Bidco Africa: Creating opportunities for Kenyan youth in agriculture
By David Indeje / July 21, 2017
Leading consumer goods manufacturer Bidco Africa, has embarked on initiatives for Kenyan youth to be involved in agricultural value chain.
The future of agriculture lies in the hands of the youth and there is need to lure them with economic incentives, but Bidco Africa is cognizant that putting them in the forefront of agribusiness is a challenge.
The company says key challenges hampering integration of youths in agribusiness include;lack of access to affordable finance, adverse impacts of climate change due to over reliance on rainfall, inadequate access to reliable markets, inadequate access to quality inputs and lack of access to sizeable land.
“At bidco we believe in inclusive growth where we incorporate youths and women in our value chains,” says the company.
First, their partnership with Kenya Commercial Bank Foundation (KCB) empowers economically 1,000 youth annually through agribusiness.
In the strategic partnership which is part of KCB’s Ksh 50 billion 2Jiajiri programme, provides 1,000 entrepreneurs every year with training, technical support and market linkages.
KCB Foundation does the technical capacity building and Bidco provides a guaranteed market for the entrepreneurs’ products across identified value chains.
According to Bidco, they are operating at 50 percent capacity in terms of seed crushing and they need young people to step and take up the challenge.
For instance, the company has an annual demand of 36,000 MT of oil seeds -sunflower and soya beans – annually but operates at 50 percent capacity due to unavailability of raw materials.
The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) estimates soya beans production to be 2000-5000 metric tonnes per year against domestic demand of 12,000 metric tonnes.
A 2009 report by the Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN), “Annual production of soybean in the last five years (2004-2008) averaged 1,702 metric tons; however, Kenyan farmers expect to produce only over 2,100 metric tons during calendar year 2009.”
On the other hand, a 2011 FAO report said industrial demand for soybean products continued to grow from 50,000 MT in 2008 to about 120,000 MT in 2011.
Other initiatives Bidco Africa is spearheading to encourage more youth into the agribusiness sector include: its partnership with FAO to to promote climate smart agriculture using Conservation Agriculture in Tharaka Nithi County to encourage farmers to take up growing of soybeans and sunflower seeds in a bid to increase the supply of the two crops.
Bidco says they are in the process of partnering with Amiran to provide cheap irrigation technology for most of its farmers to mitigate impacts of climate change.
To ensure there is efficiency, Bidco uses the SAP mobile application to monitor the performance of the farmers, provide real time extension services, monitor payments and enhance traceability.
To learn how you can be part of the Bidco Africa agribusiness initiative, read