By Mike Hunder
One of the high-level shifts I’ve seen in Nigeria over the past couple of years is the surge of interest in the agricultural sector.
Stories abound of people leaving farming communities in search of white collar jobs in other towns and cities. Now, with soaring food prices, plus a recent warning from the President Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote that Nigerians should brace up for a food crisis from June 2022- a lot of professionals and entrepreneurs are looking at various areas of agriculture-from piggery, poultry, to crop production and related activities. So, farming is becoming the cool kid on the block.
However, in order to adjust to new farming developments, you have to be strategic about how you go about starting your farming business. In this article, I am going to share with you some interesting strategies to help you get started.
Begin from your area of interest
Choose the type of farming you would like to get into, drawing from your area of interest. Basically, there are three main categories of food production to choose from crops, livestock and organic farming. Organic farming covers all crops and livestock production, just that it adopts environmental practices that preserve natural resources in producing such products.
Whichever one you choose, make sure it is an area you have a passion for. Another thing is to start small, so you don’t spread yourself out too thin or end up wasting money on non critical things, when you start up.
Be willing to learn
Read books on the area of farming you want to engage in. Search the Internet for articles that cover topics on the farming business you want to get started. Online forums are also a great place to discuss your topics of interest, with other farmers and agricultural experts.
Find and meet with other farmers
Find and meet with farm owners who are doing what you intend to do. You may even volunteer your services on their farms. And you can ask questions and get a better understanding of their own farming experiences. No question is stupid!
Farmers’ markets are another place to find and meet farm business owners. By this, you have an opportunity to purchase their products, to try them out at home, as well as discuss farming operations with them. They may even allow you to visit their farms to talk with them, and get a tour.
Tour a working farm
If you are visiting a working farm, dress the part. This may not sound serious, but imagine walking into a law firm for an interview dressed in a pair of jeans and work boots! Not inappropriate, right? Equally, it’s inappropriate to walk onto a farm, wearing a suit!
When visiting a working farm, wear a T-shirt, jeans or shorts, and work boots. By this, you are willing to perform any tasks that need to get done on a working farm, just as you are willing to learn more about them.
Decide when to start your farm business
Having gone through the above steps, you are now in a good position to decide when you are ready to start your own farm. On the average, it will take a few months to graduate from a student farmer to an actual farm business owner. Even so, I have seen people who took up to a year to start… So, it depends on how seriously you take starting your farming business.
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