Akinwumi Adesina, who is currently the President of AfDB (African Development Bank) previously served as Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development believes that farming will soon be producing more millionaires and billionaires than any other sector in Africa. Adesina was named Forbes African of the Year in December 2013 for his reforms to his country’s farming sector, according to a BBC report.
And most business leaders across the continent agree with Adesina, that farming could be an under exploited gold mine. Successful businessman, lawyer and parliamentary aspirant Victor Ogeto Swanya, says that “once Kenyans begin embracing modern methods of farming, then they will realize that there is a lot of potential in the field”.
Swanya has a number of productive greenhouses at his home in Kisii.
His sentiments are shared by Danish whiz-kid Kresten Buch, who has had great success in technology investments around the globe.
“The one thing most people don’t realize is that farming has come a long way, as a practice. If one particularly adopts modern techniques, then farming can be very profitable,” Buch once told this reporter. Buch hopes to start a properly-mechanised farm in Africa
And those whose minds have been opened are already reaping fruits. The former milk-hawking couple of Susan Muturi and Njoroge Muturi, recently announced that they will be setting up a Sh50m ultra-modern dairy facility.
But the duo, who own the Tassells Dairy Farm in Ruiru, did not have the millions they are talking about now when the venture started 11 years ago.
Njoroge worked as a herdsboy for a farmer in Githunguri, and was later fired after a disagreement with is employer. By the time he was leaving, he had enough money to buy two cows, and was lucky enough that his new landlord,in Kiserian, allowed him to raise them in his compound.
His enterprising discipline saw him buy a new cow everytime he had saved enough money, from his salary and milk sales. He met his wife, Susan, while hawking milk in town, and as fate would have it, she was also interested in dairy farming. Through the internet, they managed to adopt proper husbandry techniques, rasing their herd to 400 dairy cows, which yiled 6,000 and 12,000 litres of milk per day.
The enterprise is run on a two-acre farm, unlike the Muturis, Caleb Karuga had an enviable job, in the media, which he hoped to move away from. He at one time thought of quiting, but the thought that he would have to forfeit Sh1.5m in benefits saw him hold on. Luckily, he was retrenched, alongside tens others, as the media house he worked for restructured.
He went on to lease one acre piece of land in central Kenya and started poultry farming. Today, he operates three farms where he raises thousands of indigenous chicken, quails, guinea fowl. He also grows butternut, strawberry, sweet potatoes and sunflower.
Minister Adenisa believes Africa will be at a better place if the youth to see agriculture as a business, noting that, major local and international investors are now investing in agriculture.
“The number of seed companies alone has risen dramatically and the banks are lending to the sector more than ever before,” he said.
But farming, like every other rewarding career, is not a path plated with diamonds-It is a hard job. Luckily, for those who have a goal, and are willing to put in more than there fair share of tough work, the results soon become evident.