NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Simon Mutua is an auditor working in Kenya’s
capital Nairobi, but on the side, he is a beekeeper in Kibwezi,
his rural home, some 150 km from Nairobi.
Every weekend, Mutua
travels to his rural home to check on his bee project, with his
parents who stay on the farm helping him manage the insects when
he is not around.
“I have 30 hives and
each offers me at least 15 kg (of honey) after every three
months,” he said on Wednesday.
For the last two
weeks, Mutua, 34, has been harvesting honey from 10 hives, with
the product flying off the shelves as soon as it leaves the
He attributes the
fast sale to social media, through which he exclusively markets
“A week before I
start harvesting, I post on my social media page inviting
buyers. People then book and I process the orders,” said Mutua,
who mainly uses Facebook and WhatsApp apps to sell the products.
“I never go out
looking for market but people come for the produce from me,” he
Mutua is among an
increasing number of young farmers in the east African country
who exclusively use social media to get lucrative market for
As older farmers
stick to the traditional way of selling produce to brokers, the
younger generation have embraced social media and bypassed
middlemen to reach consumers directly.
The newer mode of
sale has also fetched higher prices, enabling the farmers to
“I sell a kilo of
honey at 8 U.S. dollars to consumers. If I was to sell the honey
to a trader, he would buy at half the amount or even less,”
Farmer Collins Akutu,
28, who keeps poultry, says he sells his broilers through
WhatsApp groups. He is preparing for a boom as Christmas season
“I belong to at
least 15 WhatsApp groups. These are for people I work with, live
with at the estate and at school,” he said, adding it’s the
fastest and easiest way to sell.
He posts photos of
his chickens and their prices online, either through WhatsApp or
“Some people pay
through mobile money and then I deliver” he said. “So far, so
Kenyan farmers often
complain of being exploited by traders who according to studies
reap up to twice as much as the producers.
The brokers, for
instance, now buy an extended bag of potatoes that weighs 110 kg
at 20 dollars and sell it at nearly double the price.
Most of the time
they go for the produce from farmers on the farm, using their
bargaining power to their advantage, especially when there is
marketing challenges this model that has been in existence for
ages,” said Bernard Mwaso, a consultant with Edell IT Solution
in Nairobi. “It puts the farmer at an advantage because they can
reach thousands of consumers directly and therefore sell at
Farmers also get
extension services through social media platforms.
“Every time I detect
a pest or disease on my tomatoes, I take a photo and post to a
farmers’ WhatsApp group I belong to and get immediate answers,”
said Derrick Ngugi, who farms tomatoes.
Bernard Moina, an
agricultural officer in Kitale, noted that social media has made
work easier for extension officers. He belongs to four farmers’
WhatsApp group, and answers their questions that they regularly
Kenya calls for youth
empowerment to spur Africa’s transformation agenda
NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
African governments are urged to implement
affirmative action policies to ensure the youthful population is
at the center of the continent’s quest for economic progress
alongside social and political renewal.
Kenya in conjunction
with multilateral partners is hosting the three-day Africa Youth
Conference in Nairobi whose theme is prioritizing investments in
African youth within the post-2015 Agenda.
Cabinet Secretary for Youth and Gender Affairs, told delegates,
including policymakers and campaigners, that policy incentives
coupled with life-long learning and access to capital were key
to ensure the young generation is part of Africa’s
“Africa is grappling
with a youth bulge that should be harnessed to make a positive
contribution to the continent’s envisaged growth and
transformation agenda,” Kobia remarked.
“We must scale up
best practices to ensure the youth have gainful employment,
skills and seed capital required to make them self-reliant and
resilient,” she added.
The 2018 Africa
Youth Conference sought to spotlight strategic areas that the
continent’s youthful population can be actively engaged to
promote economic growth, peace, stability and environmental
Kobia said that
greater participation of the youth is key to modernizing and
enhancing the competitiveness of African economies in the era of
should create an enabling environment for the youth to
participate in the digital economy that is unleashing the next
wave of prosperity in the continent,” said Kobia.
institutions have rallied behind concerted efforts by African
countries to tackle youth unemployment, skills deficit and
social exclusion that poses existential threat to the
continent’s stability and progress.
the Eastern and Southern Africa Region Director for UN Women,
said that competence-based learning, mentorship and easy access
to start-up capital is key to ensuring African youth contribute
optimally to the continent’s growth agenda.
“African youth are
resilient and can be drivers of change if they have access to
requisite skills, technologies, innovations and mentorship,”said
Derex-Briggs, adding that growth of social enterprises in Africa
is being fueled by the youth.
Labor Organization says that 3 in every 5 unemployed people in
Sub-Saharan Africa are youth hence exposing them to poverty and
social ills like crime, drug abuse and radicalization.
Mildred Nzau, a
Kenyan youth advocate, said that robust public private
partnerships could offer solution to skills and funding gaps
that limit the capacity of African youth to realize their