A few days back, I made a post on social media and it attracted huge attention from my Facebook friends. Many understood while others misunderstood my point of view completely, the points I highlighted went viral.
Maybe because I intentionally decide not to explain in detail and it becomes hard for some people to comprehend. So, I will be explaining in detail today.
Note: I am sharing my 6 years of practical agricultural experience with you here. Pay undiluted attention, do not skip any line.
I will be sharing “5 Things You Should Never Do If You Want To Invest In Agriculture And Be Successful”. Read them below,
Number One: Don’t quit your job to start a farm business.
A lot of experts and professionals will disagree on this point, but I don’t really care about what they think or know. But I want you to open your mind and learn something from my experience in agriculture.
I know it is hard to Unlearn. History has been crowded with stories of individuals who resigned from their paid employment to become successful farmers and proof to show they are making big money from agriculture.
I have read those internet stories too. And yes, I know someone who once worked with the World Bank and later dropped the job to invest heavily in farming and is cashing out big money.
Maybe I should remind you of this, “If there is anyone on planet earth that wants you to invest in Agriculture, I am the one”. I wish everyone had a farm or a small vegetable garden at home. So, I won’t scare you. I will give you the information you need to know, not necessarily the ones you want to be told.
Don’t ever quit your paid employment to invest in agriculture. Because in agriculture most especially in the primary production stage, 2+2 is not always 4, and practising farmers understand this.
Sometimes, 2+2=20 and sometimes -2. Maybe I should tell you that, money is not all you need to start/run a profitable farm.
Number Two: Don’t invest in agriculture at your retirement age. Because it is not a job for old people.
This part is difficult to explain because it is very common in Nigeria and some parts of Africa. Our parents usually work for the government or big private corporations for 35 years and retire with nothing to show.
If you reside in my country (Nigeria), you will agree with me that depending on your pension alone as a retiree, can reduce your life expectancy by half. Pensioners are not being cared for. Money meant for them is diverted into private pockets.
So, they venture into farming at age 60 above with less physical and mental toughness to align with failed crops or livestock farms. The number of failed agro projects increases daily making the sector unattractive to youths.
My advice is simple, start a farm business now that you are young and strong to manage the business. Do not wait until your working days have expired before you venture into rearing pigs.
Yes, is possible to start at your retirement age and still be successful, but my advice is simple, start now maybe on a smaller scale. Then venture into commercial-scale when you have the time to run it as a full-time business.
Number Three: Don’t jump into agriculture with a Ponzi scheme mindset.
Ponzi scheme mindset is the reason why most people prefer agricultural projects with short maturity periods. They are not really patient to invest in crops that have a maturity period of 3-5 years.
For example, if you invest in dwarf coconut plantation now, it is expected that after 3-5 years, your trees should start producing fruits. Yes, just 5 years and a lot of people will ask if they have a variety that can start producing within 6 months.
If the coconut starts producing fruits, it does that for more than 30 solid years if properly managed. So, you just need 3 years to nurture the trees into money printing machines.
The reality is, we want a quick return on investments and therefore 5 years looks like 50 years. But as a practising farmer, I know that something might go wrong and my calculation of harvesting coconut fruits within 5 years might be untrue.
Therefore, I do not base my calculation on quick returns. Do not invest in cucumber cultivation because the maturity period is 45 days and that you will sell fresh pods and make millions of Naira or Dollars.
Just ask yourself this question, “What if my cucumber seeds won’t germinate after planting? If white-fly should attack my farm and delay my crops, will harvest still be done within 45 days?’’.
We have millions of unanswered questions. So, do not invest with a Ponzi scheme mindset. Making 3 million Naira within 8 weeks is possible, but things might go wrong and you will hate agriculture because you only thought of making millions and forget to do your homework.
Agriculture is not a get rich quick scheme. Invest and do the right thing, expect the best but be ready to handle and be okay with the worst.
