People are so used to being lectured on the importance of engaging in Agribusiness that it achieves a kind of magical status.
It’s almost as if developing an Agribusiness offers an instant cure for all money problems.
But in truth, most farmers make some embarrassingly basic mistakes with their agribusinesses.
Anyone of those mistakes could seriously damage your ability to grow your venture.
Make a few of them, and you might as well be doomed from day one.
So let’s call out these rookie mistakes, one by one. Because when you know them, you can avoid them a hell of a lot easier.
1. Money is all that matters to you.
Having money is great. With money, you can travel the world and enjoy life. You can even buy people to think on your behalf.
But one thing is for sure, money will never substitute the ideas and creativity that is required to run a successful Agribusiness.
It’s even worse when your main motivation comes from monetary gain rather than a passion for farming itself.
2. You don’t know your customers
If you don’t know everything about your customer, how will you figure out what they might be interested in? The answer is short. You won’t.
Sadly, without enough buying customers, you don’t have a business.
It’s essential to know your exact buyer persona. Things like their age, demographics, gender, eating habits, income and so on so forth. By so doing, you’ll grow and produce those crops that will resonate well with them as well as those that they can afford.
It would be needless to say that you’ll be lucky to sell even a dozen apples to low-income earners.
3. You don’t even have a market!
Most farmers are brilliant when it comes to growing their fresh produce successfully and getting tons and tons of harvest only to realize they don’t have a market.
As damp as it may sound, unfortunately, that’s the case for most agribusiness entrepreneurs.
If you don’t have a market that is significant enough for that matter, relinquish your dreams of becoming an accomplished farmer before you lose any money.
4. Market research is not necessary to succeed in Agribusiness
A few months ago I was training some farmers on effective group management. I started by asking what they thought was the simplest question ever.
The question went something like, ‘in your experience, where does the process of farming begin?’ The answers came just as I expected. ‘Land preparation and planting,’ came out so clearly.
I had a rough time trying to convince them that they were wrong and that the farming process has and will always start with the market.
Remember, customers will not buy because you grow, instead, you grow because they will buy. The best way to find out is to conduct thorough market research before venturing into farming.
5. You look for demand when your produce has matured
The tragedy of most farmers especially in developing countries is, they have a tendency of growing let’s say cabbages and start looking for customers when the cabbages start forming the heads.
This is not only sad, but it’s also crazy.
Because what normally follow, is what I call salting the wound in the name of middlemen at best.
Middlemen are at times likened to vultures. They are always looking out for farmers that have made the mistake of finding a market way too late and extort them really well.
Under worst circumstances, your produce will just rot in the fields!
6. Your neighbor does it too and he/she is super successful
My mother always says, ‘this season let’s grow tomatoes. They will make us the most money.’ When I ask her why she thinks so, ‘because Mr. and Mrs. X did the same and went on holiday with the money they got from their tomatoes,’ is normally her answer.
And she wonders why she’s so unlucky with farming.
I bet she’s not alone.
If you are getting into the farming business because your neighbor is super-successful at it and therefore think you’ll have the same fate, I’m sorry to disappoint you.
It just won’t happen.
If this is your route, soon enough all the neighborhood will be producing the same crop creating a surplus that forces the prices to dwindle.
7. You jump from the top of the roof and pray that you don’t hit the ground – Weather
The law of nature is so clear and fair that, if you fall off the building, it doesn’t matter whether you’re good or evil – you gonna hit the ground.
It’s the same situation when you plant your vegetables, fruits or flowers or whatever, at the wrong season and hope and pray that it rains, chances are they will dry up.
That’s what happens when you over-rely on rainfall.
A serious farmer will make use of irrigation as well as protective growing such as greenhouse cultivation to produce off-season which has proven to give a high ROI.
8. Wrong mentality
It doesn’t matter how dedicated or hardworking you are. If you have a wrong mentality of succeeding in Agribusiness, you will fail.
Most people believe that Agribusiness is the best consolation plan for those that have failed in other industries.
