Creating youth employment and food security in my community
By Gad Matayo Sambrumo, MSc Agri-Enterprise Development at Egerton University
I was born in 1993 in Busia County, western Kenya and hold a degree in Agribusiness Management and Enterprise Development from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology. Currently, I am enrolled for a Master of Science in Agri-Enterprise Development at Egerton University funded by RUFORUM under the TAGDev (Transforming African Agricultural Universities to meaningfully contribute to Africa’s growth and development) programme funded by the mastercard foundation.
Inspiration to start these businesses came from the TAGDev orientation trainings and the ideas on business management that I got then have contributed to my success. Specifically, the training sessions on financial planning based on priority and opportunity cost; investment; and drawing up business plans were instrumental for me to plan for and start my two businesses. I vividly recall the presentation on personal financial management delivered by a manager from the Kenya Commercial Bank which encouraged me to venture into the businesses I am currently running with initial funding from my scholarship stipend.
Alongside my studies, I am operating a motorcycle taxi business (boda boda) and venturing into maize and bean farming. The motorcycle taxi is stationed at Changara Market in Busia County in Western Kenya, while the farm is in Akobwait Village, also in the same county. My motivation to start business was to provide income for myself and create job opportunities for fellow youth in my village. The businesses have grown and continue to expand from the profits gained. I decided to venture into maize and bean farming in particular so that I could put into practice what I learnt during the orientation training as well as what I had learnt in class. I did not have land of my own on which to farm, so I opted to lease two acres. Through farming, I intend to bridge the gap between farmers and the consumers and increase food security within the rural community.
I chose the motorcycle taxi and farming businesses because they are easier to manage compared to some other options. As a full-time student, I am expected to attend all lectures on campus so I needed a business that would require less personal involvement on a day-to-day basis.
My motorcycle taxi and mixed crop farm are both doing well. From the farm I expect to harvest about 50 bags of maize and 25 bags of beans from the two acres in this season. In terms of creating employment for the youth, I have employed one young man to help me operate the motorcycle taxi and employed a number of youth as casual labourers on my farm.
With savings from my scholarship stipend as well as business profits, I have cemented the floor of my grandmother’s house thus eliminating the use of cow dung for flooring. She is very happy with the change as the cement is permanent and does not need to be applied as often as cow dung. I have also built a house for my family and mother which is nearing completion.
As in any business venture, there have been some hurdles to overcome. A prolonged dry spell affected the first planting during the December 2017 to February 2018 planting period. As a result, the maize I first planted dried up and I incurred losses but I had to replant. I also had challenges managing the first motorcycle taxi operator and was forced to lay him off for breaching the terms of our business contract.
Looking to the future
Benjamin Franklin, one of the founding fathers of the United States of America once said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” These words keep echoing in my ear and have helped to gear me towards having both short and long term plans. My plan for the next five years is to expand both my motorcycle business and mixed farm. In ten years, I hope to be a major player in the food value chain producing commodities in sufficient quantities to adequately meet the food security demands of the community around me.
Gad can be reached via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information about the TAGDev Programme, visit: http://www.ruforum.org/MCF