Agro-input company Elgon Kenya’s Director Bimal Kantaria has been feted with a Honorary Doctorate of Humanities degree by the United Graduate College and Seminary International, a US-based theology college, for his efforts at promoting agriculture in East Africa.
Mr Kantaria works with the youth in building capacity for the future. Elgon Kenya has brought more youth into farming through new technologies and projects.
The company runs the annual National Farmers Awards, now in its seventh year, which rewards Kenya’s best food producers. Since its pioneer edition, it runs a youth category that has inspired a new generation of young farmers who are mentored by the winners.
Riding a farming revolution
These young soil celebrities, majority who have dumped suits for boots and got their hands dirty, have turned their farms into demonstration and training centres attracting more youth.
This has, in turn, created a farming revolution while creating jobs in a country whose youth continue to grapple with unemployment despite agriculture being the leading income generator.
Mr Kantaria is the patron of the scheme and has previously been recognized by Kenya’s President Kenyatta for the role he and his company have played through the awards to motivate farmers.
As youth look to new technologies for food production, Elgon Kenya has responded with low-cost innovations that are not only making farming cool, but growing more yields under small acreages and guaranteeing year round supplies in the wake of changing climate.
This include the globally acclaimed Magnar Water Solutions that ensure efficient use of water in the wake of biting water scarcity. They have become a hit with many smallholder farmers for their durability and affordability.
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To bolster growing food from a point of information, Elgon Kenya has been running a 24/7 information centre where trained agronomists are on standby to answer all questions from farmers across the country on any aspect of their food production journey, a first-of-its-kind intervention in the country.
The agriculture inputs firm also runs an online shop selling even single units of its portfolio of products and in partnership with courier shops delivering the orders at the doorsteps of farmers.
As threats to food production, both traditional and emerging persist, and as farmers grapple with more hiccups across the value chain, Elgon Kenya has introduced plant clinics that are now in their tenth edition.
The clinics, modeled along the human health concept, allow farmers to bring their ‘sick plants’ for diagnosis by experts and researchers. The clinics also congregate industry players to deliberate on issues affecting the agriculture sector.
Mr Kantaria was also feted for his philanthropy that cuts across health, agriculture and education sectors.