Since time immemorial, Kenya has been said to be an agricultural economy. Despite the fact that we have increasingly ignored the fact that we do not have industries, agriculture has always remained part of our economy.
Stats show that less than eight percent of Kenya’s land is under cultivation with more than 92 percent of the land being unsuitable for agricultural activities. There are, however, efforts to try and reclaim semi-arid lands and bring them under agriculture.
Despite the fact that only less than 8 percent of Kenya’s land is what is under cultivation, 80 percent of Kenya’s workforce engages in either agriculture or food processing.
Farming in Kenya has often been carried out by small-scale farmers who engage in farming to produce crops for food as well as for commercial purposes.
Most large-scale farming is in the cash crop sector such as tea, coffee although small-scale farming is widespread in the horticultural sector.
Data at the Ministry of Agriculture show that small farms are operated by about three million families and they account for 75 percent of total agricultural production in Kenya.
Kenya’s agricultural sector dates back to the colonial times. When the white settlers took control of this country, their main aim was to engage in agriculture to produce raw materials that were shipped to their motherland for processing.
When Kenya got her independence in 1963, the agricultural sector underwent two basic changes up to 1973 of the oil crisis. The changes included the acceptance of private land ownership as opposed to the then communal ownership and the success of intense nationwide efforts to expand production of crops by African small-scale farmers.
The big ship of the agricultural sector in Kenya appears to be sinking of late. Coupled with the ever-changing weather patterns, farmers across the country are becoming disillusioned and abandoning farming all the same.
For instance, maize farmers in the country are increasingly abandoning the sector because they feel the sector has become unprofitable. Some farmers who presented their products to the National Cereals and Produce Board, NCPB, are yet to be paid with the importation of cheap maize from the neighboring Uganda and Brazil hitting them even harder.
One of the major challenge facing the agricultural sector in Kenya is funding that would enable the full mechanization of the sector. Most farming in this country is still done using archaic practices that often lead to land degradation as well as low yields.
There is a need for farmers across the country to be helped in whatever way possible, in this case, find someone who can hold their hand in terms of finances and be ready to support them, no matter what.
The advent of armyworms has greatly affected the agricultural sector, especially for maize farmers. Stats show that a quarter of maize harvests in 2017 were destroyed by the ravaging armyworms. The normal pesticides failed to help the ones that could help were expensive for the majority of the farmers.
There are financial institutions that are ready to help Kenyan farmers grow by giving them financial support. Rafiki Microfinance Bank, for instance, is the best bet for any farmer in Kenya right now. With such products as Kilimo Bora Loan, Kilimo Imara Loan, Kilimo Dhabiti Loan, Kilimo Advance as well as Warehouse Receipt Financing, the lender has positioned itself as having the interests of the farmers heart.