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How to get started in farming

Farming is an occupation that encompasses a number of different activities. Some farmers in Kenya raise crops for animals to eat, others raise the animals themselves and still others raise crops for people. Many farmers use heavy machinery and spray insecticides or herbicides, while others use organic methods. Farmers need a wide range of skills, including crop production, basic veterinary skills, animal husbandry and marketing skills.

Type of Farming

An aspiring farmer in Kenya must first identify the type of farming she plans to undertake, as different skills are necessary. A farmer who raises only commercially marketed grains needs a different body of knowledge and skill set than a farmer who has a small, diversified horticulture operation that sells directly to the consumer. Farmers who raise animals for meat or who milk dairy animals also need different skills than those who raise only food crops.

Get Training

Once you have identified your farming goals, the next step is training. Many colleges and universities offer degrees and diploma in agriculture, although you do not need all that to become a farmer. If you have passion you can get training by visiting experienced farmers to learn a thing or two (choose one to be your mentor), you can identify practical training centres around Kenya that offer a few days training that can get you started or you can apply for internship in an established farm which practices an agribusiness venture you would want to venture into. However getting a formal education (in this case a deep theory research), can provide you with knowledge of marketing, government regulations, livestock management and other pertinent topics. Farming is a business, and formal education may also provide you with basic business skills and knowledge about labor practices.

Acquiring Land

Land for farming is the next consideration. Some farmers in Kenya begin with leasing land, while others must buy their farms. You may need to obtain a sizable loan or acquire significant capital for your land. It’s always good to start small so when you are leasing, get a small sizable piece of land then expand later after seeing your returns.

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