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How Long Should Your Farming Enterprise Take To Become Profitable?

fruit and vegetable farming

Farming can be successful but for you to be successful, you have to think critically and out of the box. You must think like a modern tech farmer and not as that conservative traditional farmer. You must do away with the traditional methods and think as a business person, the traditional methods no longer work.

Most of the new farmers struggle because they follow passion instead of viewing farming as a business and a carrier. Whatever prevents you from getting into farming and succeeding can be done with. Let’s see what you can do to be successful if farming and how long it will take you.

Best methods to improve your farm profitability

Conduct Market Analysis First

If as a farmer you grow any type of crop without first knowing a specific market, you are bound to fail. Sadly, that’s what most people do. They rush into farming business without validating the market potential of their given crop.

Don’t look at what your neighbors are growing and decide, do your own analysis. Competition kicks in and the only way to stand out, is through lowering your prices. But that’s the best scenario, the worst case scenario would be the marketing dictating what price you get.

No one wants to lose control of how they price their commodities. But that’s what you’ll get when you fail to look for a market upfront. You’ll pay for the mistake by squeezing your margins dry. To be on the safe side, start by approaching all probable market outlets about your farming ideas and then choose an enterprise based on the feedback you receive. That way you’ll be sure that the market really needs what you intend to grow.

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Make Sure You Choose The Right Crop

If you want to optimize on your probability, make sure you go for the right crop. Choosing the right crop to plant is the first step to optimizing farm profitability.

In any given market, consumers will demand more than one enterprise. As an entrepreneur under such circumstances, you’re face with a decision on what enterprise to select. My advice is simple, choose the one that has a higher market value.

The reason I say this is because the cost of production is almost the same across various enterprises. For example, whether you need to grow tree tomatoes or hass avocado you’ll require land, same land preparation, and same operation cost. But the difference is determined by how the market values a given crop.

Always Plan in Advance

Planning is important in all fields and those who ignore it do so at their own peril. It’s a fact that all professionals have plans – For instance, doctors follow a treatment plan, airline pilots follow a flight plan, and soldiers follow a military operation plan.

While we can’t guarantee your success – in fact no one can, having a plan dramatically increases your probability of success. The reason why most farming ideas no matter how great never live to see the light of day, is that they neglect this vital step.

Knowing this gives you unfair advantage over the rest of the folks. When you take your time to write a detailed farm plan, you’ll save yourself a lot of time and frustration trying to figure what to do next.

And as with any agricultural produce, time is a luxury you cannot afford. Given the perishable nature of most horticultural produce, you’ll be messed up if you lack a plan of action.

Diversify Your farming Enterprises

Don’t try to specialize in farming. There are some other instances where specialization is paramount, but if you want farm profitability badly, you can’t afford to specialize.

You have likely heard the expression “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.”

For example, if you’re growing passion fruits for income, it could be a good idea to intercrop them with other vegetables such as, strawberries, onions, and spinach.

These intercropped short-term crops will enable you to earn some income before your main crop.

Stick to Your Plan

Starting a farm of your own is a fantastic way to give yourself some control and possibly earn an extra income at the same time.

Farming is risky, challenging, and not for the fainthearted. Farmers and agripreneurs deal with unpredictable situations, such as crop failures and market fluctuations. One year may produce a bountiful harvest, while another may bring total devastation and little or no income.

This is all part of the business of agriculture. Now, when you face such situation, the last thing you need to do is switch plans.

While some challenges might require a change of plans, it’s better to stick to your plan and learn from your mistakes. It’s all part of the process that eventually leads to farm profitability.

Invest in Yourself

You need to continually invest in yourself to become better at what you do. Grasp any learning opportunity to help you make better farm decisions.

While you do this, don’t worry about being perfect. If you worry too much about being perfect, you’re never going to get anything done. Get your farm set up as soon as you can, and you can worry about learning the ins and outs of the trade later. Learning events such as field days, open days, and libraries are all good sources of information. ​

Don’t Take too Many Short Cuts

Farming entrepreneurs have a role to play. A role to protect the integrity of the industry and restore faith in the quality food standards. Taking short cuts defeats the whole logic of protecting the industry’s integrity.

Compliance to quality standards and other farm operations is key. Therefore, to safeguard your farm profitability, you need to adhere to those standards.

Keep Clear Book Records

Always ensure you keep current, accurate records. Pay attention to details. Know where your money is generated and spent. Storing receipts in a shoebox and waiting to post figures at the end of the year is not a recommended recordkeeping system.

