If you have ever planted crops in your life then you know the l satisfaction that comes with watching them grow. Nothing beats that. This applies to everyone who loves farming for “what it represents”. Not those who get into farming to make a quick buck and ditch it as soon as things get tough.
Farming goes beyond profit, crops and livestock. It involves people around us, our employees, family and the whole nation. No matter how small your farm is, no matter how little you have, everything you do makes a huge difference to the people around you.
I know, life presents a lot of challenges these days and it is easy for us to forget what it means to farm with passion. Sometimes we fall down in despair when we don’t make a profit, remembering the various life expenses that lie ahead. We are always looking for stable agribusinesses ventures that will help us make a living, pay school fees, house rent etc. Its totally understandable. We can get carried away and chew more than we handle. In the end we find ourselves in tricky situations that could be avoided. We should however not worry because failing is okay. Feeling despair is normal. It happens to a lot of people, not just farmers. We all struggle but the important thing is to never give up.
Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly – Robert F. Kennedy.
The most important thing is to always remind yourself of what actually matters in your life. The simpler things in life that make you happy. For me, one of the things that make me smile when I hit a hickup on the farm is a memory.
I remember back in lower primary, I used to go out to our kitchen garden and grow various crops on my makeshift nursery. This nursery was a no-go zone for anyone lest I “catch feelings”. I grew all kinds of crops there. My favourite crops were carrots and potatoes. I never knew the economic significance of growing crops back then. I never knew carrots and potatoes would make you this kind of money per acre blah blah blah. All I knew was how fun it was to watch crops grow and eating them afterwards. I especially loved how sweet raw carrots tasted when they had bits of soil in them. They were delicious. This memory always reminds me of how much I love being on the farm. Being free. Doing my own thing and not worrying about anything in life.
When you grow up things change. At this point, you understand what money is and how it gets stuff done. Money starts being a factor in many day-to-day activities you do. You are not a kid eating raw carrots anymore. You have to feed your family and pay the bills. All these responsibilities make people forget why they got into farming. All they focus on now is making the most profit per acre etc. When profit is your main motivation, progress becomes difficult.
We need to re-focus and slow down. We need to start doing what matters. Growing food and making a difference in the lives of people around us. Do what you love and the money will follow. Don’t dwell on profits too much. Stop complaining about the market. If you start small… I mean really small…. then you can sell any crop. Farmers are important, and every farming activity or crop you grow will always have a buyer. If you take a sack of cabbages, a sack of potatoes and a sack of carrots to the market today, they will definitely be purchased. However, if you take 50 bags of each to the market, you will either end up selling them at a throw-away price or feeding them to your cows. (This mostly applies in Kenya). Stop doing profit mathematics for 1 acre of cabbages and strategise your profits on 1/8 of an acre instead. This will help you figure out crop farming quickly.
Have you ever heard this saying?
“Once in your life you need a doctor, lawyer, policeman, or preacher but every day… three times a day… you need a farmer.”
This is not just a catchy saying. This statement goes in deep. It means that agriculture will always be relevant.
Let’s think about it. Farming is everywhere and impacts everything. Farming is connected to a lot of things. It’s energy runs from the soil through our veins and bonds us deeply to the Earth. Every farmer knows this feeling.
Farmers are more than just agents of growing food. They bind energy, clothing, transportation, health, electronics industries and so much more – like the grass that keeps the weaver birds nest in place… Farmers hold the nation. Focus on your passion…. growing food…… and the money will come.