3 Factors Of Success In Agribusiness That No One Tells You About

New investors in agribusiness (I don’t really like calling them farmers) consider many important factors such climate, the soil type, crop variety, best seeds and the market before pumping in money to their projects.

Unfortunately, they forget to think about a few, most important factors that determine the success or failure of these projects. You must consider the following before you put in your money in any farming project:


1. Scale – the size of your project

We love avoiding this topic but let’s face the facts: too small farming projects can never be profitable.

You need a big enough farming venture to put you in a position from which you can negotiate for discounts on farm inputs, invest your time, mind and energy in a worthwhile manner and to be able to attract serious and well-paying buyers.


Large-scale pawpaw farming in Embu, Kenya

I do not despise small-scale farmers but being one should only be a starting point. You won’t make much as a small-scale farmer (you will probably make losses) but the lessons you pick at this stage should be written with indelible ink on the pages of your mind dedicated to that project. Then use these lessons to scale up. 

Small or big in reference to farming projects is relative. For example ½ an acre of strawberry is big while 1 acre of wheat farming is really small. So if you have access to only a small piece of land, then you have no choice but to go for high value crops such as mushroom strawberry, dragon fruits, greenhouse tomatoes and coloured capsicum.

You can also use innovative farming techniques such as multistorey gardens and vertical gardening to increase your farming space.


Multistorey gardens installation by Richfarm Kenya

A common mistake farmers make with scale is to have small portions of many different things, thinking that diversity will shield them against market uncertainties. Doing that is the same as digging your own grave.

You would better have 1 big project of a specific kind than many different small projects.


2. Irrigation – Consistent supply of suitable irrigation water

The first crops that ever grew on earth (if the story of creation is true) were grown under irrigation, by God Himself. Now if God didn’t wait for the rains to grow the crops, why should you?


Irrigation farming in Kajiado, Kenya

Rivers, dams, wells and boreholes are here for us to use for irrigating our crops. The rains are for refilling these resources… although it’s alright to take advantage of the rains and grow our crops through one of their stages… but irrigation we must do.


3. Science, facts and figures

It is so sad that the only group of business people who run their businesses totally blindly are the ones we rely on to feed our hungry world – farmers.

They do not know the status of their soils in terms of nutrient content and pH, never keep a single record and take very few lessons from past experiences.

I wonder how you expect to be successful if you are buying fertiliser for your land without testing your soils.

How do you go smiling to the bank to collect that 1 million you think is your handsome pay while you have no records to check if the investment costed more?

How do you rush to the agrovet to buy chemicals for spraying without a prescription from an agronomist?


Crop examination by Richfarm Kenya Agronomists

By the way, every farm has its unique characteristics and challenges. Taking time to study them will give you invaluable data that you can use to bring your agribusiness to success.

You can always call us, Richfarm Kenya 0724698357 / 0723213602 to help you in pre-planning your farming project and ensure that it is successful.


Unknown said...

What seems obvious may not be so! Thanks for posting these useful lifelong lessons. I would just like to add one more: Cheap can be expensive so watch out farmers...get professional support and invest in learning! Even if you get your less fortunate relatives to be on the land, invest in training them. It will save you a lot of pain and tears later on!

John Mwanza said...

Great piece.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the valuable information.