Good records will help you to measure your cash flow as well as to estimate the profitability of the enterprises. ​

Ensure Food Safety in Mind

Remember that you’re growing food for human consumption. And as such, food safety is key. The only way to ensure that you’re growing safe and high quality produce, is by following the best agricultural practices.

Internationally producers and consumers are embracing the practices and. It’s not just a requirement but an important component in enhancing food safety. Consumers will pay you more when you’re accredited and certified against such standards.

Seek Help

No one is perfect when it comes to farming. Therefore there is absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t ask for help when you need it. Many people, including oxfarm, are happy to help people out.

Conclusion

Farming takes time, therefore be patient and persistent. Follow the above few tips and you will be surprised how first your farming enterprise will grow.

 

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Top Skills farmers need to be successful in Kenya

Farming in Kenya is considered as one of the oldest human professions. Regrettably, this noble job of producing food has somehow went out of fashion. In most counties in Kenya, farming and agriculture in general is seen as a one-way ticket to poverty and drudgery. Young people are abandoning the countryside to seek better opportunities in urban areas.

However, Oxfarm in its research recently have met more and more young people who are taking farming as a profession and as a practical source of profit. This is mostly because of the change in the perspective of how young people see farming.

This positive view of agriculture has increased with the growth of global population. A bigger the population means more people to feed, and therefore more food to produce. Organic food is also gaining popularity due to its high nutritional benefit.

Along these lines, the need to produce food locally is also seen as a sustainable solution to the ever-increasing food requirement. Recently H.E President Uhuru Kenyatta launched his Agenda 4, and named food security as one of them. Although farming is faced by many challenges in Kenya, it still stands as one of the major pillars of Kenyan economy

Different peoples have different perspectives on what they think they must know while planning to start farming. From a management and marketing perspective, here are few tips to consider — whether you are new to farming or have been farming your whole life.

Make Farming plans

In order to have a successful farming operation, especially in today’s farm economy, it’s essential to have a plan ­— and more than one, at that.

Make a business plan and stick to it. This is a living document, so refer to it throughout the year and make changes as needed.

A marketing plan will help you decide what products you are planning to sell, when and where you will sell them (grain elevator, farmers markets, wholesale, restaurants).

A risk management plan is essential. Accidents happen, people get sick, equipment breaks, the weather is unpredictable — in short, life happens, so plan for the worst.

Make an operations plan. Think about all the activities needed to make your business successful and who will be in charge of what tasks. I.e. who will keep the books, who will run the parlor, who will do the field work, who will run the breeding program, etc.

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Cash flow

Selling agricultural products is often a cash business and you need to be careful with all that money. Create a plan that tracks every penny you earn and spend and create ways to get that cash into the bank.

Capital

Farm equipment and livestock equipment, as well as livestock itself, are expensive but they are essential investments for the farm. Think through your major purchases, determine how you will finance them and how that investment will benefit the farm.

Support system

Surround yourself with people who will pick you up when you are down but also give you tough love if you are headed in the wrong direction. Find fellow farmers and business professionals outside of farming who can give you good, honest advice from a fresh perspective.

Focus

Pick one enterprise that you really like, that you’re good at, and has money-making potential. There are only 24 hours in a day, so spend your time on the ones that make your business successful. Don’t stretch yourself thin by getting too diversified when you are not ready. The same goes for markets: Focus your time in places that are the most profitable for you.

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Analytical and Critical Thinking Skills

Almost anyone can learn how to grow crops or manage livestock, but good analytical skills are the difference between simply going through the motions and thinking issues through and doing tasks well. For example, in the ever-changing landscape of farming (literally and figuratively), an organic farmer will use comprehensive skills to monitor and assess the quality of their land, crops or livestock and to solve problems as they arise.

As a farmer, you often must think on the fly, so great critical thinking skills are also key. For example, can you think your way around tough weather conditions appropriately?

Excellent analytical and critical thinking skills will allow you to analyze the toughest situations, gather new information and formulate a plan that may be outside of the box. You won’t be able to solve every organic farm problem with a textbook.

Be flexible

Don’t be afraid to change your plans when things are not working. Review your farm plans and make the changes necessary to continue to make your operation successful.

