16.6.22

Juicy Ruby Roman Grapes: Most Expensive Yet Scarce. Opportunity for African Youth in Farming

a bunch of ruby roman most expensive grapes
Japanese Ruby Roman Grapes are regarded as the most expensive grapes in the world with a single bunch fetching between $90 and $450. Their unique features that include being fragrant, sweet, juicy and less sour has earned ruby roman grapes the status of a luxury fruit with a lot of demand but limited supply. 

Different varieties of grapes are actively grown in East Africa, particularly in Tanzania. Considering that the weather is conducive for growing grapes, youth eager to get rich farming would be smart to research the business of growing ruby roman grapes to produce highly demanded and delicious fruit as a profitable crop. And if you are a grape farmer, the points made below can be relevant in improving your yields.

Here below is a video report on why ruby roman grapes are so expensive, with a few key points from the video outlined below:

Background:

  • It was not until 2008 that the first roman ruby grapes went up for sale. 
  • The effort to create them started in 1995 when local grape farmers and Ishikawa's agricultural research center decided to create a new breed of large red grapes.
  • In the start, there were dozens of varieties planted, mixture of red varieties, blue varieties and more. The pollen flew from one of the varieties, it was a cross by chance and it got a fruit. it was very lucky. If those different varieties had not been planted, roman ruby grapes would not be born.

Culture and features of ruby roman grapes:

  • First thing is Japanese Ruby Roman Grape's size. Just one is four times the size of an average grape. Inspectors look at a colour card and the grapes, and if it matches most prefered colour, one bunch of the grape can fetch between $90 and $450. 
  • Size and colour define these luxury grapes. There is no other variety in the world that is so large and red. Ruby roman grapes variety is only one that exists. In Japanese culture, fruits are considered as a gift and luxury item. Supermarkets often do not sell fruit with deformities.
  • No matter the grade, all the the roman ruby grapes have a uniquely sweet flavour. Ruby roman grapes are very fragrant and elegantly sweet, and its less sour. And very juicy. When you peel the skin, the juice will drip down. The juice splashes when you put it in your mouth.

Quality control and grading of grapes:

  • Each grape bunch is scrutinized for the colour, and size of each individual grape grain, which must weigh at least 20grams, and 30 milimeters in size. Next, sugar content in the grapes is measured with a non-destructive sugar meter which must be over 18 percent. 
  • Superior grade grapes make up 90 percent of harvest and special superior grade grapes make 10 percent. Superior grapes can cost between $90 and $140 dollars, while special superior grapes cost between $180 and $450 but one category costs more than these two.
  • Highest grade grapes are called premium. Average grape grain size weighs 20grams, while for premium grapes, each grain must weigh at least 30grams. Only one or two bunches a year qualify as premium. Farmers hope to sell one bunch of premium grapes for over one thousand dollars. Two bunches of premium grapes were recorded in 2021, while none in both 2020 and 2019. 
    juicy and succulent ruby roman grapes @youthinfarming.org

Farming process and monitoring:

  • Harvesting starts in July just in in time for Japanese gift giving holidays, ochugen. Grapes are only grown in Ishikawa prefecture and cultivated in green houses where farmers have better control over the growing process.
    ruby roman grapes farmer in greenhouse
  • Each grape is monitored and manicured so that every grain in a bunch looks identical. To produce grapes of a proper size, use of a grape thinning device and a pair of scissors. Grape farmer: it helps to determine which grains and bunches to remove. 
    • Improving grape shape and beauty: It is not good if the colour is uneven in a grape bunch. With scissors, we adjust the size of the grain evenly or make the shape more beautiful.
    • Controlling light: grapes need to be exposed to certain amount of light to get right colour. You have to be more careful about amount of light more than other grape varieties. One way to control light is by adding or removing leaves near the vines.

      To confirm that enough light is entering the greenhouse, farmers have devised a tool. farmer: to measure brightness in greenhouse by holding up camera of a smartphone, the percentage of the open space above the bunch is quantified, using a privately developed application, which informs farmers on how much light they need to add or subtract.
    • Controlling temperature. When temperature in greenhouse is hot, over 30 degrees celcius, ruby grapes do not turn a nice red colour but becomes whitish. Farmer opens the sides and ceilings of the greenhouse to keep it as cool and as ventilated as possible. 

Challenges: 

Not all ruby grapes farmers grow, will be up to standard which is why supply is limited. In 2020, only 25,000 ruby roman grape bunches were up for sale, a tiny fraction of all grapes available for sale in Japan which was 163,000 metric tons.

In conclusion, growing ruby roman grapes may be a viable way to get rich farming though further research on the conditions and other requirements needed to earn high yields is needed. One can start with making contact with Japanese farmers in Ishikawa to inquire about ruby mistakes to avoid, grapes diseases, where to get seedlings, and care needed to produce high yields. 

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13.6.22

Critical Life Skills for Astronuats for Your Agribusiness Success

rich mango fruit harvest takes teamwork
NASA has shared skills that astronauts use to successfully accomplish tasks together while in space - skills that are also very relevant for life on earth. NASA prepares the astronauts on the objectives of the mission at hand and the experiences they are bound to share together, training astronauts in expeditionary skills: selfcare/teamcare, cultural competency, leadership/followership, and teamwork. 

