By Mary Adebayo
It started on a cool evening while relaxing with the clicking of my backyard turkey, then ranged my phone and I picked it. Alas, it was one of my mentors requesting for the assistance of a professional, who could help get someone to fix the problem on his farm. Immediately, I got him one and she moved into action. I got in touch with managers of the distressed farm in question to assess first-hand information about the situation on the farm. After her interrogations with the farm’s directors, the managers and owner, and a visit to the farm, a number of observations was discovered.
Nigeria is blessed with citizens, who are lovers of agriculture to the core, though they are also specialists in other fields. They are interested and loved to invest their hard-earned income in agricultural productivity despite the huge success they might be recorded in their individual’s capacities. Some are also lucky to have good managers, who run the business on their behalf as their personal investment, but this category of farm workers is very minute in number. Majority are not too committed; “ajeyi toni n kan ko le je manager” while some are indifferent, “omo o buje budanu, a lo ko lohun kigbe” (Non-challance). The question that is so germane at this juncture would be, how can you go into farming while at the same time, prospering in other endeavours such as music, medical practice, and manufacturing?
What can be deduced from the responses received, sampled opinions on the above question is simply that, ‘food is essential for human survival’ for all humans have in common, the strive for intake of good food for healthy existence. This why every well-meaning Nigerian and prosperous individuals from various professions would love to invest in massive food production at reasonable and pocket-friendly prices. But, what are the pitfalls to avoid in order to get substantial returns on investment and become fulfilled by contributing to national productivity through farming. These points are hereby useful:
1. Be informed.
Seek for few information and get to know the basic things and nitty gritty about the areas you want to explore, either crop production, cash crops (Arable, biennial or perennial products), or animal production (Ruminants or non-ruminants). Having some right information on the operations in your areas of interest could be of a great advantage to prevent or reduce to the barest minimum, the pain that could emanate later.
2) Engage in good plans and real planning.
Depending on the level of your production, short, medium or long term plans are key. They drive your investment, growth and development.
3) Seek for professionals advice.
This is not just for anybody to manage or run your farm on your behalf. If you wouldn’t be available to monitor the process on a daily basis for the first five years of the business establishment, then go ahead and seek help.
4) Give trusted people an opportunity to run the business.
It is not gain saying that farming is a profitable business, if well managed. Though, with so many risks attached, but obeying simple natural laws for human survival could apply to animals and crops alike since they are also living things.
5) Visit the farm occasionally unannounced.
This is to see situations of things by yourself to ascertain technical reports and production performance, which could be of help in future planning.
6) Let your farm biosecurity be paramount above all expenses.
Be almost 100% certain of the integrity of the source of your animals/seeds or seedlings. They can only give you whatever their genetic make up has endowed them with. A free environment allows for the expression of hidden potentials.
7) Insure your farm against natural disasters.
Finally, it is good to insure farms and other investments against unforeseen circumstances so as to prevent a situation that would make big farmers to cry.
Dr. (Mrs.) Mary Adebayo is a young researcher in Animal Physiology. Her research interest focuses on livestock production and environmental influences on their performance in the tropics. She has been a teacher of agricultural science at both primary and secondary levels of education in Nigeria for more than two decades. She is passionate about animal production in a serene environment with minimal usage of drugs. She consults for livestock farmers based on her wealth of knowledge and experience about the relevance of animal physiology for improved production performance of every farm animal. She can be reached, via: email@example.com