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How to achieve success in a given agribusiness venture

For a long time now agriculture, has been the major contributor of the economy. Of course there has been challenges and they are still there, but in the long run, those who have practiced agribusiness are making money and some have made it in life.

For those who are new in this field, agribusiness simply refers to those businesses that are associated with production, processing and sale of agricultural goods. Some people think like ancient people thought about farming; that it is a dirty job and meant for the less fortunate in the society.

According to Chris Kirubi, a well-established businessman in Kenya, “Agribusiness has the potential to do much more than we think but we are stuck in the mind frame that it is a dirty job and is for the unemployed. If at all that is how you think then I pity you.” Kirubi was quoted by Capital FM saying that he is puzzled by young people who complain day in day out about unemployment, while the opportunities in agricultural sector are massive and untapped.

For those who have taken the risk and have taken the first steps in the business, they can attest that agribusiness is the way to go. Being stuck in the mind frame that it is a dirty job and is for the unemployed is the greatest undoing of our time. For those willing to make their hands dirty and venture in agribusiness, there are a number of things you can do to make your dreams true.

How to succeed in Agribusiness

Below are few things that you can do become a successful person in the world of agribusiness.

·         Idea

Most people fail in the world of agribusiness because they lack ideas on what they want to do. It is crucial for a farmer to learn the trends and combine that with hard work and passion. A clever farmer works and produces when the rest are resting. Ensure you do research and come up with the best idea.

·         Capital

The field of agribusiness is mostly taken by young people of our nation and the greatest challenges that face them is starting capital. Someone will tell you they have not amassed enough money to buy a green house or start poultry farming or grow tomatoes. However, with an idea and passion, you can do great things. It is a misconception that has been there for a long time that for you to become successful in agribusiness you need huge amount of money.

Read: Profitable poultry farming and production in Kenya

·         Market

A clever farmer conducts market research before embarking on agribusiness. Knowing the market where your products will go is yet another milestone in agri-business. Whether you are a middleman or a retailer, you need to establish the right market for you to be able to make it.

·         Information on agri-business

Having the right information at hand before you embark on a project will certainly help you do it smoothly and reduce the risks that come with trying something you completely don’t understand. It is advisable for one to do a clear research, for instance on the crops they want to grow or the animals they want to keep. If possible, one needs to seek the advice of agronomists around the area so that they can advise on crops to grow in certain areas, know the soil PH and the conditions of the area.

Read: Get Over Ksh 700,000 from an acre of Hybrid onions in Kenya

·         Determination and patience

Patience in farming or agribusiness is a virtue that any willing farmer should have. As a farmer you need, to be extra patient and determined so as to achieve your goals. People fail in this field because they lose hope if they do not make profits as they would have wanted and end up quitting. In Farming, risks are many and failing the first time doesn’t mean you will keep on failing. It only means that one should keep on fighting and making the right decisions.

Narrow-Minded

Hass avocado at Mkulima Wa Nyeri Farm

Kirubi says that its time we stop being narrow-minded and look at the agribusiness sector as a lucrative one. “We come from the lineage of subsistence farmers who would provide fully for their families. It is the profits from this produce that educated your parents or grandparents and if it were not for them, you would not be where you are today”, says Kirubi.

He also adds that we should stop blaming the government, education system or society for turning its back on agriculture.

“Young people wake up! We have beautiful land and great climate and even though some areas are arid, we can source for water or harvest rain water. But let us use the land to generate great produce that will grow the economy of this nation and benefit the people. We are also in need of scholars who will look for innovative ways to deal with some of the challenges that are encountered and improve the methods of farming”

Read: Cost and returns of establishing successful dairy farm

If at the end of the day we need a better Kenya, we all must come together and do something about it.

 

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Advantages and disadvantages of Mixed farming in Kenya

Mixed farming is when a farmer decides to combine two or more agricultural activities on the same farm. A typical case of mixed farming is the combination of crop cultivation with dairy farming or in more general terms, crop cultivation with livestock farming. Mixed farming may be treated as a special case of diversified farming. This particular combination of enterprises, support each other and add to the farmer’s profitability.

Read: As A Farmer You Can Control Pests Through Shade Nets

Advantages of Mixed farming:

