Agribusiness Ideas in climate-smart agriculture

Effects of climate change are becoming clearer in Kenyan farming. Drought and flooding cycles are becoming constant, long and fierce. The 2009 drought caused Livestock farmers up to 75% loss of their herds. Crop farmers faced either partial or total crop loss. Droughts speed up the desertification process that reduces available arable farmland. The overall effect is crop failure and inadequacy of animal feeds and water with an overall effect of food insecurity and poverty among agropastoralists directly hit by these challenges
Businesses can help farmers to control adverse weather challenges such as droughts and flooding through climate-smart agriculture (CSA). CSA options help farmers to mitigate their incomes and guarantees their yields. Examples of CSA practises include drip irrigation, stocking animal feed, agroforestry among others. These solutions present business solutions that are attractive to young people and businesses.

Promote Irrigation

Kenya agriculture is reliant on ample rainfall.   Most productive regions have two production seasons during the long and short rain periods.  With drought outbreaks, farmers lose partial or full crop failure. Irrigation could undo these effects.  However, many growers cannot get irrigation kits and efficiently water their crops. The few who can afford usually use ineffective methods which improve soil erosion are inept, pricey and wastewater.

Offering irrigation kits for sale and advice is a rewarding business idea for consideration. Other climate-smart irrigation ideas are;

  • supply of solar-powered water pumps.
  • Sell and establishment of drip irrigation kits.
  • Drilling of boreholes and supply of water tanks
  • Promotion of rainwater harvesting technologies such as underground water tanks and water pans.
  • Distribution of energy-efficient water pumps and pipes.

Formulate Animal Feeds

The cost of animal feed in the East African region is ridiculously expensive. Sadly, the safety and quality of these animal meals are poor with reports of aflatoxin contamination. The other entrepreneurial idea is the inadequate supply of white maize competitively shared between animal and human consumption.
To solve those challenges, you can process supplement animal feed from the available raw materials. These include the affordable common salt, maize combs, wheat husks, etc. One can concentrate on sourcing/ importing raw materials, formulating, milling and distribution of various animal feeds. To generate more money, concentrate on a variety of feeds and product lines. An excellent animal meal factory can consider distributing pig meal, dairy meal, chicken feed, finishing and fattening formulations, calf pellets, etc.  

Grow and sell hay

Occasional droughts have a major effect on the quality and availability of animal meals. Nomadic pastoralists have the opportunity of moving their animals in search of ample food and water from place to place. Private landowners practising intensive dairy farming are most disadvantaged. Those are susceptible to good rain for forage production.
To augment this challenge, one can produce various fodder plants such as grass.  Entrepreneurs should produce it in profitable batches. To earn more money, add value through bailing and shipping hay for trade near dairy farmers. Alternatively,   source rice, maize and wheat stalks in areas with high production and supply to livestock farmers in fodder scarce areas such as towns at a profit.

Market Climate-smart products and services

Most people would want to source buy and adopt climate-smart technologies to withstand the harsh effects of unfavourable weather. These technologies improve outputs, reduce inputs and are environmentally friendly. Unfortunately, most small-scale farmers lack access to these technologies and information on their usage.
Distributing some of these products and offering services is a good business idea. An example of such is the manufacture of bio-pesticides, repackaging in affordable packages, distribution and training on usage and benefits of the products.   
Best ideas in this area include producing organic fertilizers from herbs and animal wastes such as rabbit urine. Making pesticides and herbicides from common farm weeds such as marigold. Breeding, certification and distribution of indigenous crop varieties.

Sell and set up greenhouses

Protected agriculture involves the use of green and net houses to protect crops from
Insects, wind, frost, extreme temperatures, light intensity, heavy rain, birds and small animals. The crops usually targeted are high-value vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, peas, cabbages, eggplants, cucumbers, berries and stone fruits.
Utilization of protected agriculture in Kenya is low. This makes it a key potential for entrepreneurial exploitation. It can involve entrepreneurs in supplying materials, installing infrastructure, repair and maintenance among other areas.

Raise tree seedlings

Apart from drought, the other hazard effect of global warming is flash flooding. Sometimes they associate with dangerous landslides. We have even made this worse through deforestation to settle or farm.  The country wishes to increase forest cover through afforestation and agroforestry.  Individuals and institutions are in search of healthy and clean planting seedlings. Venture into this business by running a versatile tree nursery that contains fruit and indigenous trees

Samuel S.K.

S.K is the founder and senior agribusiness development consultant at Agcenture. He can be reached at

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3 Responses

  1. February 6, 2020

    […] They have to caution themselves against unpredictable weather risks. They will have to adopt climate-smart farming techniques. These include Irrigation, animal feed storage and rainwater […]

  2. February 28, 2020

    […] Rain-fed crop production is unsustainable as droughts become severe and frequent. We must promote climate-smart agriculture; irrigation and fast-maturing crops to mitigate this […]

  3. June 16, 2020

    […] challenges such as adverse weather and pests like locusts threaten your farming.  Invest in Climate-smart farming methods like protected farming and intensive production systems such as use of hydroponics, green […]

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