How to be a diaspora farmer the right way: 5 essential tips for farming from the diaspora
Telephone farming can be a lucrative venture if done the right way. Unlike conventional farming where the farmer is based on the farm, telephone farmers rely on a farm manager to carry out activities on the farm. This article will give you five tips on how you can establish and run a successful farm in Africa while based in the diaspora.
Agribusiness is the most fashionable niche to talk about right now. The population in Africa is increasing. More Africans are entering the middle-class bracket. Consumption rates of agricultural produce are increasing.
While these factors should get you excited to begin farming, they are not enough to inform your decision. Seek specific information about the type of farming you want to get into. What are the ecological conditions of your potential farm location? Crops have different requirements for rainfall, soil PH, soil type, humidity, and temperature. Farm animals also need specific climatic conditions to thrive. For example, rearing tilapia, catfish or Nile perch, requires that the fish ponds be located in an area with a warm climate. Dairy farming involving the Frieshian cattle breed requires a cool wet climate in high altitude areas. On the other hand, beef farming would thrive in opposite conditions to those of dairy farming.
Your research should further cover the market, challenges and opportunities in your chosen farming venture.
Farming from the diaspora requires proper planning and anticipation of risk. A good plan for your farm should be informed by your research findings. Good planning can help you take advantage of great market opportunities.
For instance, farmers in Africa who schedule their products to mature and be ready for the market in December, reap large profits. As December is a festive month, products like poultry meat, fish, pork, beef and groceries reach peak prices during this period.
Plan for growth. Start small, but make sure you are setup for growth so that you can truly reap the benefits of your time and capital investments in later years. Make sure you implement robust processes that are scalable; DO NOT CUT CORNERS. Practices like vaccination of animals and crop rotation may seem costly in the beginning, but they are the types of processes that will you build a sustainable and scalable farm.
Make use of consultant(s) who will help to draft a conclusive plan that will guide your venture.
Hire the right farm manager
In managing your farm from abroad, the farm manager will be your most important resource. The success of the farm will depend on the performance of the farm manager. As such, he/she needs to be qualified for the role. The farm manager must be literate, self-driven, communicative, and have integrity.
The farm manager carries out the day to day duties of your farm. In large farms, the farm manager is in charge of supervising other workers. These duties include record-keeping, feeding animals or attending to crops.
Ensure that you pay your farm manager a fair wage; sometimes slightly above average if you can afford it. Pay is determined by the workload on the farm and the skills required in running the farm. It is ideal that you provide housing on the farm for your manager; or hire someone who lives very close to the farm. In order to encourage good performance, reward your farm manager for good results.
Have the right controls in place
To manage your farm from abroad more efficiently, you can install cameras to receive live video updates. This is important if you are involved in livestock farming or poultry farming using the intensive system. This will help in accountability and cross-checking the information given to you by the farm manager.
In addition, consider hiring a farm auditor who make regular (some unplanned) visits to the farm to review and monitor the farm’s operations. An ideal farm auditor should be technically savvy and able to assist with other farm activities such as vaccination or fertilizers applications where applicable.
Farming from the diaspora can be profitable if you follow these tips. In-depth research will help you begin farming from an informed point of view. You should invest in a business plan that will be a blueprint that will guide the project from inception.