Smart tips of establishing a profitable crop enterprise in a changing climate
World population is rapidly increasing and as a consequence, the global demand for food is also increasing. As such, farmers will need to increase crop production either through expanding agricultural lands to grow more crops or improve productivity on existing lands through adoption of new methods such as precision agriculture. However, in recent years agriculture has been severely impacted by a major challenge of climate change which is making it difficult to run an agro-based and allied business.
There is a global believe especially among academics that climate change will cause water scarcity, rise in global temperatures and extreme weather events. These conditions are expected to have long term effects on crop yields around the world. But these conditions though very negative towards crop productivity, do not completely hinder engagement into an agro-enterprise. Therefore, factors that one may have to take into consideration when entering into crop production enterprise in a changing climate include among others; soil testing, seed selection, market research, planting time, disease control, post harvesting, irrigation methods and focus. As smart farmer, takes the tips and avoid learning them the hard way.
This is the assessment of the fertility status of the soil for fertilizer recommendation. Therefore, for crop production enthusiast soil testing must not be neglected due to fluctuating prices in crops and fertilizers. In addition, knowing status of some soil properties e.g. soil texture can enable farmers to adapt to climate change and increase the soil’s capacity to store water, supply nutrients to plants, sequester carbon and reduce greenhouse gas emissions thus mitigate global warming effects.
The adoption of improved seed varieties (especially drought resistant varieties) that are resistant to prevailing climatic conditions such as drought is crucial to avoid yield losses that can discourage potential investors in an agro-enterprise.
Knowing your customers and what they are interested in is very essential. Most of the farmers believe farming process begin with land preparation and planting and that is not the always the case. The first step in undertaking farming enterprise is market research. Customers will not buy because you grow instead you grow because they will buy. For instance, in most cases in Lesotho, farmers grow cabbage and when the cabbage starts forming the heads they look for demand and in turn wonder why they are so unlucky with crop production enterprise.
Plant at the right time
It is important for an enterprise farmer to grow crops at the right season. As the saying goes that &002;If you fall off the building, it doesn&001;t matter whether you are good or evil you will hit the ground, this is how fair the law of nature is&002;. This is the same situation when you plant your crops at the wrong season and hope and pray that it rains, chances are they will dry up. Hence farmers need to be time conscious.
In order to supply moisture for crops for germination and growth they must be irrigated. Rain-fed agriculture is very risky lately because of climate change. Therefore, farmers have to make use of irrigation and practice protected agriculture which has proven to give a high return on investment.
Plant diseases are known to reduce the quality of the produce and that affect its marketability. As such it is important to make use of appropriate chemicals to control plant diseases and inhibit the growth of disease causing pathogens.
Post-harvest is a technique applied to agricultural produce after harvest for its protection, conservation, processing, packaging, distribution and marketing. 20-60% of all crop losses are due to poor harvest handling. It is therefore advisable to have a proper post harvesting strategy in place to avoid great losses through physical damages as well as nutrient loss. Thus helps not to compromise the quality of the produce and marketability.
Focus on one particular crop
It is very important to have the discipline to focus on the crop that makes you the most money. Do not keep on scratching the surface, growing one crop after the other without a mastery of any. For instance, take beans and focus on that single one until you are successful enough, if not it will be a matter of time before you call it a quit.
Do not Copy what others are doing
Enter into farming enterprise knowing exactly what to produce and why. In most cases farmers grow certain crop because Mr B and Mrs C did the same and went home with large sums of money. Do not get into farming enterprise because other people are super successful at it and think will have the same fate, it just won&001;t happen.