If these life skills work for astronauts, they are also bound to work towards the success of your agribusiness, especially when you become particularly aware and deliberately put them into practice in your own environment. For instance, when you choose to practice teamwork, you let the best ideas and suggestions within the team to form the course of action, even when those ideas come from somebody else apart from the leader.

1. Self-care/teamcare

Key points:

  • Astronauts use technical skills in their missions but also rely on interpersonal skills like collaboration, responsibility, and flexibility. The goal is to help you gain abilities you can apply in your life.
  • Self-care is how healthy you are mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. It includes taking care of your body, taking care of you belongings, being on time, getting enough sleep and your mood. 
  • Exercising good self-care means you pay attention to yourself and make healthy decisions, so you can be ready for normal and unexpected situations. 
  • And never under-estimate the power of a positive attitude. Believe in something bigger than yourself: singing and humour are great to have in your self-care toolbox.

Teamcare key points:

  • Teamcare is how well the heads, hearts and hands of your teammates are working together. 
  • Being good at teamcare means you monitor your teammates for signs of stress, fatigue or sickness and take steps to actively manage and support the health and readiness of your team.
  • Both self-care and teamcare rely on good communication. And the stronger the relationship, the stronger the communication. That's why astronauts spend alot of time working together and get to know each other before they get to fly into space.
  • You can practice good self-care and teamcare everyday when you are part of many teams: classmates, family and community. By taking care of yourself and watching out for others, you and your team can achieve success that is out of this world. 

Action for you:
Create a scenario using self-care and teamcare in your own life. 

Suggestions:

    • Self-care activities: You might consider going out for a walk out in nature or forest (forest bathing), practice meditation, exercise, ride a stationary bike, yoga etc.
    • Team-care activities: Arrange an-out-office activity such as playing volleyball at the beach, hiking, camping.

2. Cultural competency

Key points:

  • Every human who travels into space is awe-struck with beauty of earth, gaining a fresh understanding of how fragile earth really is. We're a global society meaning we must work together
  • When you work with people from different places, you may notice differences from yourself- perhaps they speak a different language, wear different clothing or have different skin colour. They may also have a different opinion on certain subjects. These are cultural differences. 
  • What you consider normal in your part of the world, may be different from their normal. If you do not know how to deal with this, then it can be challenging to work together as a team. Solution is simple - cultural competency, the way we understand each other's differences. 
  • Dangers and challenges faced by group while exploring cave required that they stick together and communicate. Solution to working together successfully with different cultures is to realise that everyone's perspective and contributions has value. 
  • Your team is stronger and improved because of a cultural differences. If you truly respect and value the opinions and contributions of others, then you can set common goals that allow everyone on the team to be fulfilled. 
  • At first, you might think that you are giving up something, but in the end you will see that you exceeded your own expectations. So when you notice, somebody is different from you, listen to them, try to see things from their perspective and focus on your common goals, just as astronauts do on the International Space Station (ISS).

Action:
-Create a scenario of cultural understanding in your life.
Suggestions: Almost every African country is full of diverse cultures, try visiting a fellow farmer from a different culture from your own to learn and understand how they do whatever they do.

3. Leadership/followership

  • Leaders find people who are the best, then they encourage, enable and inspire those people to accomplish great things.
  • Great leaders do more listening than talking because their job is to know every team member and to help them do their best.
  • Good leaders give the credit for success to their team, but they take responsibility for the failures. 
  • When everyone on team is all in and feels valued, then the leader is doing a good job. 

followership

  • Another form of leadership. 
  • Good followers do not just follow but instead they lead themselves, their peers, and even their leaders when needed.
  • If you are in a follower role, think like a leader. Ask yourself, as a team, what are we trying to accomplish? what can i contribute? Is what am saying helping or hurting our progress?
  • Sometimes as a follower, you don't get to set the team's mission or vision but you are absolutely critical to its success. 
  • At NASA, astronauts lead and follow all the time, for instance when they change command at the ISS. Its important to trust and listen to each other because everyone is good at something and will be in charge at some point. 
  • You may not notice, but you switch back between leadership and followership all the time. In sports, when you have the ball, you are leading the team, and then you make a decision and your teammates support by blocking out the other team or getting in position to help, and as soon as you pass the ball, another player becomes leader and you become follower. 
  • Practice being good leaders and good followers, like at NASA and you will be surprised by how much success you are a part of. Trust and listen to the people around you, whether you are the leader or the follower.

 Action
-Create a scenario using leadership and followership in your life.
Suggestions: While on a team day event, assign each member a leadership role on a particular task while everyone else remains a follower and have a feedback session at the end of it all.

4. Teamwork and communication

  • Teamwork happens every time you work with another person to achieve a common goal. so all space missions rely on teams. Astronauts are assigned to a team or crew for their mission to the ISS.
  • Astronaut crews go through a lot of training before travelling to space: they learn how to work together as a team, get to know each other's responsibilities on the team, and they have to make sure that they all have the skills to overcome challenges together. 
  • So they need their teammates to keep them safe and accomplish difficult tasks, like spacewalks.  
  • Teamwork takes practice and you have opportunities to practice it in your life. You can support others, you can be a good listener and you can work together to solve problems. 

Action
-Create a scenario using teamwork in your life.
Suggestion: Play sports, such as a game of soccer or volleyball.