Number Four: Don’t collect a loan to start a farm, do that to expand your farm.
This point is difficult to explain because a lot of people won’t accept my view, but I want you to open your mind here. Let me try and analyze it in a way that you will get my point. A lot of youths have this challenge when comes to setting up a business in Africa and Nigeria to be precise.
I have financial difficulties too. The Agro business ideas in my head are worth billions to birth and financial institutions are really interested in lending money to startups, they prefer already established business with good financial records.
So, accessing loans in this part of the world is difficult. Individuals with money are really interested in investing in ideas with money printing potentials. But I have good news for you today, just read and you will never bother about capital to start your farm again. You will start without money.
Money is not all you need to run a successful farm business. I know you are surprised by that statement, but please do not be. Because we have massive agricultural projects that individuals invested millions of Naira and they failed to produce the anticipated results.
Right now as you are reading this, we have some wealthy individuals with tractors lying idle in their compounds due to poor management. We have greenhouses worth over N14Million to N20Million been underutilized because those who purchased them thought money is all they needed to run a greenhouse business.
We have massive poultry and fish farm structures wasting, maybe in your community that was constructed by a wealthy individual who taught money was all they needed to succeed in agriculture.
The list is endless. Just imagine for a second why someone will invest over 15 million Naira in building a poultry farm with modern equipment and never make profits or recover his capital invested?
This proves that money is not the most important thing when it comes to starting and running a successful agricultural business.
The most important thing for me is the “Market”. Do you have a market for your broilers? Because stocking your farm with 1000 broilers and feeding them to table size at week 8 or 10 is never a challenge, selling them at a profitable price and on time is the biggest challenge nobody has ever revealed to you.
And again, management of the farm/birds is another difficult task. Those bloggers/internet farmers telling you that making “3 million Naira with 8 weeks is possible if you invest 500 hundred thousand Naira”.
The point is this before you think of venturing into any agricultural business, and funding is your challenge, be certain you have a market. Do not allow everyone to eat rice so they will buy if you start processing rice. Do not assume it is the festive period or season so birds will be expensive and you will sell and make a huge profit and repay the loan.
You have to understand the business A-Z before seeking out a loan. And the loan shouldn’t be for you to start a farm, collect a loan to expand your already existing farm project. On the surface, you might think poultry business is more profitable than fish farming. But my advice is simple, act with proven results, test your ideas first.
It is not a bad idea to start with 50 birds or less, nurture them for 6-8 weeks, and then sell out. You will understand the business better than making investment decisions based on figures in your head.
After running the trial version of such business, you can confidently approach any financial institution for a loan to EXPAND your production capacity and not money to START a farm.
Number Five: Don’t produce until you can accurately estimate your potential customer’s needs and purchasing power.
I keep preaching the gospel of knowing your consumers’ purchasing power. Please, “Do not rear a 3500 Naira bird in a 1500 Naira consumer market”. This is deep, right? I understand, give me a few seconds and I will explain in clear terms.
Before you invest in any agricultural business, know who you are selling the final products to and model the commodity to suit their purchasing power because if you miss this, you will be trading at a loss.
As a rice processor, I know what my consumers can buy. Most of my customers demand 50KG rice bags and they insist that the rice should be long grains, stone-free, and neatly packed. So, our focus any time we are processing/packaging rice is to follow their description.
We are in business to satisfy their wants. Therefore, we produce more long grains of rice variety, package more of 50KG bags, and less of 25/10KG bag sizes. We know via feedback from them that the price of our rice is never a challenge to them.
We know our customers need good rice and can pay any amount if the quality is right, so we focus on quality and packaging more of 50KG bag sizes. If market demand tomatoes, producing okra is a waste of resources. Kindly conduct a detailed market survey and produce what your customers need/want.
These 5 points should guide you always. Share this out, discuss it with your friends, and start farming right. The best time to start your business is now, start with what you have and expand along the way.