Can Agriculture be the solution to meet SDG Number 1 - Ending poverty?

Author: Purity Kendi Muthomi (21) from Kenya

Poverty varies considerably depending on the situation. Having lived in Kenya for 18 years, and then three years in Costa Rica, has made me realize that poverty varies depending on the situation. When I compare what is said to be poor in Costa Rica, to me I see that almost as an average lifestyle in Kenya. And when I imagine feeling poor in Canada, I see this as very different from living in poverty in Costa Rica. It is important to note that poverty is not just about lack of money - there is much more to it than we think:

Poverty is hunger. Poverty is lack of shelter. Poverty is being sick and not being able to see a doctor. Poverty is not having access to school and not knowing how to read. Poverty is not having a job, is fear for the future, living one day at a time. Poverty is losing a child to illness brought about by unclean water. Poverty is powerlessness, lack of representation and freedom. - World Bank

Amongst the proposed SDGs, is Goal 1: ending poverty in all its forms everywhere.

Poverty is hunger.

If we have 8 billion mouths to feed in this world, a solution must be found. According to the World Food Programme, some 795 million people in the world do not have enough food to lead a healthy active life and poor nutrition causes nearly half (45%) of deaths in children under five - 3.1 million children each year. I believe agriculture is the strongest tool to end poverty if we have to ensure the 3.1 million children receive the nourishment that they need.

Povety is not having a job.

Unemployment has caused many youth in Kenya to stagnate in poverty since they have no way to make ends meet. Most of today’s young people are expected to work to fund for their education in the Tertiary colleges, to support their families, to pay school fees for their siblings and to acquire the essential basic needs for survival.

So how to fight both hunger and unemployment?

In my experience, ensuring that agricultural extension or private services are available to train farmers in best agricultural practices and help provide access to inputs, credit to facilitate harvest loans and appropriate technologies at the time of planting is what the governments should be busy working on. Let the small scale farmers be taught how to maximize their production, how to ensure there are less, or no, post-harvest losses, how to fight what pests, insects and what weeds are robbing humanity when it comes to agriculture. Let us educate our farmers to grow crops - healthy eating – healthy spending – and healthy saving!

Through savings, I was able to start a poultry business that I had zero knowledge about and no experience at all working with poultry. I started Gespak Poultry Farm, an integrated poultry venture encompassing all sustainable techniques and whose initial idea was to ensure I come up with a circular economy that the entire world can embrace to help solve the current global issues of food security, unemployment, hunger, waste management, water treatment, climatic change and above all poverty. The company has a poultry house (pen) that has almost 1,400 chickens at the moment and out of it I have been able to generate income; I can support my family and help them meet all their needs. I sell eggs and chicken meat to fast food and hotel operators, day-old chicks to farmers and I too bag the poultry droppings and sell them to the crop farmers as manure.

The results are not only a sustainable business, but one that encourages other youth to take part in the poultry business. I believe that youth can create their own employment regardless of their level of education or experience. Out of the business, I have employed four other young people to help in the feeding, cleaning and all other activities needed in the farm and this has not only improved their lifestyle but also provided them with more knowledge and skills to even start their own businesses on the same or any entrepreneurial venture in farming.

Again, let us educate our farmers to grow crops - healthy eating – healthy spending – and healthy saving! This will help us to work together to achieve Goal 1, and to help provide young people with the knowledge, skills, and experience to take part in today’s economy.

About the author: Purity is an undergraduate student at EARTH University in Costa Rica, pursuing Agricultural sciences and Natural resources management. She is passionate about inspiring and changing the lives of young people and the vulnerable in the society. Being part of CYFI has coached her, taught her and molded her to be an Agri-preneur where she was able to start her own business.

This post is part of our series of summer blog articles related to the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals. Join the discussion on social media by following @ChildFinance and using the hashtag #cyfiyouth.

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Tuesday, 19 November 2019