 

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Mkulima Wa Nyeri: “Future Billionaires will be Farmers”

mkulima wa nyeri logo

Mkulima wa Nyeri farm is a department under OxfarmAg ltd founded to provide the seedlings, learning experiences and fresh fruits for eating. The farm was founded by Dickson Kahuro Wambugu (Mkulima wa Nyeri) after graduating from Moi University in 2015 where he studied Agricultural Economics and Resource Management.  With a passion for farming he started by growing grafted tree tomato and pepper to get exposure as to what agricultural venture practically tastes like.

It’s through this exposure that he got the idea of supplying seedlings after getting many farmers in need of information with huge demand of quality certified seedlings.

Youth And Agriculture

Many Kenyan youth just like Mkulima wa Nyeri find themselves in a dare situation after graduation, with few prospects of formal employment. But even though agriculture has been a mainstay of Kenya’s economy for as long as the country has existed, unlike Mkulima Wa Nyeri, very few youths consider turning to agriculture as a source of livelihood.

The key challenge, therefore, is how to get our youth into an industry as old as civilization itself, a sector so critical that recently President Uhuru Kenyatta pronounced agriculture and food security as one of the four pillars of his platform to continuing Kenya’s emergence as a middle-income country.

The solution to this challenge lies in our appreciation of a few salient facts. Most notable is that over 60 per cent of Kenya’s estimated population of 48 million are below the age of 30. Of this considerable cohort, an overwhelming majority are either unemployed or underemployed, and this despite being well-educated.

Quite a few, perceived or real, discourage the youth from getting involved in farming. The main challenges among many is capital and market access restrictions.

Given that agriculture is a devolved function, it is obvious that while the central government can only do so much to make agriculture attractive to and viable for the youth, counties have a major role to play. Nyeri County Under H.E Gov, Mutahi Kahiga is not left behind and it has been at the forefront in promoting the youth in agriculture and farming in General.

In a highly contested competition in farming organized by Ministry of Agriculture at National Level, under the youth category, Mkulima Wa Nyeri emerged as winners in the entire county. Mkulima wa Nyeri farm in Tetu Nyeri was named as the best managed Farm under youth Category.

According to Mkulima Wa Nyeri, every young person aspires to see themselves break even and turn into millionaires one day. However, the millionaire status is one that often proves too elusive to many. Otherwise, it is possible for anyone to invest, work smart and turn their ventures into a money mill.

 

Adding Value to Agriculture Through Grafting

Mkulima Wa Nyeri a trained Agronomist, after planting ungrafted tree-tomato felt the heat after all his crops under one acre were damaged by nematodes. He later decided to try the grafted variety after deliberating with some few local farmers who had been doing it but under small scale basis. After intensive research, Mkulima Wa Nyeri realized that when tree tomato was grafted with Muthakwa (bug weed), it does very well as Muthakwa is resistant to many problems that affect Tree-Tomato as shown in the table below.

 

Grafted Vs Un-Grafted Tree Tomato
Grafted Tree-Tomato Ungrafted Tree-Tomato
  • Resistant to Nematodes
  • Prone to Nematodes
  • Extended Economic lifespan of more than 6 years
  • Shorter Economic lifespan of one years
  • Has a Tap-root
  • Has Fibrous roots
  • Larger fruit
  • Smaller fruit
  • Drought Resistant
  • Affected by Drought
  • Disease Resistant
  • Highly affected by diseases

 

Cost and Returns Of Grafted Tree Tomato Under Mkulima Wa Nyeri

With a good spacing one acre can accommodate 1500 plants

ITEM DESCRIPTION UNIT PRICE (ksh) TOTAL (ksh)
MANURE ONE BUCKET PER HOLE @30 45000
SEEDLINGS TREE TOMATO 1500

 

@100

 

150000
DIGGING OF HOLES, TRANSPORT OF MANURE TO THE FARM, MIXING AND PLANTING. @30 45000
FERTILIZER DAP 75KG

CAN 200 KG

70 PER KG

70

5250

14000

PESTCIDES ENTIRE GROWTH SEASON 30000
FUNGICIDES 30000
LABOUR, WEEDING, PLUNNING ONE FARM MANAGER FOR 9 MONTHS @7000 PER MONTH 63,000
IRRIGATION WATER COST.  VARY FROM AREA TO AREA 50000
 MISLENEOUS  20000
 

TOTAL COST

 

450,000

Cost per plant 450,000/1500=ksh 300/plant

Expected Returns From An Acre Grafted Tree Tomato

For a well-managed grafted tree tomato, it can produce 25-40 kg of fruits per plant per year. It can produce the fruits throughout the year and it has a life span of more than six years. The grafted red Oratia tree tomato variety matures in 8 months to one year after transplanting depending on area.

