Opportunity or Threat for farming amidst Covid-19 Crisis

Corona virus infection is a pandemic that have affected the whole globe. Africa have not been spared by this pandemic with the vulnerability of its population posing a major challenge to their livelihoods. This is because most of the African Countries’ economy including Kenya are agriculture dependent. The pandemic has affected different sectors and ultimately ever sphere of life in the countries affected. Agriculture is one of the sectors that have been adversely affected by the Corona pandemic. The pandemic has affected different spheres of life including those of farmers. The disease has resulted to changes that have negatively affected farmers. The preventive measures put up by the government   to control the spread of the pandemic have limited the capacity of most farmers to engage in agri-enteprenuership/agribusiness.  The restriction of movement and interaction of people have meant that farmers are not able to transport their produce to market destinations. This situation is being experienced by the majority of farmers who are small holder and who depend on transport systems such as motor cycles, bicycles and carts which have been affected.  The farmers are stuck with their produce at farm level resulting to losses particularly of perishable agricultural produce such as milk and vegetables.

However, as it is always said, “there is an opportunity in every crisis”. In the amidst of these challenges, lies an opportunity for virtual/online marketing through media such as whats app and face book. The social media presents an opportunity that can be embraced especially by young people for survival in these times. Farmers can market the produce to the local people through these groups and deliver them through available means within the allowed timelines. This is because curfew has also affected delivery of produce that are time-bound like milk.  Entrepreneurial-minded farmers can also explore value addition activities such as yoghurt making and drying of vegetables to prolong the shelf-life of the produce and provide more time for marketing and distribution.  May be, it is the high time that farmers endorse utilization of information and technology in the various stages of the value chain. This is because, technology presents an opportunity to enhance agribusiness beyond the pandemic by easing way of doing business. This is an opportunity that youth engaged and interested in farming can grab and run away with. 

By Mary Karigu (Gender, youth and development) 

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