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Mistakes novice farmers make

2021-10-05  Charles Tjatindi

Mistakes novice farmers make
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In our quests to make it as farmers and prove our worth, we may stumble and fall; it is perfectly normal. Mind you, the quest is no longer just about becoming a farmer, it is now all about ‘agripreneurship’. 

It is about elevating farming to levels of business. Days of farming for pride are now as old as the sun itself. You now need to get with the system and not only run with the wolves, but return leading the pack yourself!
In project management, they call it teething problems. If you ever had to raise a baby, you will know how difficult a stage it is for the parents when the baby starts teething. Such is the world of farming too. You need to constantly dust yourself up and take to the fields or kraal again and again. But while it is normal to encounter this stage, there are ways we can avoid some things that may set us back in our quest to be agripreneurs. As novice farmers, we often tend to overlook some of these things and they often cause our downfall. Allow me to elaborate.


Have an elaborate plan

Failure to plan is planning to fail, or so they say. This is especially true in your journey to becoming a formidable agripreneur. There is simply no way that you could just start something without planning on how you are going to go about it. What do you buy first; the chicken or the egg? How will I source fodder, fertilisers or feeds for my products? This also includes knowing your focus area of business. You need to research extensively on the type of farming you want to get into.
By researching your focus area, you will also know what are the possible setbacks that you are bound to encounter, which will help you either avoid them or be prepared for such if they are unavoidable.


Put shoulder to the wheel

Stop daydreaming and start doing the actual work that will get you where you want as an agripreneur. It may be that you want to start speculating with weaner calves, start a small irrigation scheme or simply venture into stud farming. Whatever your dream is, you need to start working on it. 

If such business requires the setting up of decent infrastructure before you start, then do it. Wearing those khaki shorts and short-sleeved farmers shirts will not get you there. You need to put your shoulder to the wheel and push with all your might. Daydreaming is for losers. You are a winner, rise above that.


Learn from others

We know that being new at something means you lack the experience that others who have been in the field longer have. This might make you jittery and indecisive, especially when faced with decisions that have to be taken on the go. This is perfectly normal. Relax, breathe, it is not exactly rocket science.
You can avoid making wrong decisions at this stage by studying what others who are more experienced are doing. 

Copy if you must, but always adjust it to your situation. Also, never assume that just because someone has been at it longer than you that he/she won’t make mistakes. Trust me, they do, hence your ability to spot this is crucial.
Most importantly, believe in what you are selling. As an agripreneur, try the product out yourself; would you sell them to you? If not, then you need to quickly return to the drawing board and see where you are going wrong. Fix it and try again. Keep rising and refuse to stay down. You got this!


2021-10-05  Charles Tjatindi

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