3 Things that Keeps Farmers up at Night
Have you ever had a period where you get home and that one project or challenge at work keeps nagging you? This happens to farmers as well. Farming is a business and a career like any other. Wanjiru Kiarie sat down to speak to Mr Charles Nyinge, a dairy and horticultural farmer in Kangema. Interestingly, Mr. Nyinge reveals that pests and diseases are the least of his problems. Here are the 3 things that keep him up at night.
- Bringing Kids into the Business
Farming in Kenya is considered a venture for people who either live in rural areas, a side hustle or a retiring person. It is common to see a 70-year-old man manage and operate the shamba yet their 40-year-old child is around and completely uninvolved in the farm. “If my children are not interested in learning the ropes of operating the farm business, I would rather manage it myself until one comes around to take over.” Said Mr Nyinge.
- Scarcity of Labour
A farm is a round the clock, labour intensive job. Unless you have permanent and committed casual labourers, who happen to be difficult to find, getting things to run smoothly on the farm may become a challenge. Noted Mr Nyinge.
“I personally have 15 cows which have to be milked and fed at least 3 times a day. I have a tea plantation and other crops in my land that all require attention. My farm manager can only do so much and getting labourers who come in daily is not only unreliable but also cost intensive.”
- Farm Cost Implications
The reason why most aspiring farmers quit before they really start is because of the cost implications that come with farm management. Having a piece of land should be the least of your worries. Today, farming is being achieved as easily as doing soil less farming and reaping the benefits in millions.
However, Mr Nyinge highlights that managing and controlling the costs of a farm is harder than it looks. “When labourers come to work for you, and see that your land runs into acres, they assume you have money and they want some of it; even when the salary offered is already above minimum wage. Some will go as far as stealing equipment, seeds and fertilizer assuming you will not notice. You are then forced to fire them or go back to the shops to get more.”