Farming is fun, you become your own boss and there is no limit to growth. Here are a few rules that will guide you to becoming a successful farmer in Kenya.
Allow Yourself the Opportunity to Fail
Kenyan culture seems obsessed with failure, simultaneously terrified and captivated with the concept. I know people who spend their days avoiding the humiliation of failure at all costs. Some of these people fear failure so much, they never try to accomplish anything. The thought of failure paralyzes them.
If failure is a major concern to you, here’s a spoiler: in farming, chances of failing are 100%. In fact, failure on a farm is every bit as reliable as death, taxes.
But here’s what no one ever told you. It’s okay to fail. Moreover, in farming, it’s important to fail. While painful at first, failure can be an enormously useful tool. It helps us learn our personal limits of time and energy. It’s an instrumental time saver in the long run, letting us know what works well, and what’s a complete boondoggle. Failure provides us perspective for future enterprises, making us intellectually stronger, more emotionally resilient.
So, thumb your nose at that sagging bookshelf loaded with self-help books telling you you’re not a failure. Yes, you are! Get out there and fail! But while you’re failing, fail well. Fail gracefully and thoughtfully. It’s the only sure way to recognize success when it finally arrives.
Before you start Farming Identify Your Market
So you want to raise cattle, grow watermelons, or start a fruit business. But how are you going to find customers? Do they live in your neighborhood, or five hundred Kilometres away? How much of your stuff will they buy?
Before you plant that first seed, take the time (lots and lots of time) to figure out where you’re going to sell your products, who is going to buy them, and how you’re going to do it. Once you’ve done this, create a backup plan. Then, come up with another backup plan. Chances are you’re going to need them.
Small and niche producers spend an enormous amount of effort finding their customers. This is every bit as important as growing the food to begin with, because without appropriate sales channels, fresh produce will quickly languish. When all those watermelons ripen at the exact same moment, you’ll need a place to sell them—and fast. Have a solid marketing plan prepared well in advance.
Match the Land to Its Suited Use
We can try to force our human dreams onto the land, or we can work with what nature gives us. In most parts of Kenya crops do well, try doing what your land can accommodate, be it fish farming, crop farming or cattle.
In the recent days, hass avocado farming has taken Kenya by storm, but the question is, can it do well in your area. Do not force farming things that will not do well.
Grow Your Passion
Everyone knows that farming is hard work. So do yourself a favor: grow something that you love. Like Hass Avocados? Then grow hass avocados. If you grow what you’re passionate about, it will help mitigate those difficult days when the sledding gets rough and things don’t go your way. It may seem like common sense, but we often find our decisions driven more by finances, tradition, or inertia than by something we truly love. Go out on a limb, and grow apples if you want. Consider it your first reward. There will be more.
Set Reasonable Goals
Most farmers and especially youth in Kenya want to be millionaires in one day. In farming, the expenses sometimes are high and although the returns are high, patience is paramount as most funds will go back to the farm.
Set goals that are tough but reasonable, like ‘By the end of second year, I want to have 300 hass avocado trees’. Keep checking and work towards your goal always.