Four young farmers, two each from Kenya and Tanzania, are part of the first agriculture reality TV show, Don’t Lose the Plot, where participants will battle it out for a $10,000 prize.
The four will each be given an acre of land in Limuru near Nairobi, where they will live and farm for nine months. The winner will be the one with the most profitable and sustainable project.
The show is an endeavour to change the perception of farming among Kenyan and Tanzanian youth in an effort to make agriculture a “cool” and viable career choice.
The four contestants were picked from a pool of 200 youth who applied.
“We advertised on TV and on our Facebook page and eventually we picked people who would be free for nine months, had the passion and were between 19 and 28 years old because that is our target audience,” said the producer of the show Patricia Gichinga of The Mediae Company.
The programme is organised by the US Agency for International Development and partners, and will air on Citizen TV in Kenya, ITV in Tanzania and Urban TV in Uganda. The programme will feature over 13 episodes.
The young farmers will receive guidance and practical insights from experts from the agricultural sector on financial planning, planting strategies, agricultural inputs and marketing.
They will choose what to plant and pitch a budget of their expenses to the judges before getting funding for farm inputs.
The show will have a website and an SMS platform to allow interaction with audiences in the two countries and also provide educational materials and information on agribusiness to viewers.
According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation, most farmers around the world today are old, with the average farmer in Africa being 60 years old, despite 60 per cent of the population being under 24.
Transforming agriculture to suit young people is a way to offer the youth an appealing alternative to urban life.