By Rogers Aghan, 13, March, 2023, Many young people have been beguiled into thinking they could do well in farming. However, it is important that these individuals realize the knowledge required. Farming is not one of those get-rich-quick schemes. It is a lucrative space and your investments could multiply seven-fold. Funny enough, it can get from good to bad, in a snap. The internet is filled with stories of farming successes. Interestingly, not everyone who poses as a farmer is indeed one. Some pose on farms for the attention of social media users. Well, having figured out that farming is not a bed of roses, it is critical to understand some of the risks tied to the practice.
Diseases, high costs against low yields, market congestion, and the ever-changing climate are some challenges that farmers face. So, are you bold enough?
The good news is, while there are few negative stories recorded, farming continues to be a success for many.
When there are many who would want to show off on social media, it becomes difficult to accurately capture the day-to-day failures. Albeit, it is easy to differentiate real farmers from the less serious ones when losses strike.
Most time real farmers endure risks, learn from hard experiences, put themselves together, and restrategize while keeping focus.
Nonetheless, many farmers remain silent on the problems they face in farming. While success stories are inspiring, stories of failure should also be shared so that novel farmers understand the magnitude of work in place.
Well, some areas of farming highlighted in this article could give you a glimpse of the ever-unending challenges faced by farmers.
Malik, a poultry farmer in Naivasha recalls the challenges he faced during his first time as a poultry farmer around 2013. He reared up to 2000 broilers and lost nearly 1500 heads. He also reared 500 layers but only noticed that only 125 of these were laying after about seven months.
Poultry farmers consider feeds for layers the most expensive in their practice. In addition, a little change in feeding programs could cost any poultry farmer.
According to another poultry farmer, most of these individuals buy day-old chicks that barely make it by the fifth day. Also, one sick chicken in a flock has the potential of wiping out all the rest. Normally, the worst that can happen to these farmers is having mature dying chickens with few to no buyers.
Usually, there are challenges concerning maize farming with regard to timing. Maize farmers who need to attain standard profits must realize the essence of timing in their practice. Interestingly, many seed companies sell fake seeds to farmers and this could utterly frustrate most of them. They may plant seeds that may not germinate.
Saaed reiterates, “The bags mentioned as yield in most packages are unrealistic depending on the yields that maize farming attains.”
“I timely planted maize in 2019 but after germination, I could count the few that made it out, this made me slash all of it and settle for pumpkins instead.” he continued.
Most maize farmers also complain of getting fake fertilizers even when they have credible seeds. Some inconsiderate sellers mix fertilizers with sand and repackage. Some fertilizers start dissolving into liquid hours after they are opened. You store the opened sack only to find everything liquid and gone! You cannot use that. It is your bill.” said an experienced social media farmer.
Tomatoes are nearly as frustrating as a thorn in the flesh even with the red pictures of bumper harvest depicted on the packages. Tomatoes are highly vulnerable to pest attacks with viral, fungal, and bacterial diseases that do not exit after entering. Farmers could spend weeks spraying chemicals but still count huge losses. The slightest mishap could lead to an unsatisfactory harvest. Diseases mostly attack at fruiting. Furthermore, tomatoes also flood the market, and the price per kg of the products could always reduce by nearly 80 percent in a snap. Farmers often get stuck with their harvest with few buyers ever showing interest.
Market and Flooding
Additionally, markets regarding farm produce is a problem for many farmers. While others struggle to find their way into local and international markets, others dread and leave these markets once they realize the difficulties experienced. Most farmers complain of market absence after attaining their harvest. It could be essential for farmers to understand their markets.
Lolani, a long-time vegetable farmer recommends to farmers the need to avoid farming if they are uncertain about the market.
Considering that farming is an investment, it is important that farmers begin to market their produce even before harvest. It could be crucial for them to find contacts as early as germination starts. Although, farmers should be watchful of brokers because they act as barriers to accessing markets but may be leeway to attaining trusted customers.
Therefore, farmers must be vigilant and it could not be the very best venture for those with faint hearts.