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Youth involvement in agriculture
Listen up! I have an exciting opportunity for you young people.
My name is (INSERT LOCAL NAME, MALE OR FEMALE). These days, I have to hustle to make money. It’s not easy! But I chose agriculture because I can be my own boss.
My friends who work office jobs in the city may laugh at me (CHUCKLE), but they don’t know the rewards that come with farming.
With just a small plot of land and some basic skills, I can grow vegetables and fruit! Or I can provide spraying, fodder, and transportation services. It feels good to be my own boss, make my own decisions, and earn my own income with farming.
PHONE RINGING AND BUZZING
(TO HERSELF) Another order! Wow, so many people want to buy from me today …
I started a small agribusiness selling dried mangoes. I post a picture every day on my WhatsApp status with the number of bags available and the price. People message me to place orders—I’m almost sold out for today! It’s going so well that I’m thinking of diversifying into local chickens and indigenous vegetables—both can be lucrative!
Agriculture is not just about planting and harvesting. There are so many ways to make money—especially with social media.
Hmm … Maybe I should also think about farming as a business …
(LAUGHS) Yes, you should! Now leave me alone, I have work to do!
(GRUNTING) Hey! Get off your phone and come help me unload these tomatoes. The market opens soon!
(a little annoyed) What are you clicking pictures for?
(EXCITED) I’ve been posting pictures of your fresh tomatoes on Facebook. You should see how many likes and comments I’m getting!
Look! I posted this picture only 10 minutes ago. People are already asking where we are. They want to come and buy from us!
(softly) Hmm … (EXCITED) I know! Take a picture of me looking handsome next to my beautiful tomatoes!
phone camera clicks, LAUGHTER FADEs.
Farming is a family business. Youth can play an important role by using social media like Twitter, Facebook, and WhatsApp to advertise and sell farm produce. Remember: young farmers are the future!
(DRAMATICALLY) Why in the world should young people be farmers in the year 2021?? (PAUSE) Well … here’s why! Young people are the future of the country, and farmers feed the future!
Like any field, there are many challenges in agriculture that could use innovations from fresh, young minds. Join the agriculture sector and bring your innovations to improve planting, growing, storage, transportation, access to markets, and more.
Farming is not just about physical strength. We need people with brain power too!
Spots on making money safely during COVID-19
SOUNDS OF SHOVEL, FARM ANIMALS
Farming has always been a difficult job. But the COVID-19 pandemic has made it even harder.
Yes, ever since the government imposed physical distancing restrictions and reduced opening hours on market days, we have had far fewer customers.
And now most of our harvested maize sits in storage!
But thankfully, we use storage methods that keep our grain clean and dry so we can sell them when the price is good. The best solution we have found is using PICS bags and other airtight storage containers to reduce pest damage during storage.
Right. And we also treat shelled maize with insecticidal dust to protect it from pests. We tell our customers to always wash the maize before consuming it.
These techniques mean that we can still make money during the pandemic by preserving our produce for longer. We also continue to obey government guidelines about social distancing, wearing masks, and washing our hands to keep the virus at bay.
We will always support each other through difficult times.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s important to keep markets open as much as we can while staying safe. Markets are where family farmers sell most of their produce, and where consumers can buy fresh food.
Here are four important ways to keep buyers and sellers safe at the market:
- Make the space big enough so everyone can keep one or two metres between themselves.
- Reduce the number of stands open at one time, and rotate them.
- Ensuring that hand-washing stations with soap and water or alcohol-based sanitizer are available.
- Supply cloth face masks to all buyers and sellers in the market.
If we follow these safety measures, farmers will be able to make money and stay healthy during the pandemic.
Attention farmers! Diversify your crops to make money, feed your family, and reduce your vulnerability to climate change and other uncertainties!
Farmers who produce only one crop for sale may have problems feeding their families if they lose access to markets or prices fall during the COVID-19 pandemic.
But here’s a local woman with some advice. (INSERT LOCAL WOMAN’S NAME) is a farmer in (NAME OF LOCAL VILLAGE). She says diversifying gave her family a safety net during these uncertain times.
My husband and I own a one-hectare plot of land. On one half, we grow maize and beans. On the other half, we plant sorghum, orange-fleshed sweet potatoes, and cowpeas. And we started raising chickens, which are always in demand.