In conclusion, taking care of your health ensures that you are less prone to fall victim to the negative effects of stress and burnout which can derail your focus from working towards success of your agribusiness. When you become good at taking care of yourself, it will be easier to do the same for your teammates to increase understanding and communication with each other across cultural differences to create the trust necessary for solving problems as either leaders or followers in any particular situation. You should do continuos practice, and with it comes continuos improvement until these life skills are part and parcel of your personality.

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11.6.22

8 Ways to Secure Your Agribusiness Assets to Keep Cyber Attacks Away

Paying for food bills using mobile phone
As a young farmer participating in agriculture with the support of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), you need to be aware that such gadgets are made of software and hardware with security weaknesses. ICTs include mobile/landline telephones, computers, televisions, Internet connections among others. 

Software are the intangible instructions running on the device enabling the user to view, interact and send commands to the device to produce a desired result. The hardware is a the physical tangible component that you can touch and hold in your hands. Both software and hardware function in harmony to enable a device to successfully carryout an assigned task. 

When an attacker, takes possession of your device, you have essentially lost access to a tool relevant for creating value in your agribusiness. What is less visible is when an attacker, infects your device with malicious software (malware) that gets embedded deep into the device, with the intent of stealing your sensitive business data

This form of attack, which happens when an attacker gets physical access to your devices or via infecting your device because it is accessible online is increasingly becoming a global challenge to defend against, though with a few measures, the impact of a cyber attack can be reduced.

When attacker has stolen your sensitive data, the result of which is that you get locked out of your devices by ransomware with attacker asking to be paid in cryptocurrency before releasing the key to regain access to your files, folders, applications and databases. And when you refuse to pay the ransomware demands, the attacker autions your data and publishes it online for everyone to access. 

Ransomware attacks are especially devasting to small business with over 60 percent going bankrupt after a cyber attack, and others facing damages to business reputation, disruption of business operations and huge financial losses. 

There are a few proactive steps you should take to reduce the likelihood of a successful cyber attack against your agribusiness:

  1. Backup your business data, especially sensitive and critical business data, and keep your backups offline. Be sure to test the backups that they work and can be successfully restored when needed. 

  2. Segment your network, to separate the network with your most valuable assets (crown jewels) away from all the others.

  3. Use strong passwords and enable two-step verification via a token sent to your mobile phone or authentication app.

  4. Install critical software updates to patch vulnerabilities in your assets when they become available from Microsoft and other suppliers.

  5. Practice telling fake messages from legitimate ones using free online phishing quizzes.

  6. Prepare short and concise business policy guides, by customizing free online policy templates, to guide your employees on business best practices.

  7. Prepare a list with ransomware detection and decryption services that provide solutions for removing ransomware without paying the ransom, in the event you fall victim to ransomware.

  8. Keep improving your knowledge regarding keeping your business data and systems safe online using free online courses, some of which offer certificates and degrees from top universities.

In conclusion, prevention is always better than cure, and becoming proactive greatly lowers risk of a successful attack on your agribusiness. Correcting an adverse event after an attack takes alot of time, money and effort without a guarantee that your business will survive. Be sure to reach out to us if you need assistance.

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10.6.22

YouthinFarming Ranked Among Top Farming Blogs

youthinfarming blog among top farm blogs

Exciting news reaching our desk is that Youth in farming has been selected as one of the top eighty farming blogs on the web, ranked as number 51 on the feedspot list. This is great news to the efforts towards inspiring youth to join agriculture as a profitable field capable of feeding the increasing global population. 

In addition, the visitor traffic is increasing at the site, soon reaching and surpassing 400,000 visits with an average of 100 daily visits. We greatly appreciate your support. Please continue to follow us on twitter (@youngfarmer2k), youtube and facebook (facebook.com/pages/Youth-in-Farming).

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1.6.22

How to make Money Turning Food Waste into Valuable Products

food waste avocado @youthinfarming.org
I recently watched a video report below, where Business Insider visiting six companies turning fruit and vegetable waste into biodegradable plastic (bioplastic), hair extensions, fertilizers, sanitary pads, biogas providing energy for lighting and heating, biodegradable plates and other products. It got me thinking.

Lessons and action points I took away:

  • Look around your home and community for unwanted food items and write them down.
  • Visit landfills to know what gets thrown out
  • Research if any of the unwanted food items in your community can be utilised to make biogas energy, fertilisers and several other sustainable products 
  • Understand and figure out how much money you can make from a sustainable agribusiness project providing services in your community.
  • Investigate level of awareness and community/government policies around food waste, and how this can be relevant for your agribusiness project.
Below are the key points I took away from watching the Business Insider video linked below.

Think of: How can you turn food waste abundantly and freely available in your surroundings and community into valuable products while making a healthy income?

Key take-aways:

Leather from unwanted mangoes:

Intro: Dutch Company Fruitleather, produces Vegan Leather made from thousands of mangoes that would otherwise be thrown away, used to make wallets, handbags, shoes.

Quality controls: Due to Dutch quality controls requires importer to cut mangoes which cant be sold ending up as trash. Company collects 1500 mangoes per day from dutch importer. Vegan leather company recieves mango fruit waste for free helping the company to get rid of mango waste without paying trash collection fees. 