Return from the first year of harvesting.

No of plants Quantity in kg (ksh) Price per kg (ksh)

Average price

Total for one year (ksh)
1500 25 80 3 millions
1500 40 80 4.8 millions

Average expected return from a tree 3500000/1500= Ksh 2300 during the first year of harvesting.

YEAR OF PRODUCTION

No of plants

Quantity in kg (ksh)

Price per kg (ksh)

Average price

Total average for one year (ksh)

2nd

1500

35

80

4 million

3rd

1500

35

80

4 million

4th

1500

35

80

4 million

5th

1500

35

80

4 million

NOTE:

Due to its ability to be resistant to most soil pest and diseases grafted tree tomato trees has a lifespan of more than 5 years. The profits above are from the first year of harvesting. Full productivity starts from the second year. With good management tree tomato fruits can produce fruits throughout the year ensuring stable consistent monthly income for 5 years. Tree tomato is normally harvested after every 2 weeks.

The cost of farming tree tomato may vary from individual because of variables resources like manure, labor and water. It’s always advisable to plant during the rainy season in case there is limited irrigation water. Plants also require a lot of water during fruiting. An acre can accommodate 1500 plants at a standard spacing of 5ft by 5ft.

Tree tomato farming requires intensive management due to continuous splaying against pest and diseases, irrigation, and feeding.

Oxfarm Partnership with Tamarillo Farm Kenya Ltd

We have partnered with a value adding company Tamarillo Farm Kenya Ltd. We are in need of huge supply of tree tomato fruits every week which can only be sustained by serious farmers under contract agreement. We have products like Tamarillo Juice, Tamarillo Jam, Chili etc. which have got huge market demand.

If you have large quantity of fruits, kindly contact us.

 

FOR CERTIFIED QUALITY SEEDLINGS CONTACT US ON

0706 222 888 / 0723 662 773

 

External Services Offered By Mkulima Wa Nyeri

Mkulima Wa Nyeri farm under the company OxfarmAg Ltd, offers different services to help young people and established farmers accomplish their goals. OxfarmAg Limited an agricultural company and Mkulima Wa Nyeri assist farmers in many ways. They have introduced several Packages under different tree fruits where they embark on planting and monitoring the farm for the farmers. For example, you can have your tree-tomato farm established at the comfort of your office. All what you need to have is a shamba, manure and money to fund the project; Oxfarm will do the rest.

The package entails;

  • Farm visit to conduct feasibility study
  • Soil testing and interpretation
  • Digging of holes
  • Manure application and mixing
  • Planting
  • Monitoring for three months
  • Marketing

At Mkulima Wa Nyeri Farm in Nyeri, you can learn different things at a small fee; you will be trained on;

  • Seedbed and nursery management
  • Hass Avocado Propagation
  • Organic Farming
  • Tree-tomato Propagation
  • Tree-tomato caring and management
  • Farm management
  • Book keeping in the Farm, e.t.c

Make every rain drop count, plant a tree-fruit today and help us conserve the environment, earn a living as well as feed the nation. Most farmers have booked their seedlings and so should you. Let nothing come between you and farming if you are the one! Farming only requires passion and a dream, a dream that out of farming you can actually earn a living and become a millionaire, as Dickson (Mkulima Wa Nyeri) keep on Saying “future billionaires will be farmers”.

 

Contact Mkulima wa Nyeri on 0723 662 773

FOR FIELD VISITATION, CONSULTATION AND SEEDLINGS

 

You can fill the below form to contact you later

 

 

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thorn melon farming in Kenya: Farmers smiling all the way to the bank

Thorn melon, commonly known as Kiwano is a strange looking fruit that originated from South Africa and has of late been introduced to other parts of the world. It picked its name  Kiwano from Kiwi in New Zealand  due to its consistency and appearance to kiwi. However, this fruit is not biologically linked to kiwi and is actually closer in nutritive and evolutionary terms to cucumber and zucchini.

The name “thorned melon” comes from the fruit’s unusual appearance, as the outer layer of orange or gold skin is covered in small spikes. The inside of the fruit does have the gelatinous appearance of a kiwi, but the inner layer of fruit pulp is a culinary ingredient. The leaves and roots are also used for various applications, but the fruit is the most highly prized. Its seeds contain high concentrations of beneficial nutrients and organic compounds that make the fruit so healthy.

