Farming 101GardeningvaMudhumeni

DEALING WITH UNCERTAINTY IN AGRICULTURE

By Albert Makendenge

Agriculture is a very risky and uncertain venture that is usually heavily affected by external conditions that are beyond the farmer’s control. Therefore farmers need to put up a solid plan in place for when such times occur and below are some of the measures to consider.

  • Diversification

This means that the farmer avoids putting all his/her eggs in one basket and thus is into different livestock and crop production activities. The ones that succeed will act as cover for the ones that perform poorly.

  • Flexibility

This means that the farming system is arranged in such a way that a farmer can, without much cost move from one enterprise into another if economic conditions make this shift desirable. Rigidity often is a recipe for failure when the need for adjustments becomes necessary.

  • Liquidity

Having assets liquid form, that is the actual cash itself or those assets which can easily be converted to cash offers the business the ability to face unforeseen contingencies such as crop failure and market slumps.

  • Capital rationing

This involves restricting the flow of capital into an enterprise even when the return is quite high. Funds are only injected into the business when it is absolutely necessary and this way the financial reserve of the farm will always be intact even when hard times hit.

  • Contract farming

This has to do with contractual agreements in money terms between the farmer, manufacturing firms and input suppliers. This way product prices are guaranteed and the farmer also gets to establish useful links with manufacturing firms and input suppliers.

  • Adoption of innovative techniques

Farmers have got to be able to move along with the times and make use of new and better ways of doing things rather than remaining within the bounds of traditional methods.

  • Crop and livestock insurance

Insurance protects the farmer against occurrences such as loss due to poor weather, insect infestations and diseases.

Although these measures may not completely take out the unexpected problems that farmers face, they are, at the very least, put in a better position to mitigate them.

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