As most university graduates hop from office to office in pursuit of elusive job opportunities, Joseph Boit 26, is reaping rewards of his innovation that is transforming agriculture.
Boit, a business Management and Information Technology graduate from Kabarak University has already decided to venture in modern agribusiness. It is a sector he is making money from as well as creating job opportunities for others through shared information on the Internet. Boit is exploiting his IT skills towards achieving professional agribusiness practice through access and exchange of practical information in farming geared towards boosting yields. Barely four months after creating an online platform to ease interaction and access to consultation, teamwork and expert advice on agriculture, his blog bagged a prestigious award. Boit won the 2015 Bloggers Association of Kenya (BAKE) award in the Environmental/Agricultural category thanks to his winning website — www.graduatefarmer.co.ke— where ambitious farmers mean and talk matters business. “The website was launched in January this year and managed to scoop the award in Agriculture category in May. It has started with positive and motivating results,” says Boit of his victory. Boit says his site was picked because it has impacted positively on agricultural players based on the high feed back and inquiries received daily.
He says horticulture and animal husbandry is among areas where farmers make inquiries through the platform. Through his platform, farmers also seek market information for their produce. Boit won with 2,450 votes in his category while a total of 151,390 were cast in all categories. “I was motivated to create the blog so that other youths who are idle due to unemployment can identify possible ways of creating wealth through agriculture with little capital,” he says. Boit says the platform aims to empower youth with information, tools and solutions to engage in modernised agribusiness to better their living standards and boost economy. The platform has been operational since January and its main purpose is to guide the youth from being job seekers to creators through agribusiness.
He says his objective is to provide detailed information and ensure all the youth who want to embrace agribusiness do profitable farming.“We are using ICT as a platform to promote agribusiness by connecting and empowering individuals interested in engaging in agriculture across the country and reduce youth unemployment,” says Boit who hails from Turbo constituency in Uasin Gishu County, graduated in 2013 and immediately engaged in website development in Eldoret town to generate some income. “After graduating from Kabarak University, I ventured into development of websites for interested people and would charge up to Sh10,000 for a website,” he says. His entrepreneurial desire was to raise capital for serious farming in their family farm at Chebarus in Kapkong sub location, Uasin Gishu County. By the beginning of 2014 planting season, Boit had generated income, which they topped up with a soft loan from a family member that enabled him and his elder brother Brian Boit, plant 20 acres of maize. “We ensured that we practise modern farming. With the use of information from the Internet, we applied best practice for maize production and got good profits,” he says adding the good practices saw them achieve a yield of 23 bags each of 90 kilograms of maize per acre.
It was during the maize production process that Boit developed the website www.graduatefarmer.co.ke. “This blog facilitates access to information from experts in agribusiness, research bodies, linkages with agricultural institutions and also from the media for inspiration. Through the website, we also collaborate with other IT players to look into market prices,” he says. He says the platform is motivating more youth into farming by providing information on production and investment tips in horticulture, dairy, cereals, bee keeping among other agribusiness ventures that generate good earnings within the shortest time. The platform also provides videolised demonstrations as a teaching guide on improving production and profit making. Boit adds that the practical information they provide can also be shared through YouTube and Facebook.
“The blog has listed all events in the agricultural calendar to enable the public access information during demonstrations, exhibitions and trade fares across the country,” says Boit. The platform is also working to enhance market information on agricultural produce, veterinary services, expert information on dairy, maize and horticultural production and plans to introduce chat option. “We are also creating further information on disease control, expert opinion on best production processes and on any breakthrough in agriculture,” he adds. Through the website, more youth are venturing into agribusiness and the notion that being employed is the ultimate achievement in life is slowly being demystified. “The truth is that as Kenyans, we have been hardwired since childhood to think that getting employed is the ultimate achievement in life without which we cannot be successful. We are here to proof that there is another way out of the predicament through agribusiness,” says Boit.
This year, Boit and his brother Brian have expanded their maize production acreage from 20 acres last year to 80 acres. With application of modern agricultural practices, they expect to improve production per acre from last year’s 23 bags of 90 kgs each to at least 30 bags. The two brothers are also managing the family’s dairy herds that produce an average of 250 litres of milk daily. He attributes his goodwill to farmers through the platform to his late grandfather Mr Paul Boit who was a large scale farmer who also supported small scale producers. Boit also says they have received a lot of support from their widowed mother Alice Boit, a staff member of Moi University. “Our mother is our mentor and offered us support even when I decided to be an entrepreneur,” adds Boit
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