New To Farming? Here’s vaMudhumeni’s Guide To Conducting Market Research or Market Study

Turning waste into profit.

By Mwazvita Zimunya

Let us talk to the first-time farmer once again today. You are keen on getting your hands dirty, you have bought yourself the khaki shirt and shorts to match with a sun hat and farmer shoes. A good appearance also goes a long way to promote your product.

Here are some important questions that every grower-marketer must find out about the market and the specific requirements of the targeted consumer:

·   Who the likely consumers of your products are,

·   Where do they live and what their specific needs and wants are.

·   How many people live within your marketing area?

·   Are consumers currently buying a particular fruit or vegetable?

·   How much of the product(s) do your potential customers currently use?

Is this use seasonal?

·   What prices are consumers paying for high-quality products?

·   Are consumers adequately served at present?

If consumers in the area/neighbourhood (omakhelwane) are being adequately served, here are some additional questions:

·   Can you do the job better and draw part of the market away from competitors?

·   Can the quantity that consumers purchase be increased by providing better quality than what is currently available?

·   Will your anticipated production comes at a time when little else is offered for sale?

·   What level of quality must you produce to meet the need unfulfilled demands of consumers?

·   How must you prepare and package the produce? What size container is most popular? What marketing costs will be incurred?

·   Do you have clear, visible signage which is well located?

Factors to consider when grading your crop

•     Quality (Firmness, Visual Appearance, Taste)

•     Size

•     Variety

•     Organic or inorganic

•     Maximum Level Residue (MRLs)–      acceptable level of chemicals

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