Somebody once said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over in the same way, and expecting different results. Many are the times we have seen farmers follow the same routine year in, year out and then complain that their farms are not yielding any profits. Well, if this has been you, then it is time to take that big step, that scary move with unforeseen risks, that necessary change that will transform not only the look of your farm, but also the way you conduct your farming endeavor.
We visited Ms. Audrey, a 58-year-old farmer from Kiambu who gave us tips on how to look beyond the pain, failure and money, to have a successful empire that could feed generations. Here is what you need to know:
- Understand Your Soil Profile
Farming is not just putting crops in the ground and ensuring maintenance with fertilizers and controlling diseases and pests. A successful farmer will always consider and understand that managing the soil is vital to achieving maximum production and profits.
Undertaking things like soil testing will inform you what crop thrives in your land depending on the soil profile (compatibility of soil pH and crop) and fertility. Once you have understood this, transitioning to new crop varieties becomes easier and manageable.
- Advance your Technique
Over the years, farming has been a technique passed down generations. With the advancement in technology, learning and adapting to different approaches like smart commercial farming and soil less technology becomes a game changer.
- Understand the Markets
“At 22, I became a fully-fledged farmer. When learning, my tasks involved taking produce to the market and reporting back to my father. My reports included what other traders were offering and what crops were in high demand. I would then see my father introduce some of the crops on our farm. After he passed away, I tried this technique and failed.” Said Ms Audrey.
More often than not, agricultural markets are already flooded by produce variety. Separating yourself from the flock takes a lot of courage and research. With consumer preferences always changing and growing, find a need or gap you want to fulfill. Do all the marketing you need and enter into contracts that can assure you of ready markets.
It is scary but so much better than having to deal with surplus and losses.
- Track your Progress
This may sound cliché to many but a farmer knows this is one of the things that keeps them up at night. Just like any other business, understanding the value of your farm in terms of profits, losses, and expenses is important.
“I remember crying myself to sleep a few years back when I had so much produce but the reflection on profits was nil. In fact, I incurred losses and could not believe how. Since then, I have ensured I have a file on booking keeping and have maintained records of all my farm operation. These two are different and understanding the two will save you from all the turmoil.” Said Ms Audrey.