Owning a productive piece of land or having access to one through a long-term lease agreement is the most important part, but it is not the only requirement to enable you to run a successful farm. Knowledge is wealth as I often say. If you know what it takes to raise a good profitable crop or livestock, I would say you are half way there. There is lots more required to make your farm commercially viable, profitable, sustainable, a serious contributor to the economy of this country and an answer to ongoing food security.
When I stumbled across Buhle, I knew that young farmers who want to run successful farms have a better chance at success if they enrol with them. With close to 20 years of training farmers for success, they understand that farming is a business with high risks hence their training is comprehensive and holistic and entails the following 5 pillars;
- A thorough grounding in the theory of agricultural production
- Hands-on practical experience – so be prepared to wake up before sunrise and to retire after sunset
- Training in farm business management – to give you business skills you require to run a successful commercial farm
- Training in appropriate life skills
- Effective farmer support after graduation to improve your chances of success. They will mentor you to ensure that you overcome the inevitable challenges e.g. access to funding for machinery and inputs, coping with diseases and pests, gaining access to markets for your produce, etc…
As I was speaking to Zamo Shongwe, Executive Director at Buhle Farmers’ Academy, she mentioned “ The biggest risk to farming are issues related to global warming, such as drought, floods, diseases, etc… As a farmer, you must have multiple sources of income, some of which do not depend on nature, so that you have a sustainable business….”. Their training program aims to set you, the aspiring farmer for success. That is why they are now training over 500 students a year, all the way from just 57 students when they were starting out in the year 2000.
Other factors that would make your farm to be successful are;
- You understanding the input costs of your farming operation so you can price your produce correctly
- Having a reliable market to sell your produce to
- Being able to provide your markets with consistent supply – big retailers will not give you a supply agreement if you cannot guarantee consistent supply
- You certainly need to have some business experience so you can ensure that your books are in order, you pay your loans, manage your budget and cash flow, you pay your taxes and you manage your staff in line with the requirements of the LRA
Buhle will be there for you to help you with the business skills you require to tackle all of the above.
So if you are ready to be part of future successful commercial farmers that will help SA to alleviate poverty and create jobs in the rural areas, drop us an email firstname.lastname@example.org so we can share more information with you.