By Bob Aston
The creators of Kenya’s first makeover television series Shamba Shape Up have introduced the first agriculture reality TV show in East Africa. Robert Godec, the United States Ambassador to Kenya launched Don’t Lose the Plot (DLTP) TV show at PAWA 254 in Nairobi, Kenya on May 2, 2017.
|Don't Lose the Plot presenters @DLTP|
The show features four young farmers from Kenya and Tanzania who battle it out for an agricultural investment worth USD 10,000. The show sets out to change the perception of farming among Kenyan and Tanzanian youth as a “cool” and viable career venture.
Speaking during the launch, Ambassador Godec said that agriculture presents a real opportunity for youth employment and development. He said that the show would help to change the negative perception that agriculture is only for old people.
“Agriculture presents a real business opportunity for youth in Kenya. Such kind of investment will help spur innovation and give rise to a new generation of agripreneurs,” said Ambassador Godec.
He thanked the Don’t Lose the Plot producers and partners for the inspiring show and their resolve in improving the image of agriculture.
He said that youth involvement in agriculture would reduce rural-urban migration. He said that there is a lot of money available in agriculture and it is worth investing in.
Patricia Gichinga, a Producer at Mediae Company and Co-Director of DLTP said that they selected the four contestants from a pool of 200 applicants. The four chose their own crops. They had to pitch a budget of their expenses to the judges before getting funding for farm inputs.
She said that they want to educate youth on the myriad opportunities at their disposal to enter into and to grow agricultural economic activity, and to improve their food production and livelihoods. She said that youth would have an opportunity to learn and emulate the four contestants.
“We cannot build tomorrow agriculture using yesterday's methods. We need to change the profile of farming," said Ms. Gichinga.
She noted that the average age of farmers in Kenya is 61 years hence the need to change youth perception of farming.
The launch also featured presentations from the show’s Producer Mediae Company, Africa Lead and Mercy Corps’ Agrifin Accelerate program. Two Feed the Future Kenya Innovation Engine (KIE) agribusiness entrepreneurs and a digital financial consultant participated in a panel discussion titled “Youth and Agribusiness: The Future of Food Security in East Africa.”
The agriculture reality show is set on a rural farm with multiple plots. The four contestants compete against each other while living together on the farm. Each contestant has 9 months to turn an acre piece of land into a successful agribusiness.
The show has a call centre, a budgeting tool and an interactive SMS platform. The platform enables viewers to send questions or request for information on agribusiness.
The youth farmers receive guidance and practical insights from agriculture experts. The support includes financial planning, planting strategies, agricultural inputs and marketing. In the end, the farmer with the most profitable and sustainable farm will win the USD 10,000 prize.
Citizen Television in Kenya aired the first episode of Don’t Lose the Plot on Sunday at 1:30 pm. Subsequent episodes will air on Thursday’s at 1:30 pm in English and Sunday’s at 1:30 pm in Kiswahili. Episodes in Swahili will be airing in Tanzania on ITV on Fridays at 6:30 pm starting on May 5, 2017.
The reality show is supported by Feed the Future, the U.S Government’s global hunger and food security initiative, and USAID Kenya/East Africa Mission through Feed the Future’s continent wide capacity building program, Africa Lead. The support focuses on increasing media content on the agriculture sector and opportunities for youth employment and development.
Mercy Corps AgriFin Accelerate Program also supports the program. The accelerate program provides the contestants with financial management and access to finances.
We wish the best of luck to Kenneth, Leah, Issah and Winrose as they battle it out to win USD 10,000. We hope that more youth will adopt agribusiness after learning from their peers how to turn farming into a profitable business.