% of GDP indirectly through linkages with other sectors. The country’s major agricultural exports are tea, coffee, cut flowers, and vegetables. Kenya is the world’s leading exporter of black tea and cut flowers.
The report also states that, growth in demand for consumer-oriented agricultural products is driven by an expanding middle class with higher disposable incomes, increased urbanization, and an expanding foodservice and food retail sectors. Kenya imports more than 72% of consumer-oriented agricultural products mainly from Uganda, South Africa, Egypt, Belgium, Italy, and the Netherlands.
This means that Agriculture really is the backbone of the country and it should therefore be given utmost importance and that is where Agribusiness comes in.
So what is Agribusiness and why does Kenya need to pay more attention to it? Agribusiness refers to any business related to farming and farming-related commercial activities. It involves all the steps required to send an agricultural product to market, namely production, processing, and distribution.
Agribusiness has been picking trends as more people realize the benefits and commercial gain that they can get from involving themselves in farming that is not just for personal use. Agribusiness embodies both commercial value and creates employment opportunities to many youth and women who would have otherwise not had the chance at formal employment. There are those individuals who also choose to get into Agribusiness by choice after seeing examples of how other people are benefiting from such ventures.
Agribusiness has created the possibility of taking advantage of the natural resources that are abundant in Kenya. The country itself is blessed with massive tracts of fertile land ready for farming. With good weather conditions, the country is truly a basket of fresh produce like fruits, vegetables and even cereals.
The need for more focus on Agribusiness was evident in the just concluded Kiambu Farmers Harvest Festival where KCIC featured some of its clients who are in the Agribiz programme. The program has enabled youth and women to seek other sources of income other than the usual nine to five jobs that have become scarce. Since the program also offers courses on financial management, business etiquette and understanding commercial value of the business, participants often finish the program ready to succeed in the industry.
With Agribusiness, any person of any age can be able to safely and financially sustain themselves while adding value to the growth of the nation. Every input in terms of farming and output when it comes to harvesting creates a value chain that is beneficial to the economy in the end.