The story of a young man who decided to venture into agribusiness profiled elsewhere in this edition of AgriToday is inspiring. Not only does it reflect the immense opportunities that lie in agribusinesses, but it also highlights the strength of the agriculture sector as a formidable employer.
When we think of agriculture merely as crops and livestock, we narrow our focus, so much so that it could come back to haunt us. People like the young man featured are pioneers in their field; they have managed to think outside the box, and went above and beyond the norm.
That is what is needed if we are to win the battle against challenges in this crucial sector.
The same conviction should be applied by all agriculture graduates and self-taught farmers when it comes to this important sector.
The saying ‘let’s turn farming into business’ is often thrown around by experts in the field, but no one really goes to the extent of explaining exactly how to do this.
If you are still only farming for prestige, or as a hobby in the 21st century, you have your wires woefully crossed, for no such thing exists.
Farming is life; it is about producing food and feeding the country, it is about contributing to the country’s economy.
I see no prestige or hobby there. It is serious business, and ought to be seen in that light.
This means that farmers have to plan and firmly execute decisions that have to do with their activities, especially those that could cause them to make or lose money. Those who have managed to maximise returns on their products have reaped the rewards
That, in my book, is what agribusiness is about.
My theory is simple; try to have a free flow of income from your farming activities. Simply put, if you are to sell a product, make sure that the money is used for the advancement of the farming operation and ploughed back into it.
Also, you ought to time the selling of your produce, and clearly define the reason why you are selling.
As in any business enterprise, it is important that you take care of your business assets. In the case of farming, this may in a way extend to your livestock as it is the means of production that allows you to make money.
Sadly, many farmers do not do so.
I have seen farmers losing almost all their livestock kraal to drought, year after year.
Farmers with 100 head of cattle lose up to 60 cattle to drought at times, which is unacceptable.
Drought simply means that there are not enough pastures for the animals to graze or browse on. If you consider these cattle assets, you need to step in early enough and make preparations for such times.
Ok, I need to pause a bit here. Granted, no one is ever fully prepared for a drought.
That’s a fact. But then again, you could sell off some animals early enough while they are still strong, and use such funds to feed the rest. Which is better, losing 60 cattle to drought, or selling 20 of them to have some form of funds to carry you through the drought?
Be that as it may, we need to up the stakes on our farming operations to make sure we don’t just get sentimental satisfaction from them, but also money. Hard cash.
I rest my case.