  • It enhances the productivity of the farm land
  • It increases the per capita profitability
  • Both farmings compliment each other.
  • Farmers can keep their fields under continuous production.
  • It enhances the productivity of the farmer also.
  • Reduce dependency on external inputs and costs. In the example of mixed cropping of animal husbandry and crop farming the crops and animals components can complement and support each other. For example, the crop farming gives feed to the animals, and in turn, the animals can supply fertilizers to the crop. So this reduces the need and cost of fertilization and animal feed. The animals (such as cattle and sheep) can also perform weeding which reduces the need for herbicides. CIPAV system from Columbia, for example, incorporates fuel generation where crop wastes are fed into a biodigester which then generates fuel for use in the farm (for running farm machinery and equipment). This reduces external fuel dependency.
  • A simpler mixed farming system is aquaponics where the fish wastes are useful as fertilizers for the vegetables (like lettuce) and the lettuce, in turn, clean the water for the fish. Another similar setup and benefit is rice-fish farming in northeast Thailand and China where fish (like tilapia and carp) are bred in the rice field waters.
  • Because the mixed farming system recycles much of its wastes, this reduce external inputs (like fertilizers and pesticides). This in turn reduce greenhouse gases emissions, whether directly or indirectly because less fossil fuels are required in the production and distribution of fertilizers and pesticides due to lower demand.
  • It stabilizes the income of the farmer because the farmer is not depending solely on one activity. Should one activity fail (due to low price or pests or diseases), the farmer can still get income from the other activities.
  • Increased biodiversity means less risks of pests and diseases outbreak in the farm. Outbreak usually occurs in monoculture where there is uniformity of species especially over a large area.

Read: The Most Cost-Effective Greenhouse Which Every Farmer Can Construct

Disadvantages of mixed farming:

  • Because a mixed farming system consists of multiple activities running simultaneously, this makes the control, monitoring, and maintenance of the farm more difficult than a monoculture where only a single activity is run.
  • Some times one activity may hinder the other activity.
  • For the same reason above, the farmer needs to be knowledgeable (or an expert) in more than one area as compared to a monoculture farmer. A mixed farming farmer is running several activities at once, there may be management problem.

Read: Pest and diseases affecting tomato farming and their control

Be the best in what you want to be in farming. Always subscribe to our channels and we will educate you on matters of farming.

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How to Be Smart in The World of Agribusiness

Agribusiness can provide jobs for young people and help Kenya achieve development goals. Progress in this arena, however, remains limited.

This future can be realized through making agriculture both profitable and “cool” for young people. If you are a young man living in rural areas you must have experienced several barriers, one of which is lack of information on current agricultural technologies and agri-business. To overcome this barrier, attend training programs that link you to climate-smart agricultural practices and profitable new agribusinesses.

Youth can be involved in a number of agricultural activities, including production, post-harvest handling, distribution and marketing of agricultural products. Removing barriers to start-up capital will allow young people to innovate and expand current agri-businesses. By so doing Kenya an the world in general can solve the issues of poverty and hunger.

The majority of Kenya’s smallholder farmers rely on traditional weather knowledge for agricultural activities. This knowledge, however, cannot keep pace with rapid weather changes affecting precipitation patterns and temperatures. Without access to accurate and accessible weather information, farmers, especially the youth, face declining agricultural productivity and increased hunger. As a smart agribusiness investor, start by accessing modern weather and climate data. Profitable agri-businesses under a changing climate can create decent and competitive employment opportunities for the youth.
Technology and the internet are probably the first things that come to mind when you think about the future of work for young people; not agriculture or farming. This makes historic sense, as agriculture sheds labor when countries develop. And the traditional ways of producing food do not look particularly cool. Yet, technology and the internet are also opening up opportunities for agriculture, and urbanization and changing diets are calling for new ways to process, market and consume our foods.

Read Alos: 10 Biggest Agricultural Venture That Guarantee More Money in Your Pocket

The future of jobs in agriculture

While the majority of youth expresses to see its future outside agriculture, many good job opportunities on and off the farm remain in agriculture. The challenge is to make the agricultural sector and its up and downstream activities competitive through innovation, public investment in supportive rural public goods and services, and secondary town development to make them sufficiently attractive to young and older farmers alike. This remains a largely unfinished agenda, one which is equally important to reach the twin goals of eradicating extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity.

Read Also: 5 Things to Consider When Thinking of Starting a Fish Production

Kenya’s youth need new climate-smart agricultural technologies (high yielding and more resilient food crops, irrigation and machinery). The youth also need energy, communication and transport infrastructure that links them to lucrative regional and global food markets. Finally, the youth need gender responsive policies that will enable women and girls to access climate services, credit, agricultural inputs and equipment and insurance.

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7 Requirements Of Successful Bee Farming, Number 3 Is The Most Important

  1. Decide on the objective

Be clear on why you would like to try and do bee farming. For honey, for pollination, for colony production and sale? this can assist you collect needed data and skills.

  1. Feasibility assessment for beekeeping

Honeybees want food (nectar and pollen) to survive, grow, multiply, and make honey that comes from various plants i.e. agricultural/ horticultural/ ornamental/ wild (herbs, shrubs/bushes, trees). Thus, the provision of bee floral resources throughout different months of the year could be a primary demand for bee farming. In different words, the success of a beekeeping enterprise depends on the provision of floral resources that are in bloom through different months of the year. A good amount of honey is harvested if a region has an abundance of honey/ bee plants among the various bees i.e. ideally among five-hundred-meter radius of the bee colony).