A number of Kenyans have embraced this fruit as it is believed to lower blood pressure and sugar level. Its therefore a money maker fruit and a number of farmers have benefited from it. According to Mureithi a farmer in Kiambu, kiwano sells between 25 and Ksh 30. He however notes that market fluctuates depending on supply. When there is high demand a kilo of thorn melon goes fo Sh 90 and when the demand is low it goes below to Ksh 70.

Benefits Of Planting Thorn Melon

The healthy benefits are overwhelming as highlighted below. For those interested in making money, this is why you should plant it:

  1. it’s a drought resistant plant and does not require a lot of water
  2. its labor friendly. Even when unattended it will still yield
  3. One plant can yield between 30 to 40 or more depending on care
  4. The market is readily available. One peace goes for between 10 bob to 30 bob depending on where and it’s a hot cake for those who understands the benefits
  5. it can thrive in almost all areas

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How Thorn Melon Is Used Across The World

  • The green jelly-like flesh can be taken with little sugar, or with exotic fruit salad. It can also be utilised like an alternative to vinegar in salads.
  • The fruits are also used for ornamental purposes.
  • Used in beverages and at times spooned over desserts, ice creams and yoghurts to have an exceptional taste.
  • Its leaves are medicinal and are often served cooked as the heat is said to slightly lessen the bitterness in the greens.
  • When cooking, the bitter melon leaves are added last to inhibit an overly bitter taste and can be served with rice. The leaves can also be used in curries, fries and soups.
  • The leaves are at times mixed with maize or corn meal and can also be used to make a medicinal tea. Younger leaves which have a milder flavour and delicate texture can be used in salads.
  • In some countries, the leaves are used as an anti-viral for measles and malaria, diabetes, hypertension and to aid in childbirth.
  • In some cultures, various parts of the bitter melon plant, including the leaves, are used as a contraceptive as they have been shown to have an anti-fertility effect in both males and females.
  • Boiled roots are also used to treat gonorrhoea in some cultures, according to research.

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Health Benefits of Thorn Melon

Thorn melon has many benefits as discussed below:-

Weight Loss

Considering that this fruit is more than 80% water, it has the ability to fill you up without packing on any pounds. People trying to lose weight without feeling hungry all the time often reach for a kiwano to stave off hunger pangs. The high concentration of nutrients also keeps your body nutrient-rich, even though the fruit is low in calories and fats.

Antioxidant Properties

There are high levels of alpha-tocopherol found in kiwano, which is a potent antioxidant form of vitamin E. This is very important for the health of nerves and blood vessels, while it also seeks out and neutralizes free radicals, the harmful byproducts of cellular metabolism that can cause everything from heart diseases to cancer.

Eye Care

The significant levels of vitamin A found in kiwano make it an important booster for vision health. Vitamin A is a type of carotenoid, which acts as an antioxidant for the eye, eliminating free radicals that can cause macular degeneration, while also slowing down or preventing the development of cataracts.

Improves Cognitive Function

Although different nutrients can positively affect the brain, vitamin E is specifically linked to slowing the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. The high levels of tocopherol variations in kiwano make it a favorite amongst all who want to keep their minds fresh.

Boosts Metabolism

Zinc is a mineral that is often overlooked in human health, but it plays a key role in metabolism and producing protein, which is necessary for wound healing and repair of organs, tissues, blood vessels, and cells. The high content of vitamin C is a perfect complement to the zinc found in kiwano, as ascorbic acid is a key component of collagen, which is another key material in repair and growth.

Slows Aging

Between vitamin A, C, natural antioxidants, and abundant organic compounds, kiwano is wonderful for staying young, both inside and out. It is known to protect the integrity of the skin and reduce age spots and wrinkles, in addition to lessening the appearance of scars and blemishes. These important nutrients keep the body younger by preventing the onset of chronic diseases through their intense antioxidant activity.

Relieves Stress & Anxiety

Research has connected some of the organic compounds in kiwano with the regulation of hormones, particularly adrenaline and other stress hormones. If you suffer from chronic stress or feel anxious, eating some kiwano can quickly ease your mind and get your body back to a calm, relaxed state.

