AGRICULTURE /FARMING IN SOUTH AFRICA
Sustainable farming is about meeting the basic needs of South Africans today and in the future. The recent sharp rise in food prices and reports about social unrest in a large number of countries reveal the strategic and basic importance of the Farming and Agricultural sector. Agriculture provides food and fiber to meet two of the basic human needs.
TYPES OF FARMING
“Tunnel Farming” has been around in South Africa for many years. Tunnels are sometimes confused with “Green Houses”. The key difference is that tunnels are not heated and provide less climate control and are also less expensive.
BENEFITS OF TUNNEL FARMING:-
- Significant yield gains;
- Frost, hail and wind protection;
- Reduction in scorch and bleaching of produce;
- Guaranteed harvest days;
- Reductions in the need of pesticides;
- Improved ability to deliver marketing programs.
Various products can be produced profitably in tunnels and are but not limited to:-
- Cocktail Tomatoes;
“Organic Farming” is a form of Agriculture that relies on techniques such as:-
- crop rotation;
- green manure;
- compost; and
- biological pest control.
“An organic farm, properly speaking, is not one that uses certain methods of substances and avoid others: it is a farm whose structure is formed in imitation of the structure of a natural system that has the integrity , the independence and the benign dependance of an organism – Wendy Berry – “The gift of Good Land”.
BROILER (CHICKEN) FARMING
When starting a chicken/broiler farming business it is important for the farmer to plan his operation properly. The starting point is to develop a professional, bankable and professional business plan. The plan will address questions pertaining to the source and availability of inputs, production scheduling, where to market the produce, and the feasibility of the enterprise. The farmer should also conduct a prope market survey to determine where to market the products successfully. The survey will help in determining:-
- Where to sell the products?
- At what price?
- In what form – live or slaughtered chickens?
- Who are the competitors? and
- At what price are they selling their products? etc.
It is very important that the farmer makes sure that he/she produces according to what the market demands.
Although PIG FARMING hasn’t really picked up in Africa like in other parts of the world, a few entrepreneurs are already enjoying the lucrative benefits of pig farming. Despite cultural and religious influences in certain parts of the world that limit pork production and consumption, pig farming is growing all over the world.
Starting small and dreaming big is very important in this business. Starting small allows you to expose only a small amount of your capital to the risk of failure – and yes, not all businesses will succeed. With small capital invested , it will not be the end of the world if something goes wrong. You should not underestimate the power of learning at a small scale. The ideal place to start is to put all your ideas and plans in a professional, well-written, killer and bankable farming business plan. In the process you will discover patterns, tricks and things that work and won’t work. Based on your growing experience of the business, what customers are asking for, and your small successes and failures, you can then gradually increase the size of your pig farm.
Being a dairy farmer can be a very satisfying and economically rewarding experience. But be forewarned, to become a successful dairy farmer takes a lot of hard work. As a dairy farmer, you will have to develop numerous skills. You will have to become an expert in the field of animal health, nutrition, pasture management, working with laborers, record-keeping and many others. Most of all, you will have to develop management skills such a planning, organizing, delegating and evaluating all aspects of dairy farming. Personal supervision is one of the key aspects of success. Good dairymen know all their animals by name and love and care for them. If you are prepared to face this challenge, you have made the right decision to become a dairy farmer.
AGRICULTURE / FARMING FUNDING
Although funding for agricultural products are a bit limited, there are still some investors that still see the huge opportunity in assisting the on-going growing agricultural market. Some, but not limited to Investors that can help include the following:-
- IDC – Industrial Development Corporation.
- DTI – Department of Trade and Industry.
- Gro Capital.
- