Mechanize agriculture to curb food insecurity

Mechanize agriculture to curb food insecurity
Photo:Courtesy
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Kenya is a poor country, even after joining league of middle economy countries back in 2014. According to UNICEF, 46% of Kenyan population lives below the poverty line while 22.4% of the population live in extreme poverty from the statistics of World poverty clock. The announcement placed us way ahead of Tunisia and Ethiopia. That tells you that Kenya does not benefit from interest-free loans anymore, although even before the bombshell we were not considered legible.

I am a subscriber of, ‘agriculture is the backbone of our economy’. So, going by the same then means we need to invest much in agriculture. Over the past years, Kenya has implemented policies, came up with strategies and incentives to support farmers. The state knows and values food security and nutrition, as prioritized in the president’s Big 4 agenda. However, we still find about 10m Kenyans struggling with food insecurity and poor nutrition. A lot is left pending, calling for a second thought on the approach.

We need to embrace technology and not just that, introduce machines to the farms. When we borrowed the idea of genetically engineered seeds (GMO), it was doing more harm than good to our local farmers. They encouraged use of chemicals like glyphosate which contaminate food and water sources. It was also a threat to the same soil we rely on and want to, for many years. And because we lacked a local firm to produce the genetically modified organism seeds, the idea was turning our farmers to dependants of the companies producing them. Finally it failed and banned, so let’s try mechanization.

In Kenya, our food products are not enough for our population. We are still left with a deficit, larger portion of our population starving and some regions having very little for consumption. We survive a hungry lot, unhealthy and unproductive. It escalates to affect our industry manpower and productivity of our nation, thus our gross domestic product. Introduction of machines for planting & seeding, ploughing, harrowing, spraying and harvesting will boast agriculture and probably double the produce. The yield land per unit of area will definitely increase while minimising the labour needed. Machines are also efficient and fast, unlike the usual use of ox-driven ploughs which leaves the locals exhausted at the end of the day.

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Machines automatically makes us employ new farming techniques like reclaiming idle lands and putting then under agriculture. Farmers will be relieved of the cumbersome weeding because tractors dig deep eradicating the deep-rooted weeds, as well as filling gullies to prevent erosion. The farmers who are mostly women and youth will use their energies in other economic or development activities. It will solve the problem of labour shortages in most of rural areas after many people have migrated to urban areas in search of waged jobs. Gradually, the increased produce will motivate farmers and will try commercial agriculture. 



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