Aids in Digestion

The high fiber content in kiwano makes it an ideal digestive aid. Dietary fiber helps to stimulate peristaltic motion and clear out the gastrointestinal tract, keeping your bowel movements regular and preventing cramping, bloating, constipation, and serious conditions like gastric ulcers or colon cancer. Dietary fiber is also a key element of heart health, as it helps to regulate the level of cholesterol in the body; it even helps to regulate insulin receptors, thereby preventing or managing diabetes.

Increases Bone Strength

Kiwanos are also turned to for their high mineral content, particularly for calcium, in order to boost bone strength and prevent the onset of osteoporosis.  While the other minerals in kiwano, including zinc, are important for bone development, growth, repair, and integrity, calcium is the most desirable mineral for our bone health.

 

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Basic skills of a full-time farmer: Don’t gamble with farming, practice these skills

Capsicum farming

Farming is a demanding task, it needs a lot of experience and practical skills in terms of handling the farm work as well as teaching others how to do the work. If you are already a fulltime farmer or you are considering of taking it as a part time job, then you should have the following skills with you.

1. Business Management Skills

Do you manage your farm, or you just do it for fun? The modern world if changing and farming is no longer a hobby or just a thing done for the sake, its considered as “farm business”. For a farmer to gain a lot from farming business, he or she ought to take it seriously and consider it as a business. Farmers need to take training management courses which in turn will help them in taking their farming business to another level. You need to have a clear business plan and where you want to be in the next few years. The following management skills;

  • People Management Skills
  • Financial Management Skills
  • Business Management
  • Sales and Marketing Skills
  • Planning and Organizational Skills

2. Livestock and crop farming Skills

Conduct Enough Research

Those farmers who want to venture into arable farming need knowledge on how to grow crops, control pests, use fertilizers. On the other hand, those interested in livestock farming should learn how to raise farm animals. There are several forums in mainstream media in Kenya that are highlighting how farmers are successive in various endeavors. However, farmers should not always go blindly into it without conducting enough independent research on their own. Farming just like any other job requires you to have enough information and skills.

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Maintenance of soil fertility

These are skills that involve operations, practices, and treatments used to preserve, protect soil and enhance its performance. Soil management practices include;

  • Controlling traffic on the soil surface helps to reduce soil compaction, which can reduce aeration and water infiltration.
  • Cover crops keep the soil anchored and covered in off-seasons so that the soil is not eroded by wind and rain.
  • Crop rotations for row crops alternate high-residue crops with lower-residue crops to increase the amount of plant material left on the surface of the soil during the year to protect the soil from erosion.
  • Nutrient management can help to improve the fertility of the soil and the amount of organic matter content, which improves soil structure and function.
  • Tillage, especially reduced-tillage or no-till operations limit the amount of soil disturbance while cultivating a new crop, and help to maintain plant residues on the surface of the soil for erosion protection and water retention.

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Benefits of soil management

  • Restore soil fertility
  • Maintain soil fertility
  • Make the agricultural process an economic one
  • Help increase yield

Farming is not just a matter of growing a particular crop or feeding a certain kind of livestock. It ought to be taken seriously all year round. Take it as a business, keep records, have a business plan, execute well and you will not regret. Farming if taken seriously can make you money.

 

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Basic Characteristics of an agri-preneur

Agribusiness is important to global food supplies and developing economies. However, getting agricultural products from re-mote rural areas into larger markets has its challenges. These include a lack of intermediaries to develop relations between vendors, purchasers and contract systems. Other problems include inconsistent product quality and supply of products because of poor infrastructure. There is also competition in domestic markets from transnationals that can sell their products for less than domestic producers can. This is where an agri-preneur comes in; sees a problem and thinks of a solution.

What is agri-preneurship?

Agri-preneurship is a key factor for the survival of small-scale farming in an ever-changing and increasingly complex global economy. But what is agri-preneurship? How does it relate to small-scale farmers who operate on the edges of the economy?

Agri-preneurship is one way in which small-size farmers can confront issues such as under-employment and need for new jobs. Opportunities exist for farmers to create value-added agricultural products that are sold in local markets. For example, Oxfarm adds value to tree-tomato fruits to make juice and jam. Rural agri-preneurs can compete against larger corporations through a business cluster that controls significant quantities of local farm products.

