Agro-input company Elgon Kenya has partnered with the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Education to reward pupils and their teachers for participating in food production in a wider scheme that seeks to motivate school-going children into farming.
Through the rebranded school agriculture clubs, dubbed 4K Clubs, pupils and their teachers can apply online for the awards through an app that was launched during the National Farmers’ Awards ceremony held in Nairobi. The app also provides a repository of agriculture information that the pupils can access. Among the prizes to be won under the 4K club category include trophies, medals, sponsored trips, and cash prizes.
The 4k Club category is the latest addition to the annual farmers’ awards list that also includes Women in Agriculture, physically challenged persons in Agriculture, and Youth in Agriculture categories among others. The awards scheme which has been running since 2013 has created winners who have become icons, mentors, and model farmers demystifying agribusiness as a career of choice.
“The program has recorded success stories that include: increased uptake of technology, increased exploitation of business opportunities along agricultural value chain nodes, increased business volume for subsequent winners, expansion of area under agricultural enterprises, engagement in high-value chain enterprises, and inclusivity. Today we have launched the competition for the 4K clubs. This will ensure that our young generation is involved in agribusiness at an early age. I urge that we explore ways of bringing on board the Young Farmers Clubs into this scheme,” said Hon. Mithika Linturi.
The cabinet secretary, of the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development in a speech, read on his behalf by Harsama Kello the Principal Secretary State Department for Crop Development during a gala dinner to award the 2019 winners of the national farmers’ competition award scheme and the launching of the 2023 edition.
Speaking at the same event, Bimal Kantaria, the Managing Director at Elgon Kenya reiterated the need to not leave anyone behind in bolstering food production and highlighted the pivotal role that young people can play in creating a farming revolution.
“The message we are telling the children at the 4k clubs is that agriculture is not just about tilling land and cultivation, but about the entire value chain, from farm to folk and the world of opportunities that exist within that chain. We need the young people to get into agriculture and stay in it,” he said.
The Ministry of Agriculture is targeting to reach over 700 schools across the country with the agriculture clubs initiative and has rolled out training programs across the country. The president is the patron of the clubs.
“The relaunching of the 4k clubs by the Ministry of Agriculture was aimed at bringing on board more youth into food production to guarantee continuity in food production. We have started by ensuring that there is a 4k club in every ward in Kenya. We have trained the 4k club patrons in 27 counties,” said Jane Njeri the Communication and Competition Officer at 4K Club.
According to the Ministry of Education, there are over 10 million school-going children who are ready to join the 4k Club movement and become young farmers, providing a major boost to the food and nutrition security resolve.
“The champions being recognized in 4K clubs will not be limited to patrons and headteachers. They will also be MCAs, private sector practitioners, teachers, governors,s and anyone who is willing to walk the 4K club journey with us. All one needs to do is ask the 4K club they represent to nominate them,” Jane added.
Application forms for the 2023 National Farmers’ Awards competition can be accessed at https://elgonfarmersaward.com/