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John Riungu, FCI’s Senior Programmes Manager in an exclusive interview, revealed the pricey and exceptional milestones Farm Concern International (FCI) goes to just ensure agriculture remains relevant in the current Africa’s economy.
What’s the event all about?
Embu Open Tournament is a platform where sports meet agriculture. The event brings all the County colleges and secondary schools together for various sports competition but most significant, impart the agriculture knowledge to the young mind.
How does Farm Concern International come in the event?
We come in as sponsors of the event with an aim of training, teaching and encouraging youth to consider agriculture as a subject in school and as a career in future. This is due to the fact that agriculture is the backbone of Africa’s economy. As an agricultural organization therefore, we take the prominent role to streamline production and marketing through training our farmers’ new emerging technologies and market trends to facilitate them compete successfully in local and regional markets. Our activities in Africa and beyond form our vision to commercialize smallholder communities with increased incomes for improved, stabilized and sustainable livelihoods. Also, the vision intensifies our urge to nature the young mind by showing real time evidence of colossal achievements made by farmers and their contribution and importance in Africa’s economic development.
Do you have other forums which you use to spread the same “gospel” to the youth?
We are planning academic symposiums, athletics, exchange visits, agricultural tours and field visits to act as platforms. This will help us bring more youth on board. It is a strategy that can work to channel the youthful efforts into economic development through agriculture.
“Africa is rising” has been the current theme in the continent. How true is the cliché?
The rising of Africa is based on the fact that 70% of its populations are smallholder farmers who have started earning income from their investments. FCI recognized the relevance of smallholder farmer in economic development over ten years ago. We have thus been the front liners to commercialize his investment so as to enhance increased incomes for improved, stabilized and sustainable livelihoods. However, our task is huge and informs us to work with other strategic partners like the National and county governments, input dealers, agro-processors, private sector, Kenya Agricultural Livestock and Research Organization, and the Ministry of Agriculture to deliver our mandate.
To save the agriculture sector from becoming extinct due to a few youth involved in it, where do you think we should start?
We should start by changing our perception and that of our youth as early as in primary school. The more we speak well about farming, the more we will have many actors and consequently increased production and income. We should bear the accurate truth that Africa cannot do without agriculture.
Do you think agriculture sector has more challenges as compared to other sectors of economy in Africa?
Every sector that contributes to economic development has its own challenges and this does not make farming outstanding. As players in the sector, we need to come up with unique solutions by transforming the challenges into openings. For example, we need to provide real time information and innovative modern technologies that are capable of cutting down unnecessary costs in production and marketing.
Why the playing kits for Kamiu Secondary School specifically?
We settled to sponsor them because majority of the boys come from poor back grounds and could not have afforded the uniforms. We also wanted them feel part and parcel of the event.
Where do you see the boys in the next few years?
I see professional farmers with huge amounts of income. The boys are determined and can transform the economic status of Africa irrespective of their humble beginnings.
What would be your advice to the youth in the continent?
To be disciplined, work hard, think agriculture and trust in God.
FCI VISION :Commercialized smallholder communities with increased incomes for improved, stabilized & sustainable livelihoods in Africa and beyond.