By David Ndegwa
Farming is like a game and to play any game effectively, one must acquaint himself/herself with its rules. A chess player who wins the game usually has the same number of subjects as his opponent but what makes him win is how he moves them. In farming, all farmers use the same tools but the difference comes in how each tool is used. Success or failure in farming, therefore, comes as a result of efficiency on the use of the tools but not on luck or timing.
In farming, there are two major key components that define success or failure.
– Things that a farmer can control
– Things that a farmer can’t control.
To succeed, a farmer needs to identify what is under his/her control and take charge of that on a 100% basis. What is in the farmer control?
1. Choice of the growing area. You can’t grow crops in an area with poor soil, inadequate water etc and then start complaining about how you are not making money.
2. Type of land preparation
3.. Type and quantity of fertiliser to use
4. Spacing and plant population to be adopted.
5. Quality of crop husbandry to be employed
6. Variety and seed quality.
7. Method of irrigation to adopt and how much water to give in each stage
8. Basic questions of where, when, how and what to grow must be answered.
Growing is like driving a car. A car has 5 gears which must be engaged at the right terrain for a smooth drive. You do agree with me that not everyone can drive a car and the disaster is that everyone thinks that he or she can practice successful farming. I would advise everyone who is in farming or has intentions to do farming to define how he or she will farm in 1m² and then prolate this information to the acreage which you want to farm.
The battle in farming is won or lost at the production per unit area/ plant. How much have you planted (plant population)in 1m² or per plant, at what cost and what yields are you getting per plant or per m². If you are a cabbage farmer and you don’t know exactly the size of your field, the total number of cabbages in your field, the % grade one and the % grade 2, wewe ni wa bahati nasibu .
If you ask many farmers, they will tell you that they don’t make money because of the low prices or because of brokers. My friend, price is just an excuse and the real issue is low production per unit area which increases the cost of production. In order to make a profit in such circumstances, the option is to sell at a higher price which unfortunately is not under a farmer’s control.
As I said earlier, there are factors that are not under the farmers control eg:-
2. Seed contamination by unscrupulous traders
4. Unusual gluts, etc
In order to succeed in the farming game, farmers must learn the art of farming. Sio lazima ufanye science ,hio achia agronomists .
One of the major reasons why farmers sometimes don’t trust agronomists in the field is because we don’t understand that Agriculture is both a Science and an Art and it is s the art part of farming that makes money which most of the agronomists are not familiar with as they are more science-oriented.