The Cabinet Secretary Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, Honorable Willy Bett attributed the high cost of production and the cost of purchasing maize to inefficiencies in production processes across the value chain. C.S Willy Bett addressed pertinent concerns in the sector during the launch of the Master of Management in Agribusiness at Strathmore Business School on 13th November 2017.
With a growing concern over Kenya and Africa’s population growth rate at large, issues pertained to food security and nutrition continue to arouse critical discussions. Poor mechanization of farming activities, access to information, inadequate infrastructural structures and management incompetencies remain as great hindrances to the growth of the sector.
His remarks come shortly after his ministry, through the National Cereals Board and Produce (NCPD) declared that it would purchase a 90KG bag of Maize at 3,200. “Efficiencies in production processes is the reason as to why farmers are unable to break even after selling their produce. The high cost of production can be reduced by leveraging on technology and evidence based decision making by using data. We are glad to closely work with institutions of higher learning such as Strathmore Business School in developing unique programs that are highly practical, industry driven and have a firm foundation in transforming agricultural practices into business oriented enterprises,” remarked C.S Willy Bett.
Dr. George Njenga, Dean Strathmore Business School spoke on the significance of value addition in strengthening supply chains in the sector. Additionally, he also emphasised on the role of educating the youth and providing them with opportunities to pursue agribusiness as their profession. “Although 80% of the Kenyan population dwells in the rural areas, agricultural production is still heavily reliant upon the aged for labor and outdated farming methodologies; whereas the youth scramble to look for blue collar jobs in the city. This paradigm has to shift, by changing the focus from commodity to value added business enterprises.”
The Master of Management in Agribusiness has been designed in collaboration with industry partners and various stakeholders in the sector to address these concerns. The program has elicited great interests across the continent, with the inaugural intake ushering 45 participants from 6 African countries; Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Ethiopia and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
“Most agribusiness enterprises lack the expertise to manage the rest of the processes in the Agribusiness chain. Additionally, post-harvest processes continue to seemingly inhibit the quality of the production output. Students will find concepts such as Argo-industry value chain and post-harvest management highly significant,” said Dr. Simon Nderitu, the Academic Director of the program.
“The designing of this Master Program has been a journey that we have taken with both our local industry partners as well as our international industry partners in Netherlands, Denmark and Germany. The interest expressed in this Master Program and in our diverse array of targeted Executive Education programs in Agribusiness continue to illustrate the great energy and zeal that Africans have in finding solutions to its food security crisis. Our vision is that the leaders nurtured through this program will influence policy that promotes the growth of agribusinesses enterprises and contribute to Africa sustainably feeding itself and others,” remarked Grace Ndungu, Director Agribusiness Programs at Strathmore Business School.
Bimal Kantaria, Managing Director of Elgon Kenya – one of the industry partners of the Program gave remarks on the significance of innovation in Agribusiness, illustrating the growing pool of IT driven platforms to solve challenges facing the sector.