Process: Mangoes are crushed into pulp, where is mixed with other additives to turn into leather material. They are put on trays to dry, added resins and a coating exposed to 100 degrees to make coating dry. Vegan leather is transformed to appear like animal skin, and it is sold around the world

Founders dream was to turn something value-less into something valuable. Through several experiments founders discovered product they make today. 

    • Fruitleather is able to produce about 250 pairs of shoes per month.
    • Started out processing watermelons and discovered not many fibers inside watermelons but mainly water. Settled on mangoes because fruit was easy to work with. 
    • And researched how many mangoes Holland imports. More than half of the mangoes in Europe are imported or traded by Netherlands. Around 12 percent of the food in Netherlands is wasted.
    • Vegan leather company is able to get a large amount of resource to make its products, and thus decided to stay with mango fruit waste processing. 
    • Founders are also able to cut on global emissions affecting the planet, due to chemicals used to tan leather that are dangerous to both humans and environment.Also methan emissions from rearing cattle are reduced.
    • New environmentally friendly materials are needed that leave a smaller carbon footprint.

Vegan leather challenges: some of it is made from mushrooms and pineapples, most of it is made from plastic leaving a huge carbon footprint.

    • In 2020, synthetic leather market is valued at $31.4 billion increasing to over $40 billion in next six years, a fraction of entire leather industry valued at $400 billion.
    • Mango leather does not last as long as cow leather. Company hopes to improve production one mango at a time.

07:48 Bioplastic from unwanted avocado:

Background: In 2021, americans consumed 6 billion ovacadoes, developing alot of food waste. A company (biofase) transforms ovacado waste into Bioplastics that help to reduce pollution because they break down faster and use less fossil fuels.

Process: Company biofase in Mexico, exports about half of worlds ovacado. Bioplastics are products made of biological substances instead of petroleum. The process starts with ovacado seeds, which are shredded and turned into sheets 

Technology: bioplastics are an improvement over traditional plastics as they take less fossil fuels to produce, contain fewer toxic chemicals, and decompose faster. The technology to make bioplastics has improved to grow to $20 billion industry. Biofase produces 130 tonnes of bioplastic each month, with products shipped around the world.

Challenges: bioplastics require special industrial facilities to properly compost and can contaminate regular recycling stream, and more expensive than regular plastic.

    • Production capacity for bioplastics is currently low while fossil fuel plastic capacity is much bigger.
    • Bioplastics are mostly used in restaurants but idea that biodegradables can be thrown into nature and will go away is false. It takes about one year for bioplastics to break down in natural conditions, which is plenty of time to block waterways and harm animal habitats, though its much shorter than time traditional plastics take to breakdown some of which take hundreds of years.

12:33 Cloth from banana stems:

Intro: bananas are one of worlds most wasteful crops, especially the banana stems, with farmers typically burning them and thus polluting the air. Ugandan company, texfad, has figured out how to pulverise them into fibre to make mats, rugs, and hair extensions. Could bananas become a green alternative to cotton or silk?

Enter TexFad: Every banana plant fruits once in its lifetime, and for every ton of fruit, theres two tonnes of debris. Texfad founder, Kimani Muturi saw potential in banana debris due to his love for handweaving while in college.

    • it takes about a month to weave a rug inspired by east african patterns, starting at about $500.
    • Texfad employs 23 people with an internship program. 
    • Uganda produces more bananas than any other in East africa about nine million tonnes every year. Founder is not worried about banana materials as long as consumption of bananas continues.
    • Texfad has grown in past eight years, a fraction of the $30 billion global banana industry. Environmentalists say that composting banana stems into fertiliser would be a more immediate solution.
    • Texfad produces biodegradable fabrics than are more sustainable than other popular fabrics. Banana fibre absorbs dyes better than cotton meaning that it needs less water and less land to produce

Process: 

    • Banana stems are cut into chunks and left to dry in the sun. 
    • And thereafter feed the stems into an extractor, a crucial step and only one that requires machinery, extractor costs range from $1,000 to $10,000 for a new one, which is an obstacle for expanding the business, while rest of work is done by hand.
    • Extracted fibres are dried again until they feel like silky yarn, which is later dyed and the weaving shed where making of handicrafts begin.

Challenges: Special equipment and expertise hold back this method from becoming more widespread. Banana fibre may well be the next popular fibre in fashion.

17:47 Plates from unwanted pineapple:

Process: At Lifepack, plates are made from shredded pineapple crowns mixed with recycleable paper and turned into sheets left to dry out in the sun. A machine presses plates into a form, and if the disposable plates end up in places with soil and water, tiny seeds inside will blossom in a few days.

Founders wanted to create not only biodegradable product but rather one that generates life.

  • Workers at lifepack turn out 10,000 eco-friendly plates. 
  • In addition to plates, company makes sandwich containers and coffee cup sleeves that contain seeds from edible plants like amaranth, strawberry and cilantro.
  • For every ton of products that company makes, it saves about 16 trees. It sources pineapple crowns from nearby processing plant where owners dont charge anything for the pineapple waste.
  • Company is trying to promote creation of circular economies, founded 12 years ago by husband and wife pair, when they noticed people in parks polluting environment with products from plastic or styrofoam.
  • Columbia is trying to reduce plastic waste. In 2018, country introduced a tax on single-use plastics that increase each year.
  • Lifepacks sells for $2.5 per dozen, more than double price of traditional plastic plates. Its plates are sold in three large supermarkets and company handles large orders via website. 
  • Lifepack has managed to capitalise on increasing demand for sustainable packaging which has increased 40 percent since company started. 
  • Currently there is more demand than what company is able to supply, which means there is a positive response from clients and ready market for products company sells.

