One of my readers last week drew my attention to a Daily Nation article: Dairy farmers leading a dog’s life. He sounded very low and hopeless. I read the article and I was sorely disappointed.
I recounted how few years ago he complained that he was underemployed and was trying by all means to raise capital to start a business. I encouraged him to move on. Dairy farming was his dream business.
I empathised with him. I understood why he felt hopeless. If he was underemployed earning barely enough to meet his basic needs and was looking upon dairy farming as his saviour, then alluding that dairy farmers are living dog’s life must be utterly heartbreaking.
In the said article, it is noted that the milk processors have in the past two months reduced the price of raw milk by over 40 percent to below Sh25. However, they continue selling a litre up to Sh110 to consumers. Farmers are paid too low to make a decent living. This is clearly one of the vagaries of capitalism. More on that another day.
We have a problem in this country. The last few months we have been fed with tonnes of news of job losses in many sectors of the economy. The problem is not new. It has been with us for some time.
Unemployment is a problem anywhere in the world today and understandably politicians, policy makers and even opinion leaders are talking of creating jobs especially for the sake of youth who are leaving colleges in droves.
Little attention is however given to people who are employed or are in business but are technically slaves of others who are apparently making money. Think of people who wake up every day to work but cannot afford the modest basic rights such as decent meal, shelter, medical care or the indulgence of hope that one day things will get better.
We have small traders who are trapped in debts, farmers who cannot educate children or afford a decent meal yet brokers in the same industry are living like the Russian Tsars before the revolution.
I called the aspiring entrepreneur after reading the article and restated my stand that against all odds entrepreneurship is still the better option. Let’s not be discouraged by few instances here and there.
It is high time we educate ourselves on how to survive in the economy as entrepreneurs rather than look upon employment as the ultimate solution.
Most of the graduate today will never have pay slip in their lives and unless they find alternative ways of earning a living, they will lead lives worse than dogs.
I told my friend that the challenges facing dairy industry are temporary. Dairy farmers are at the mercy of few processors but that may be as well be another business opportunity. It calls for innovative ways of saving farmers from profiteers. After all adversity is the mother of innovation.