After the harvest, I dry the beans and keep them for the off-season. I make porridge with the sorghum and I sell the orange-fleshed sweet potatoes to our neighbours. I sell some maize at the market and store the rest along with the dried beans. My sorghum is great for the increasingly dry weather in my area, and raising chickens is a regular source of income, even in difficult times.
Farmers—take this woman’s advice and grow several crops, not just one! This will give you security and ensure you can continue to feed your family despite COVID-19.
Spots on VSLA management
COINS JINGLING, CASH REGISTER, MONEY SOUNDS
VSLAs are important to our community. But the COVID-19 pandemic has brought enormous challenges to our group.
My name is (INSERT LOCAL NAME) and I’m the chairperson of my community VSLA. Many of us lost income and can no longer pay the regular contribution. So we had to suspend group loans. But we have not given up!
UPLIFTING MUSIC FADE UP AND UNDER
We still manage to meet outside on market days. We wash our hands, wear face masks, and keep a safe physical distance to protect ourselves from the virus. Sometimes we meet in smaller groups and share details with other members over the phone to reduce our physical contact.
Now, we are also working together to produce handmade face masks for our community. This also prevents the virus from spreading. With small microloans, we are investing in this new income-generating activity. And we will endure this crisis together.
MUSIC FADE UP AND OUT
Listeners, are you a member of a VSLA? Has your group faced challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic? If you have, here are four tips to help you continue operating safely and effectively:
- If possible, try to communicate through social media platforms like Facebook or WhatsApp if you can’t meet together in person.
- Think about reducing the share contribution for everyone. This will help members who have lost income during the pandemic.
- Try rotating roles amongst group members if some members are struggling with their responsibilities.
- Take care of each other by allowing more time to repay loans, pooling resources, and giving other kinds of financial and emotional support.
Limit physical contact, reduce share contributions, rotate group responsibilities, and support one another. By following these tips, we can overcome the challenges of COVID-19 together.
Attention, VSLA members! The COVID-19 pandemic has created many challenges. But there are ways to continue saving money safely.
One way is to set up an account with a local bank. If your VSLA group has accumulated money, you can store it in a bank account rather than a cash box. A bank may also allow you or your VSLA to borrow money in emergencies, which can help the VSLA continue to operate. Visit your local bank as a group and consider opening an account together.
Spots on family succession planning
Youth are the future of family farming. But many young people are not getting their voices heard when it comes to decision-making on the farm.
This is a problem!
But the solution comes from empowering young people to make decisions, trusting them with important tasks, and respecting their opinions and ideas. They have a lot to give!
The future of family farming depends on youth!
My husband and I have lived together on our farm for nearly 30 years. The secret to our happy marriage is sharing our responsibilities and making decisions together.
That’s right. I am strong and can carry heavy loads. But my wife is very good with numbers. She keeps records of our sales and expenses in a notebook.
I add up the two lists and compare them. This helps me determine if our costs are higher than our income. And it helps us determine the selling price of our maize and vegetables. If I don’t keep records, we could be losing money without realizing it.
I am grateful that my wife and I can work together and make decisions as a team.
Our farm is certainly better for it.
(LAUGHS) And so is our marriage!
Succession planning on a farm involves deciding who will be responsible for a farm after an older farmer decides that it is time for the younger generation to take responsibility for the farm. Planning for succession involves balancing the needs and wants of the older and younger generations. The planning process can be emotional and difficult, but here are some tips to help you and your family plan a smooth transition.
- Listen to every person’s goals for the future of the farm.
- Start the planning process early, but do not rush decisions.
- Be flexible and patient.
- Formalize the final agreement.
Remember: succession is a process. Be patient and you will reach decisions together as a family.
Family farms are rewarding. But it can present challenges as well. Communication is the key to making decisions and managing conflict. Family members should be able to clearly answer these five questions about their work on the farm:
- What is their role and responsibilities?
- What days and times do they work?
- What income do they earn, if any?
- What decisions do they make?
Clear communication is the key to a successful family farm business!
Contributed by: Maxine Betteridge-Moes, freelance journalist and consultant
Reviewed by: Juliet Tunje, Social Inclusion Advisor for the USAID KCDMS Activity
Farm Radio International is working with the Feed the Future Kenya Crops and Dairy Market Systems Activity (KCDMS) of USAID, implemented by RTI International, to co-create radio content resources aimed at advancing youth entrepreneurship in agribusiness. This activity is made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) with technical assistance from RTI International. The contents are the responsibility of Farm Radio International and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.