Agricultural experts believe many farmers make the following mistakes:
Farmers growing too many crops.
Your farm will fail if you refuse to focus specifically on crop that bring you the most cash. Cultivating too many crops that are not economically viable will soon put you out of business because at the end of the day you will be struggling to recover from loses year in, year out until the farm finally crashes.
Secondly, do you grow what the market wants or are you growing what you want. If you grow what you want, you may not have a space in the market to sell your product at good prices.
Not taking farming as a business
A former minister of agriculture and current President of the African Development Bank, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, always advised farmers to see farming as a business not a development issue, as that is the only way to make money and be sustainable. He argued that most small farmers fail because they fail to treat farming as a business. As a small holder farmer, if you want to make money from your farm, you “need to pay attention to the bottom line if you want the venture to be sustainable over a long period of time,” a Canadian Urban Farmer Curtis Stone said.
You don’t have a sustainable agribusiness plan
Before you undertake any farming venture, you need to have a business plan bringing into consideration all the element of production and marketing. The practice these days is that “farmers start farming and then try to mold a business around that, versus conceptualizing a business, creating a plan, and then executing.” If you have a sustainable business model and build the farm around the model, the chances that you will succeed are high. You do not have the time to monitor the farm closely or spend some quality time in the farm.
This is one of the major factors that kill many farms. Many smallholder farmers who are urban people have little time to spend on their farms to monitor any new development. There are people who hardly visit their farms in a week and even when they do, they don’t have time to scrutinise everything in the farm. They engage others to look after the farm for them without even putting them in check. Such a farm will not survive long.
Not seeking knowledge of your production area continuously
As a farmer, you must update your knowledge regularly in order to be a master in what you do. This will help you improve your production capacity and expand your marketing networks. You won’t grow if you don’t interact with people (producing the same thing) regularly and learn from what they are doing better.
Waiting to have a product to sell before building the marketing strategy
If you wait until you have a product at hand before selling, you will have problem. “You can actually start marketing your farm and building an audience from day one. Don’t expect people to be lined up out the door just because you have product to sell,” Stone advised.