Three of the leading causes of losses and farm failure are:
1. Lack of technical capability, leading to
2. Inefficiency.
3. Poor Marketing.
Many of us farmers do not know what we are doing, why and how to do it well. This is not helped by technical staff who are more interested in making a sale than pushing for a win win situation for themselves and the farmer.
Lack of technical capability means our production is compromised from the word go. We buy seeds, seedlings, feed, chicks, breeding stock but don’t know what to do with them.
“My cabbage is 2 weeks, what should I do now?”
“My okra is germinating, should I do anything?”
The lack of technical capability introduces inefficiency in our operations. This lack of efficiency costs us both in terms of production time, quality of produce and cost.
Agricultural production is generally timely in nature. If you miss the time, it costs you. You have 6 weeksto get your broilers ready for market if you’re to dream of getting your money back but time and time again we see the “my chickens are 5 weeks but look like they are 3 weeks old. What can I do to boost them” scenarios. Instead of preparation for marketing, we are struggling with boosting which introduces extra unplanned for costs.
It is generally assumed that you cannot go wrong with food since everyone must eat but we see time and time again people struggling with and stuck with their produce because they cannot seem to find someone to buy it.
“I have carrots. Where can I find market?
“My lettuce is ready. Who buys?”
Many farmers then expect to make up for their lack of technical capability, inefficiency through wanting to sell their produce at the highest price possible. We see thiseverytime with our staple food, maize.
I know that the price of maize is not the best but I still think farmers would be able to make something more if they could get as close as possible to the expected tonnage per ha. We have farmers getting only 60 bags from a potential 200 bags and then hoping to make up for the difference of 140 bags by selling at a higher price. When this doesn’t work out, we cry foul.
Every serious farmer must work at increasing their knowledge of what they are doing so they can better understand it and thereby improve on the efficiency of their farm operations. They should then work on their marketing to avoid losing out after putting in their best to produce good quality output.
Clement Kaywala
Agriculture Economist.