Farming in Nigeria/Africa has gotten the needed exposure to the minds of most of the populace as a profitable venture. It makes many to venture into it without proper analyses, but because of the profit, they want to make. They do not look into the challenges, time and energy needed to be successful.
That you have been to a farm or work on a farm or your father or grandfather is a farmer does not guarantee success in farming. Farming business and operations could change due to time, disease and news skills involved.
Greediness: Many who plan to venture into agriculture do look at the profit end of farming before considering the expenses, knowledge, stress and other things involved. I would like to cite an example of a friend that I met who loves agriculture. He had already planted plantain on 7 acres of land; then he starts planting watermelon which he believes it will give a return of over 4 million after harvest, but unfortunately, he lost the capital talk-less of profit. The rule is that you should not cultivate more than what you can manage.
Lack of proper planning: Having a proper plan or outline is highly needed to succeed in agriculture. For example, there is a need to do the feasibility study and have a business plan with a good outline before venturing into it. There is a need to consider some other factors like the produce market, nearness to labour, nearness to resources, nearness to road and others. Come to think of it; many do not think of conducting soil analysis before planting. Kindly plan well before you take any decision.
Lack of Knowledge and under-informed: The knowledge am talking about is about having a deep knowledge of the crop to be planted or animals are reared, how it’s was cultivated, the diseases that affect it, the plant physiology and so on. I will also like to state that many farmers do not know the impact of climate change on the crop they grow. I could remember a farm I visited, and I saw the whole maize farm bringing out very small cob. It happened due to early rain ceasation which was not expected, but unfortunately, there is no provision for irrigation.
If you know you don’t have a deep knowledge and experience about the crop to be planted or animal to be reared, it would be wise to employ the service of an experienced person who could manage the venture for you
Low Finance: Capital is indeed a must to consider when venturing into agriculture. A lot of farmers want to start big without considering their financial capability. After start-up, they eventually run out of the fund, and this makes them lose the whole farm in the long run.
Consider your financial capability before you start or better still, partner with as many sincere people as you can to reduce the financial burden.
Using the Paper plan to decide return: This is where many get it wrong, So far you have calculated on a spreadsheet that investing on an acre of land will give a certain return. Many factors must be considered before expecting a harvest. There is a need to check the land fertility, weather, pest, disease and host community. If the weather is not favourable for the certain period you don’t expect, then there will be a problem for the crop, and this will greatly affect yield.
Underpaying Staff/ Using workers as slaves: Lots of workers in the agricultural sector has made so many complains about low payment by various farm owners. When a staff is under-payed, there is a tendency that the staff and others may run the company to bankruptcy. When a staff knows how much his employer invest in a farm and see that the pay at month end does not commensurate with his/her input, then the staff will definitely not be happy, and this will affect the business. For any employer to have a happy staff(s), then he or she must pay them what is expected at month end.
Low/No technology input: The current world system is greatly advancing with technology. Many great companies now use one form of technology or the other to improve their services and increase income. There is no doubt that this same applies in the agricultural sector as major agricultural companies use technology to improve yield, to secure their farms, gather information about their daily farm activities and supervise workers on the field. There are now smart devices like drones that can measure the size of farmland and report diseases that destroy many crops. This saves time, energy, money and increase efficiency.
If you are about investing in farming, you are advised not to make these mistakes as this may affect your business or even close it down.