Agri-preneurship motivations are important in understanding how the agri-preneur operates their business or defines success. Traditionally, the definition of an agri-preneur is an individual who starts a new business, cognizant of associated risks and ambiguities, for profit and growth. The agri-preneur takes advantage of opportunities and gathers resources, usually money, and other necessary non-monetary resources to turn their ideas into reality. Motivation for agri-preneurship, its meaning and measures of success differ among people, as well as countries, and by income level.

In addition, agri-agri-preneurship is tied to personal identity. Each agri-preneur seeks to legitimize their identity through business activities and thus their goals reflect the environment and social norms. For example, an agri-preneur in a developing country may view success as the ability to support oneself and one’s family. In contrast, another agri-agri-preneur may be competitive, seeking to be the largest and best in order to reach their goal to be a profitable self-supporting business, independent of others.

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Agri-preneurship dynamics

Successful agri-prenuers in Kenya are highly knowledgeable, contacts with various people, innovates and adopts improved practices in agribusiness. However, there are many challenges that these farmers face: social barriers, economic barriers, regulations, access to finance and information, and their own managerial capacity to cope with risks and changes and to seize opportunities.

 Characteristics of an agri-preneur

  • An agricultural agri-preneur should be able to think purposefully in terms of farm activities. This is perhaps, the hardest task most farm agri-preneurs face. Most of the farm people find it easy to do, to act, to perform. Most farm people have difficulty, however, in thinking clearly about farm development. An Agricultural agri-preneur must be able to think.
  • An agri-preneur should be able to express himself clearly. The best conceived idea is worthless, unless it can be communicated. An Agricultural agri-preneur must communicate to farm laborer effectively.
  • An, agri-preneur in the farm sector must possess competence in farm operations. This does not mean that he must be a technician. But rather, he should possess the technical competence necessary in his field to enable him to manage the farm effectively.
  • Farm entrepreneur should possess the ability to think broadly. He should be able to see the overall, not miss the forest because of the tree. Broad comprehension is necessary so that he can see the effect of each proposed action on the whole of the farm activities.
  • An agri-preneur must know the actions and reactions of different farm people engaged by him in his farm or in the hired farm which he is managing, and he should have the tact, intelligence, foresight, etc., to channelize such actions and reactions for greater interest of farm activities in which he is engaged.
  • Agri-preneurs must take appropriate decisions with regard to farm activities from its very first stage till the last stage and he should know how to coordinate various stages of farm operations so that new result is encouraging.
  • He should know how to get various facilities extended by the government, semi-government and: other departments, institutions and organizations in time and in right quantity. This is a quality he must have to have for being successful in his farm activities.
  • He should also be able to think how his land can be used in the best possible way through multiple-cropping or double cropping and to make proper arrangements so that he gets maximum prices for his farm products. Production and marketing of farm products should be well coordinated.
  • He should be able to maintain daily records of the …..costs including depreciation costs of his farm activities and should make all possible efforts to reduce costs to the minimum and to have maximum return after selling his farm products. There should be a detailed costs and revenue accounts of his farm.
  • He should be able to think the feasibility of starting an agro-industrial activity to supplement his farm income. He should also see how he can earn more through subsidiary occupations.
  • He should work in such a way that he can minimize jealousy, rivalry etc. Among his neighbors so that his farm operations are least disturbed.
  • He should be tactful enough to avoid political pressure, if any, to influence his farm decisions.
  • He should foresee vested interests to disturb his farm activities beforehand so that he can take appropriate steps at the right time to minimize such influences, if any.
  • He should be dynamic. This is a trait that is characteristic of leaders and is essentially needed in a changing economy. This trait is a desire to move ahead, to change, to break new trails, to do bigger and better things. It is not an obvious personality trait. It is not a high-pressure personality. In fact, it may not even show on the surface. But it is desirable and usually spells the difference between passive agri-preneur and dynamic agri-preneur.
  • He should possess skill in human relations in the farm sector and have insight into human motivation and behavior, this enables him to lead, not drive, his farm workers.

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In the process of farming the farm agri-preneur will require to decide on the best size of his enterprise, the storage facilities needed, and the amount of credit required to implement the production plan. Similarly, the methods for land preparation, planting, weeding, irrigation, fertilization of land, controlling pests and diseases, harvesting, threshing and cleaning of produce need to be decided in advance. Decisions on all these issues are vital as they very much influence the productivity of an individual farm. Nevertheless, a serious obstacle is to be found in the shape of imparting appropriate training, to farmers in order to make them capable of taking decisions of various types, so that the farmer of tomorrow may also become a good agri-preneur.