Meet Moomba Thornicroft – A New Farmer on the Block

You’re about to start living a true farm life. You’ve probably already started pursuing your dream after work hours or on weekends. You can’t wait to grow entrepreneurial endeavor so it can sustain your family. While we’re glad you visit Agricultureinzambia.com, we also want to bring you the  inspiration you need to keep going. Here’s what Moomba has to say.

Rome was not built in a day.  I bought three hectares land some time back, and my plan was to put up a huge sotambe house. But then I haven’t had the money t follow through. So instead of leaving your land idle, I  put up a small structure. It’s a 4×3 room and the cost was K4000 give or take and found someone who needs a place to stay for free on condition that they keep the place clean. I’m planning to get more land in the area but in the meantime, I’ve started with my little farming projects.

I’ve been farming on a small scale on leased land for some time. On my piece I’m currently growing cucumber, beans, tomato, Chinese cabbage, rape, and maize.

 

When you’ve just started farming, the process is overwhelming. You want to keep track of and stay on top of everything. Here are a few tips for beginner farmers that can help you manage your project and help you become more effective.

1. Worry about your details.

The more you know about what you want to farm the better. Just try not to keep track of everything in your head. Write as much as you can down. You might find you’re successful the first time and not the second time around and it won’t be easy trying to remember what you did right. So, be organized with all your records, including accounting, field records, weeding, spacing, pasture rotation….

2. Budget

You have to have a budget. Budgeting will help you estimate your income, expenses and profitability. You don’t want to find yourself in a position where you can’t buy fertilizer when you need it most. Budgeting will give you a baseline to follow for decision making as well as monitoring.

3. Know the costs

After creating a budget, you have to know costs and break even per acre and per head. With such information, you can start marketing your crops more effectively. Don’t forget to include all expenses, including transportation, tools, salaries to workers… in your cost calculations.

4. Create a cash-flow projection

This will help you know when money is coming in and when payments are due. cash flow projections allow you to determine if you have enough money to cover obligations, and, if necessary, look for other sources of revenue. Try to understand your options and consider them all including loans. However, also consider leasing land or equipment(tractor).

 

5. Shop around for good deals

It’s important to look for discounts and consider all potential sellers. Even small savings on fertilizer, seeds, feed or other purchases can add up over time.

6. Have a plan for landlords

If you’re renting land, try to maintain good relationships with the landlords you have or try to get new ones. Consider what are you going to share with them and leverage the strength of the relationship and your stewardship of the land.

7. Get a mentor

This is very important. Try to tap into knowledge from other farmers. You can do this as part of a group or an association. Attend workshops so you can become a master in the crop you grow and always be on the lookout for new information you can easily turn into valuable knowledge.

8. Surround yourself with professionals

Don’t be afraid to hire an agricultural consultant, marketing consultant or veterinarian. Remember, you will always get what you pay for and cheap advice doesn’t always have the best value.

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