Challenges: 

    • Lifepack needs to modernize machinery and improve production and founders hope to franchise the business and expand it to other countries to help more people cut back on plastics.
    • Getting consumers to buy Lifepack products is not easy, due to people not being environmentally aware.

21:47 Sanitary Pads from unwanted banana stems:

Intro: India grows more bananas that anywhere else in the world. One company is turning banana waste into biodegradable sanitary pads that help more people have safer periods. With disposable plastic pads on the rise, can banana stems save planet from mountains of trash?

Enter Saathi: In 2015 when Saathi started, only about a third of women in India had access to pads, meaning missing out on school or work every five days every month which sets women back.
    • Just one banana plant stem can yield up to 3,000 pads saathi says. Bananas bear fruit only once, and one harvested, farmers clear the field for new growth
    • research found out that turning banana waste into fertilizer, fabric, and even candy.
Process: 
  • banana stems are cut in half and peeled layer by layer, that are fed into machines that turn them into fibres and hanged to dry.
  • banana stem fibre extration machines are setup around so that farmers to extract the fibres, and saathi pays farmers for the fibres.
  • At saathi factory, dried fibres are fed into machines to cut them further into small sizes, and turned into cotton-like fluff  material using saathi secret technology. And then pressed into thinner and thinner sheets which forms the absorbent layer of the pads. And workers manually arrange the layers of the pad together.
  • After pads are cut to size, they are tested using water and ink from each batch, and thereafter samples sanitized via light to kill off bad bacteria and viruses.
  • All pads and packaging are biodegradable, and would break down in under six months and if left in the open, takes 18 months. Conventional pads are made mostly of plastic, which if all menstruating women in India used them would create a huge amount of trash
Product: 
  • farmers can also use the liquid from the stems as fertilizer in their gardens.
  • Before disposable pads were invented, people used cloth, dried plants and other absorbent substances. Many women still use cloth which can cause infections if not washed and dried frequently.
  • Saathi sells pads in shopping stores and online, and for each pad it sells, saathi gives one away free to people in rural areas where they are needed most. Distributed almost 2 million pads now.
Challenges: 
  • When pads are introduced local women are taught in menstrual health. Issues include cultural taboos and price of pads.
  • In some communities, women's behaviour is limited while menstruating. Art, activism and government programs are used to make it easier to talk about periods.

30:14 Biogas energy from unwanted vegetables:

Intro: 10 tonnes of food go unsold at the market instead of going to a landfill, its turned into electricity that powers street lights, buildings and a kitchen preparing food for 800 people using biogas which experts says its plentiful and low-tech and burns cleaner than any fossil fuel. Why cant we make energy from 1.3 billion tonnes of food thrown out every year?

Enter Bowenpally market in Hyderabad, India:

Process: Larger vegetables are chopped into smaller pieces. Coveyer belt carries them into factory where they are shredded further, and food pulp pumped into digesters where bacteria are bred in absence of oxygen. They feed on the food waste giving out carbondioxide and methane, gases emited by any organic material as it decomposes.

Reasons why food is thrown out: Some are thrown out because they are spoilt and some because it will cost farmer too much to transport back home. Vegetables are useless if rotten, thats why they are used in biogas.

  • Massive amounts of food waste makes landfills third largest source of human-caused sources of methane emissions just behind fossil fuels and agriculture.
  • Burning biogas to make electricity is a way to harvest those gases before they enter the atmosphere

Product: At Bowenpally, biogas is stored in four huge balloons until its ready to use, serving enough power to a kitchen serving 800 meals per day.

  • Aside from energy, the biogas plants creates another byproduct - fertiliser. Farmers buy it back to spread in their fields where the vegetables grow, improving yields. 
  • Biogas can be produced from any organic material including animal and human feaces.

Challenges: If biogas can be locally sourced to cut down on emissions and reduce food waste, why are we not all doing it? 

  • Because in most countries its still cheaper to burn fossil fuels. In North america biogas costs five times more than natural gas, though gap is smaller in Asia where price is less than $2 per unit. Worlds largest biogas plant was recently built in Denmark and new facilities are being built in Europe and Africa.
  • Biogas will never replace natural gas, theres just not enough waste to keep up with the demand for electricity, but it does reduce on landfill waste, something natural gas cant do.
  • A missed opportunity in US, where 30-40 percent of food gets thrown out. These projects need to happen to make life more sustainable 


In summary, growing food results in a lot of waste or unwanted plant fibres left behind that can be harnessed to produce fertilizers or feed bacteria to produce biogas energy that can bring cheap energy for cooking, lighting and heating in many rural communities in Africa. 

Let this get you thinking and please share with us your ideas in the comments below.

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23.5.22

Why You Need to Get your agribusiness Started Now

starvation and drought
As an african youth, if you are on the fence on whether you should engage in agriculture, you mostly should because the so many fellow africans need it to survive. If you started your agribusiness, you would positively contribute to more food being available in the future.