There’s only one problem with that kind of thinking. It’s stupid and the best ingredient for more disappointment.
9. Value addition is a waste of resources to you
With today’s competitive world, it’s not enough to just produce. Without proper value addition, your customers will soon buy from your competitor.
If you’re one of the misinformed entrepreneurs that believe value addition is a waste of resources, then your Agribusiness is as good as dead.
10. You know nothing about post-harvest handling and you don’t care
30-60% of all crop losses can be attributed to poor post-harvest handling. If you don’t have a proper post-harvest strategy in place, you might incur great losses through physical damages as well as nutrient loss.
This will definitely compromise the quality of your produce and marketability.
Always keep in mind that the greatest challenge for most farmers is how to preserve the value of their produce after harvesting. If you can invest a little bit more time and resources into learning about post-harvest you rise above your competition.
11. You hunt for rabbits in a tiger-infested forest – lack of focus
You don’t have the discipline to focus on the crop or enterprise that makes you the most money. Instead, you keep on scratching the surface, growing one crop after the other without a mastery of any.
Remember, it is said that a man who hunts for rabbits in a tiger-infested forest, must watch out for both rabbits and tigers. But a man who hunts for tigers can ignore the rabbits.
Here’s what I mean.
Identify your main enterprise, for example, bulb onions and focus only on that single one until you are successful enough. Otherwise, it will be a matter of time before you call it quit.
12. You don’t keep records
An organized system of record keeping that is legible, readily identifiable, and retrievable is the first ingredient for a successful farming venture.
However, 80% of farmers do not keep records at all.
It then becomes very hard for them to secure funding to expand their enterprises or gauge their performance.
Begging the question, ‘if you don’t know where you’re coming from or where you are, how will you possibly know where you’re going?’
13. Mediocrity is good enough for you
If you are one of those guys who cannot push their limits to achieve more, you won’t get far with your venture.
Great Agribusiness experts challenge themselves to exceed the average, they work harder, they take more risks, they invest more, they partner with professions for advice and as a result, they earn more.
14. Pest and diseases are smarter than you think
Apart from post-harvest losses, pest and diseases are the 2nd most devastating challenges faced by Agribusiness entrepreneurs.
These pests have a tendency of attacking when you least expect.
To be on the safe side and outsmart them, it’s important to carry out frequent monitoring as well as developing an integrated pest management strategy to safeguard your investment.
Never wait until your crop has been infected or infested to take action. Remember that prevention has proven over time to be better than cure.
If you must spray with chemicals to control the pests, always be ethical enough to use fully-registered, environmental-friendly chemicals and observe post-harvest interval, otherwise, you belong to jail.
15. The more the fertilizer, the better.
There’s a misconception that if you want to get a bountiful harvest, that you use more fertilizers.
My advice is always simple, start with conducting a soil analysis in the case of soil-based growing or nutrient analysis in the case of hydroponics, and only then can you determine what and how much fertilizer you need to apply.
Blind fertilizer application is a waste of resources and will cause more harm to your crop than good.
16. You think that insurance is only for the motor vehicles
I was once guilty of this one. I thought that the only people with motor vehicles and established urban businesses were the only ones required to take out insurance.
Little did I know that it’s always a brilliant idea to insure your Agribusiness against any eventualities. Just like you would with your car.
It’s always good to have a contingency plan just in case.
17. Agribusiness is cheap and for everyone.
On the contrary, to succeed in agribusiness, you really have to invest enough time, money, and patience. Unfortunately, not so many of you are willing to put in the necessary effort.
But I have news for you. If you thought that the art of growing and selling food for money is cheap and easy, think again. Agribusiness is not for everyone and it’s most certainly not for you.
Remember it’s the hard that makes it cool, tax-free and lucrative.
You’ve read 17 reasons why your Agribusiness might be doomed to failure.
But too many farmers think getting into this business simply means slapping some seeds in the soil and starting reaping big.
It’s never that simple.
By avoiding the rookie mistakes laid out in this post, you can get your business working for you and start reaping the rewards you keep hearing about from other accomplished entrepreneurs.