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.
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.
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.