Sometimes reading news can be depressing especially stories about millions of people facing starvation, with nothing to eat - and most especially children. Having experienced not having enough to eat while growing up, upon reading such stories, i ask myself what I can do to help. 

And that is where inspiration for this blog came from. I have learnt to channel my help in writing stories to help fellow african youth choose an agricultural path to grow enough food to feed the continent while making money at same time. 

Here are few african stories making headlines lately 

1. Drought in east africa. According to the BBC, over 20 million people are facing starvation in turkana, northern Kenya. the land has become completely dry due to rains that have failed to come leaving both people and livestock with nothing to eat. 

2. African dependence on wheat from Russia and Ukraine. This bar chart made rounds when the Ukraine-russia war started showing a majority of african nations relying on wheat imports from these two nations. If you started on growing wheat today, you would feed people in Somalia, Benin, Laos, Egypt, Sudan, DR Congo, Senegal, Tanzania, Rwanda, Madagascar, Congo, Burkina Faso, Gambia, Libya, Tunisia, Uganda, Burundi, Yemen, Namibia, Kenya, Mauritania, Togo, Mozambique, Cabo Verde, Malawi, South africa and Eritrea - countries waiting on wheat imports that are not coming due to an ongoing war.  

3. Over 43 million people need food in Sahel and West Africa, according to World Food Programme (WFP). A food crisis affecting people living in both rural and urban areas that is escalated by increasing food prices, drought and poor crop yields, conflicts, locusts and the effects of the corona pandemic. 

Consider growing macadamia nuts that are currently the most expensive nuts with increasing demand, farming crickets and black soldier fly for insect protein that is needed for animal feeds, and/or sharing your knowledge and skills on agricultural topics.

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20.5.22

Macadamia: Farming the Most Expensive Nuts in the World

freshly picked macadamia nuts
Macadamia nuts are regarded as the most expensive nuts at $25 per pound, and are continously breaking price records due to increasing demand that exceeds available supply. Macadamia nuts have a high cholestorel-free fat content and palmitoleic acid relevant for improving the body's metabolism.

In east africa, Kenya has become the third biggest producer of macadamia nuts globally, whose farmers are cashing in this lucrative crop rather than the failing coffee business. Other major macadamia producers are Australia, origin of the macadamia trees and South Africa, besides which growing macadamia is quite is not done in many parts in Africa.

READ: 20 Ways to Make $25,000 per month running an Agricultural Business

This is suitable and profitable area without competition, that a young farmer would do well to research and invest in getting a hybrid trees that mature faster to cash in the lucrative macadamia business, as visit to macadamia farmer demonstrates.

Macadamia nuts inside cracked shell @youthinfarming.org

Macadamia farm in Kenya

The farm journal visit to Macadamia farm of David Jesse in Kiambu county, Kenya 4.5 acre farm. Here are they key takeaways:

  • Weather conditions: Macadamia grows well in altitude of 1500 to 2000 meters above sea level. And requires rainfall of between 700-2600 ml, temp 15-29 degrees centigrade and fertile sandy loamy soils of ph betwen 5.5 to 6.5. Well kept trees produce up to 80 kilograms per tree.

  • Macadamia content and growth: macadamia trees grow to 20 meters high, with fragrant pink and white flowers suceeded by a bunch of about 20 green fruit, with a shell difficult to crack. The nut, within the shell, is white in colour and rich in vitamins B6, fatty acids, protein, Iron and magnesium (key for improving metabolism and strengthening bones). Planting spacing of 7.5m - 10meters with an acre containing 70 trees in total. 

  • Growth and Harvesting: Propagated through grafting while trees planted directly take seven years before producing first fruit. Some grafted varieties start to yield fruit from 2-3 years. After flowering, it takes 6-8months to mature. Ready nuts are harvested, shells removed and dried within 24 hours of harvesting. Macadamia flowering in July and harvesting may-june.

Be sure to watch Part 2 and Part 3 where the macadamia farmer, David Jesse, gets interviewed on challenges, benefits and best varieties to plant for maximum profit. Key take-aways summarised below:

  • Total trees: There are 240 macadamia trees in total on farm. Production per trees goes up and down. A single tree can produce 200 kilogram (moranga 20 species). 

  • Fertiliser: If theres a lot of rain and not enough sunshine, then trees do not produce as expected, and produced 6 tonnes at lowest levels. And without fertiliser got 13-14 tonnes, but with fertilisers got up to 20 tonnes of nuts per year. In 2019, farmer got 6 tonnes and buying rate 215 kes.

  • Reason for farming: farmer planted macadamia trees for over 11 years as a retirement plan to help pay bills when he  can no longer work.

  • Initial capital got from transport job of about 100,000 kenyan shillings (kes) injected into planting macadamia trees. Waited for 3.5 years, and irrigated trees due to dry season. Local youth provide labour to take care of farm including harvesting.

  • Challenges: 
    • rats come to eat macadamia fruit, solution is to tie iron sheets around tree stem, so rat falls off when it tries to climb tree. 
    • And not enough space (land) to plant trees thus producing less.
    • Kiambu 3 was very tall and difficult to harvest, and decided to an improved breed which is shorter and easier to harvest fruit (moranga 20 species)

  • Market: so many people willing to buy macadamia. If you have a huge produce, companies buying are willing to buy at higher rate. Rate is normally between 80-200 kes per kilo.

In summary, growing macadamia trees for the delicious and crunchy fatty nuts they produce is profitable and increasing in demand globally. Be sure to do your own research on the best grafted macadamia tree seedlings that mature faster and not so tall making harvesting the nuts difficult. This appears to be virgin territory with little to no competition, just as the insect protect market of farming crickets and black soldier fly currently is. See you when you are making money in agriculture!

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18.5.22

Cricket Farming: Sustainable Insect Protein to Feed Africa

cricket farming to produce sustainable protein @youthinfarming.org
According to Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), food production needs to increase by up to sixty percent to meet global food requirements in 2050, with emphasis on increasing production of under-utilized foods, such as insect farming, which are important in overcoming malnutrition in young children.

Silicon valley is already investing millions in companies producing insect protein, a market valued at over $300 billion dollars. Insects are seen as a sustainable way to feed the growing human population without trashing the planet. Insect protein is getting added to foods people already eat like protein bars, consumer products, bread, pasta and crackers.

cricket protein cookies @youthinfarming.org

Massive Cricket farm

Business Insiders visit to Entomo farms, a cricket farm in Canada, gives an insight into the practices of cricket farming. Quick facts in the video:

  • In a single room, 15 million cricket eggs. After 9 days, eggs hatch and stay in the nursery for 2 weeks. From time egg hatches to harvest is 6 weeks, at which time a cricket is fully mature. Its lived out its life, bred and laid eggs, and would be dying within a few days anyway. At which stage, they get turned into food.

  • Crickets eat mixture of corn, soy and flax. On average, they feed on a 1,000 pounds (453kg) of feed per day. Such tiny animals consume alot when you have 10-15 million, thats fair amount of feed. It takes a personnel of 5 people to take care of a colony of millions of crickets.

  • Among 900 cricket species, Entomo farms chose the tropical house cricket (gryllodes sigillatus) because of its simple feed requirements, does well in high densities, grows really fast and super delicious to eat. Every part of the tropical house cricket is edible, and includes nutrients calcium, iron and fibre.

  • Crickets require a nice warm environment, being cold-blooded animals and their metabolism is controlled by temperature. If you keep them on the warmer end of their preffered temperature, they grow faster.

  • Crickets eat mixture of corn, soy and flax. On average, they feed on a 1,000 pounds (453kg) of feed per day. Such tiny animals consume alot when you have 10-15 million, thats fair amount of feed.

  • Growing 15 million crickets is far more sustainable than farming pigs, poultry or cattle. Crickets contain more protein than beef, without the environmental damage. To produce one kilogram  of cow meat takes 22,000 litres of water, and to produce one kilogram of protein from a cricket, takes ca. 850 litres of water.

  • Each day Entomo turns 15,000 crickets into 500 pounds of powder. Entomo produces 9,000 pounds of protein per week enough to fill the daily protein requirements of 80,000 people.

  • Cricket poop is a usable product, cricket manure. Its called frass, and its a great fertilizer. Farm produces 6,000 pounds of manure per harvest. 

  • Entomo customers are integrating cricket protein into dog treats, selling it as cricket powder, putting it in a super-food smoothie mix, and putting it into baked goods and snacks. Cricket flour sells for $12 per four ounces 

  • Challenges: Perception in North America around insect as food is a challenge while in Asia, crickets are already a popular food.

  • Benefits: few diseases transferrable from insects to humans which is different from farming mammals and chickens. Crickets have no known viruses or viruses that can cross between species.


In conclusion, massive cricket farming has a number of benefits yet takes up very small space compared to farming poultry and mammals. Cricket farming, just like black soldier fly farming, is sustainable and good for the environment, has no viruses affecting humans and within six weeks, crickets are ready to turn into insect protein that is high demand as an ingredient in human snacks and animal feeds.

Further reading on cricket farming:

What to Feed Crickets. Crickets are omnivores and scavengers. They feed on dry foods such as sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, peanuts; and fresh foods like greens (lettuce, broccoli etc), potatoes, carrots, fruits.

Crickets: The food of the future? BBC. Cricket One startup in Vietnam with container setup for farming crickets to produce enough insect protein to feed the world.

Cricket - Diverse facts and history about the cricket. Wikipedia.

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17.5.22

5 Ways to Make Recurring Income in Agriculture in Africa

successful agribusiness farmer @ruralict.com
Portfolio of successful agribusiness farmer

Youth in Farming has previously compiled a list of 10 Ways to Earn a Living from Agriculture Without Owning a Farm, that include making a mobile phone app which a reader might consider as difficult, though its possible without programming skills. Now that information communication technologies (ICTs), such as mobile phones, are easily accesible in Africa, consider using ICTs to boost your income and agricultural success with the world. 

Find here below a list of ways you can earn money in agriculture through telling agricultural stories via video, teaching online, freelancing, writing on a personal blog and demonstrating the value of your agricultural knowledge on a physical farm. 

