By Saintly Ngwenya
In war it is recommended that you can only quit when your army and ammunition has been depleted to such a point where further engagement will not result in surrendering of your opponent. However, those who keep on fighting even when the odds are against them are called heroes. In farming, just like in a war, there comes a time when one considers to quit and venture into other lines of business. I have met several farmers who have asked this question time and again.
Farming is an adventurous journey which requires not only resources but also passion. Along the way there are several twists and turns which need to be overcome to enjoy the ride. The best position one has to sit on this journey is the driving seat. Guided by passion, one has to stir the business in the direction best suited for the ride. A farmer who takes the backseat in this journey always misses the best parts which involves decision making and critical analysis and will eventually decide to quit, even when the journey is still young.
One of the major reasons why farmers decide to quit is recurring losses or unprofitability of the enterprise. Oftentimes, farmers deplete all their resources and fail to recover from losses whether natural or man-made. In this case certain individuals are convinced that farming does not produce meaningful returns. But this is not only limited to farming because any business is susceptible to such losses. Good decision making coupled with proper training and timeous planning can avert such losses thereby giving hope to those who want to quit.
Before quitting, one has to look on the journey and see if it is worth it to give up. They need to consider things like how much time and resources you have already invested. Those who quit usually regret the decision and feel they should have given themselves more time to try again. It is more difficult to resume the journey after quitting. It requires more effort and commitment to get back into the game after quitting. When one is driven by passion into farming, the sight of crops and animals growing brings more joy which cannot be equated to the monetary returns.
Therefore, my advice to all farmers who ask me on when to quit farming is: the best time to quit farming is when you haven’t started at all.