Smart farming seems to be taking off, especially since traditional methods are proving to be expensive and at times, not as profitable. Obviously some plants can’t be grown through this method, but in a society where it’s very hard to get land and weather patterns are ever changing; methods like hydroponic farming seem to be gradually taking shape.
Hydroponics is a method of growing plants in a nutrient solution without soil. The nutrients used in hydroponic systems can come from an array of different sources; these can include, but are not limited to, byproduct from fish waste, duck manure, or purchased chemical fertilisers.
The advantages are numerous, including the fact that it needs little space, is not as tedious as traditional farming, is climate controlled, has lower frequency of pests and diseases among others.
These are some of the reasons why 92 youth decided to go the smart farming way as part of the KCB 2Jiajiri programme. The 92, who completed the first phase of training in hydroponics farming at Miramar International College, are on their way to start commercial farming like past graduates who are planting strawberries, vegetables among others.
KCB Foundation Managing Director Jane Mwangi said the programme has been a success, and past graduates have teamed up to start commercial farms.
“We chose to focus on hydroponic farming because it’s a smart farming method cognizant of the challenges faced by 21st century farmers. This method is attractive to young people especially because it’s not capital intensive, consumes little space and is not reliant on weather patterns,” she said in a speech read on her behalf by John Waimiri, Senior Manager, Partnerships.
KCB Foundation will then take through the 92 beneficiaries through business development training where they will learn how to run a business.
They will also be taught how to develop business plans that they can then use to take loans from the bank.
KCB Foundation has secured additional Ksh10 billion funding from MasterCard to scale up the 2jiajiri programme.