   READ: How to make Money Turning Food Waste into Useful Stuff

5 ways to make money in Agriculture

  1. Vlogging - telling agricultural stories through video. DIY Garden Ideas youtube channel has 1.85 million subscribers gained from telling gardening stories through video. Study such a channel to tell similar stories in your community.  The Ghanaian Farmer is another thriving african youtube channel.

  2. Teach agricultural courses online on platforms like Coursera, zoom, skype and Udemy at a fee. On coursera, a search for "agriculture" courses gives only 37 results indicating that there is a huge gap still to be filled, unlike a search on "IT" which yields 4312 results. On Udemy, a search for "agriculture" yields 263 results with courses valued at $13.99 onwards. Your strategy could be to price your course lower or give it away free for a group of pioneers on the basis that they undergo training and provide valuable feedback that can be used to improve the content of the course.

  3. Freelance agriculture content writer. Freelance agricultural content writer on sites like fiverr and several other freelanceing websites. Some of such profiles on fiverr write content related with agricultural business plans, gardening, lawn care, landscape, logos, research projects, fruits, farm animals and charge anywhere between $10 to $80 per article. You might consider doing freelance writing as a side hustle with a full-time office/farm job.

  4. Setup a personal blog to tell agricultural stories. Share your passion and unique insights regarding agriculture with the world. After consistently writing and growing the traffic to your blog, you will be able to accept advertisers (such as google adsense), to pay you for your efforts. Building up such blogging value, will pay dividends well into the future due to your blog continually getting visitors, getting advertisers and maybe getting nominated for different awards that greatly improves your reputation and income. 

  5. Invest in attaining a quality agricultural education and setup a demonstration farm to put the knowledge to use. With your success, many aspiring farmers would be more than willing to pay fees to a visit and have a hands-on experience on attaining similar success. Dr Emma Naluyima has managed to reach a level of agribusiness success many dream of, on a small piece of land rearing pigs, maggots, fish, bananas, spices and many other innovative agricultural practices. 
In summary, making money in agriculture is possible but it requires that that you put in the work. Forget getting-rich-quick schemes, shortcuts or anything that promises getting money on autopilot. If you consistently put in the effort and ask for help where needed, with time you will suceed. 

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16.5.22

Increasing Blog traffic at Youth in Farming

Increasing agribusiness blog traffic @youthinfarming.org
Youth in Farming blog traffic through the years

Dear reader,

thank you for visiting our Youth in Farming pages. We want to hear from you. Let us know what you want us to write about, and even better if you would like to write (agribusiness) stories - email us

Here are the back-end insights into how the Youth in Farming blog is doing.

Top 5 popular stories that you love to read: 

Growing agriculture blog traffic @youthinfarming.org


Highest views on a single day: 7,500 views (1 july 2016).
All-time views: 396,449 views.  

As it is often said, "old is gold", here are all the other stories we shared in the past:
We pledge to write more engaging content in the future. And looking forward to your continued support. 

Please share further in your (social media) networks and help us reach our goal of gaining beyond 1,000,000 blog views before the end of 2022.

Onwards and upwards. Leave us a comment.

-Youth in Farming (hi@youthinfarming.org)

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12.5.22

Black Soldier Fly Farming: Maggots Cleaning up Food Waste

Africa Black soldier fly larvae @youthinfarming.org
Black soldier fly (BSF) farming - maggots ready to sell off

There is a plenty of food waste lying domant on landfills in Africa. Considering that a number of people are digusted by maggots (black soldier fly larvae), if you are brave enough, this is such an open market with little to no competition at all just for you to make money.

Black Soldier farm in Kenya

Here is an investor making money from farming black soldier flies larvae in Kenya. Below the video are key points that the investor makes and agricultural experts make:


Key points:

  • Black Soldier fly (BSF) is an insect used to recycle food waste.
  • Cost of feed for poultry and fish is high particularly protein being very expensive. BSF is very rich in protein content. 900 edible insects in Africa. Insects are considered as an alternative to the expensive animal feeds.
  • BSF contains up to 50 percent protein, 35 percent lipids and amino acide profile similar to fishmeal
  • BSF is useful for protein meal, biofertilizers, whole dried larvae, larvae oil, chitin/chitosan or waste composting
  • BSF insect larvae feed on food waste that is collected from surrounding landfills 
  • BSF temperaturs range between 28-30 degrees Celcius.
  • At the farm, strategy is to take 20 percent of BSF larvae back to the colony to mate and produce more egges, while 80 percent is sold off to feed processors as poulty and fish feed.
  • BSF Market is huge with current market demand outweighing supply.
  • BSF has potential to create over 50,000 jobs.
  • BSF Challenges include: limited funding, space to expand existing farm, locating food waste and collecting it including labour costs. 
  • BSF Opportunity is huge: 
    • BSF doesnt require so much space/funding, 
    • Increasing demand that cannot be satisfied with existing supply. 
    • protein is a scare commodity in sub-saharan Africa making BSF one of unique farming methods to provide it.
  • If you consider BSF, you should get trained first in the best practices, just like the Kenyan investor did get trained in Netherlands. As young farmer, you can contact your local agricultural office for nearby places or farms where you can easily get the necessary training.
In conclusion, setting up BSF is a feasible and doest not require huge initial capital. Food waste is an abundant commodity in many places in africa. Once you gain the necessary BSF training to avoid common mistakes, you will be well on the way to generating income from your agribusiness. 

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