The cost of living in Kenya is largely out of sync with the financial capabilities of many of the nations’ residents. Even food has become too costly for the average citizen. In response to this, a lot of young people around the country are trying their hand at farming, both for the purpose of feeding themselves and for the purpose of making money. It’s sort of the reverse of the traditional American entrepreneur’s tale, where one starts a business in order to avoid being a farmer.
But the upswing in new farmers is following an age-old tenant of the market: capitalizing on a niche, which in this case, is one that people shouldn’t generally have to worry about. Those taking up farming to feed themselves, to make a living, or both, will be helping to fill in a gap by making food more available across the board. As more Kenyans become farmers, this should drive food prices down, making it more accessible for everyone.
Of course, getting started can be difficult, and Kenya isn’t always the easiest place to grow crops. For that reason, Peter Mumo, who grew up in eastern Kenya, started a company called Expressions Global Group, which is essentially an incubator for farmers. They help connect would-be farmers with agronomists and other professionals who can help them get started. They help select the crops that are best suited for the soil at hand. Corn is a big seller, but it also requires a lot of water (which can be hard to come by) so they push some farmers to grow kale, tomatoes, or sorghum instead.
The company even drew the attention of President Obama, who awarded Mumo a Mandela Washington Fellowship. In the future, Mumo wants to take Expressions Global Group online and start helping farmers in other countries both in Africa and around the world.