Thus, it’s necessary to assess whether or not a given area is sweet for beekeeping or not. If not, it’s necessary to ask if something be done to make it appropriate for farming. Feasibility assessment is conducted to search out whether:

  • An area has enough bee flora among foraging range of bees to feed on and gather honey
  • Environment (climate/weather) is appropriate for bee keeping
  • Whether it’s safe from bee predators
  • Market for honey and different bee product
  • Can something be done to make it appropriate for beekeeping?

Read: What You Require To Establish A Small Fish Pond

  1. Identify the potential site for beekeeping/ apiary placement

Based on the practicable assessment, choose a site that has many bee florae inside the hunting range of bees, free from bee predators and enemies for putting bee colonies. If the chosen site doesn’t have bee’s flora throughout the year, establish areas that have enough bee flora so the bee colonies will migrate throughout all the slack seasons or feed the colonies sugar and pollen supplements. Migration of bee colonies is particularly necessary when keeping with Apis mellifera bees.

  1. Receive adequate knowledge and training to develop skills in beekeeping

The general bee management training includes sessions on seasonal bee management; bee pests and diseases, and their diagnosis and control; bee forage management and pollination; harvesting, processing, and value addition of honey and bee products; and the establishment of enterprise development and marketing etc.

The beekeeping enterprise development and management training has sessions on product development, and value addition—processing, packaging, branding and labeling, certification, advertising and marketing, accounting and book keeping, and business plan development, and enterprise linkages with public and private institutions for strengthening the honey enterprise.

If the objective is to develop bee colonies for sale, then it is necessary to get training on queen rearing and colony multiplication. Similarly, if the objective is to manage bees for pollination, it is important to get training accordingly.

Identify institutions/ resource persons providing support in beekeeping

Identify institutions/ resource persons providing support in beekeeping in your area and participate in bee management and bee enterprise development training/s. There are different training packages.

Read: Management of green house is paramount. Why?

  1. Procure key beekeeping equipment

This includes beehives, bee veils, swarm bags, queen gates, hive tools, feeders, and smokers. Some materials such as feeders, smokers, and swarm bags can be made at home using local material. Learn to make these. The training resource persons can tell you how to make these pieces of equipment at home. It is better to buy beehives from a skilled carpenter as the beehives have specific dimensions. A small mistake in hive dimension, particularly bee space, can result in bees making uneven and joint combs which makes honey harvesting a problem.

  1. Carry out regular colony inspection and management

Regularly examine colonies to grasp the standing of colony development, disease condition, presence of queen, brood—eggs, larvae and pupae, and quantity of food—pollen and nectar stores. This may assist you decide what seasonal colony management practices ought to be undertaken. You’ll be able to examine the colonies through 2 methods: 1) from outside, without opening the hives and 2) from inside, by opening the hives.

Colony inspection from outside

Colony examination from outside is distributed so as to get an idea of the colony standing without opening the hive. Examination from outside will give the subsequent info about bee colony:

  • A larger variety of incoming and outgoing bees, and a bigger variety of pollen carrying foragers at the hive entrance signal the colony is healthy and robust
  • Larvae, pupae, and new emerged bees scattered at or before the doorway signal the colony is diseased
  • Bee excreta and black patches seen round the entrance signal the colony is abnormal or pathological
  • Plenty of dead bees with the proboscis out scattered at or before of the doorway signal the colony is poisoned
  • Crawling bees that are unable to fly signal bee malady
  • A sizable number of bees on the wing and fighting with one another and/or dead may be a signal of robbing
  • Clustering bees at the hive entrance and a far smaller variety of bees flying to forage could signal absconding or swarming.
  • A sizable number of drones and erratic bee movement could signal parturition workers or a queen less colony.

If the above symptoms are seen, it’s necessary to examine the colony by opening the hive and take applicable management steps to unravel the matter like a shot.

Colony inspection from inside through opening the hive

As part of good hive management practice, a colony is inspected from the inside after it is inspected from the outside to reconfirm its status, its abnormalities, and its strengths. Such an inspection should be done per the set objectives, starting from the collection of necessary materials. The following observations shall be made while performing an inspection of a colony from the inside:

  • Condition of queen
  • Colony strength–number of adult bees, and amount of brood–eggs, larvae, and pupae
  • Presence of bee diseases and pests in the colony
  • Symptoms of swarming and absconding
  • Need for supplementing comb foundation sheets
  • Storage of food (honey and pollen)
  • Cleanliness and hygiene
  • Need of scrapping/removing unnecessary/deformed/extra combs built by the bees.

Perform any management practices required to maintain colony health. Manage bee colonies as taught in the training.

  1. Honey harvesting, packaging, labeling, and selling

During the honey flow season when there are plenty of flowers in bloom i.e. spring, harvest honey using a honey extractor.   Pack honey in clean glass, stainless steel, or food grade bottles, label the bottles and sell directly to your consumer or through a shop owner/middle man.

Read: Best Practices And What To Consider Before Farming Tomatoes