We need agriculture guys!

 

away from the city

away from the city

I had gone upcountry to visit my grand-parents over Christmas. I had initially planned on staying there just two nights, but due to all the fun I was having, I extended my visit to seven days. The trip was not just fun; it was also educational. My eyes were opened wider, and I feel excited to share with you what I have learnt.

Food = good!

scene from Age of Empires Online

scene from Age of Empires Online

I am a big fan of strategy games. This genre of games includes titles such as Microsoft’s Age of Empires, Rise of Nations (another one from Microsoft), Sid Meier’s Civilization, and Zeus – Master of Olympus, to mention but a few.

I have learnt so much about the world through these games. For instance, I have learnt that wars are more common that I thought. Although, you can come to that realization from just watching Al Jazeera. If you look at our history, times of peace are kind of unusual! But I’m not going to focus on that today. I want to talk about natural resources! And not just any of the many that are there … just agricultural land.

scene from Age of Empires Online

scene from Age of Empires Online

Usually the strategy games I mentioned starts off with you (the leader) controlling a handful of people on some new unexplored land. The very first thing everybody who plays these games aim to do is to gather food. Pretty obvious huh!

before anything can happen, people got to eat!

before anything can happen, people got to eat!

Food enables you to feed (and thus control) more people. With more people, you can build your cities faster than your opponents, and finally take over all the land and win the game. Nourishment is the beginning of survival in any strategy game!

I’ll go a step further and add that food security is a necessity if a nation is to develop. Recently, an arm of the Kenyan government issued a plea to the citizens to use family planning methods. Probably they were citing that the population explosion far outstripped the capacity of the current economy to support it.

scene from Rise of Nations

scene from Rise of Nations

“How will we feed all these mouths?”

Good family planning is good for the future, but we still have to face the issue of feeding those who are already here. In my recent travels I saw that this country has a lot of land! So much land that we shouldn’t complain that we do not have enough food! Then what is the problem if there is sufficient land?

We need agriculture guys!

The games mentioned offer options to advance the methods used to gather the much needed commodity. At first you may be gathering the food from some nearby bushes, but soon you build farms to supplement this source (which will be depleted eventually with population growth).

scene from Zeus - a city builder game

scene from Zeus – a city builder game

In Rise of Nations, you build universities and conduct research on improving the food production methods which makes the same amount of land produce more per unit time. You adopt the use of tools and machinery that make work on the land more efficient and effective.

I am tempted to ask how come we aren’t doing this. But I won’t ask that question because I’d rather say this instead: the country needs agriculture guys! Serious ones! I mean those trained professionally and have a passion for the stuff! Kind of like the way some of us have a passion for games! Those who go out of their way to read more on that stuff and have a knack for trying out what they have learnt, all with the aim of improving everybody’s lives!

I know you know what I mean.

scene from Zeus

scene from Zeus

One more thing that I’d really regret if I failed to mention is something that determines every single aspect of life. It determines if things are/become awful or are awesome!

Attitude

People look down on agriculture as a way of life. They look down on agriculture as a career. Personally, I have not a single friend or family or acquaintance who studied agriculture on a tertiary level. I wonder how that came to be, but it just is.

food is first before all other goals

food is first before all other goals (Age of Empires)

Just like in the games, if you control the food, you control the whole population. This knowledge should be enough incentive for people – and the government – to reinvigorate their efforts in that field (I hope). Kind of like the same way ICT is taken seriously in this part of the world!

Well, for those who do take it seriously, I hope that once you are a billionaire from agriculture, you’ll be giving me rides around the world in your private jet or chopper . Or at least invite me for a game of golf.

 

 

What do you think about this article? I’d love to hear your thoughts. If you know any guys who are in the field of agriculture, please share this with them. I would do the same if I knew any. Really!

;-)