How to choose a farm enterprise

Author: Mr Michael Ssali. PHOTO/FILE

There are important factors to consider before choosing a farming business. You want to make profit and to make a living as a farmer so your source of income has to be dependable all the time. 
The farming business is influenced by a number of factors, including market for the farm products, pests and diseases, climate, soil quality, and the social economic status of the community where the business is going to be located.

If you want to go into poultry, for example, you have to think of where the market is for eggs or for the birds. 
Is the community where you live interested in the products of your farm? How far is the store from which you will be purchasing the feeds and other inputs for your farm? How far away is the market for your farm products? 
Are there crop farmers in the neighbourhood that will take interest in purchasing poultry manure? 
If you are going to incur huge expenses to transport your products to the market or to deliver inputs to your farm then you could hugely minimise your profits from the business. The other big consideration may be availability of a permanent source of water because livestock keeping is impossible without water.

The amount of rainfall obtained in the area is also very important especially if you want to go into crop production. 
Most crops must have a good supply of water to grow well. It is no use becoming a coffee or banana farmer in a region which goes for several months without rain unless you have a provision for irrigation. 
Rainfall availability is strongly linked to vegetation growth and if you are going into activities such as cattle or goat keeping it is important to reflect on whether you will have sufficient pasture for your animals unless you don’t mind moving your herds and flocks from one place to another looking for grass and water.

Crop production should involve activities such as soil testing by an agricultural expert like your area agricultural services extension worker. 
You need to have a fair understanding of the soil status of the field where you want to plant crops so that you apply the right fertilisers if it is necessary to do so. Some areas are prone to some pests and diseases. You need to have a strategy for coping with such challenges.

Mr Michael Ssali is a veteran journalist, 
[email protected]

 

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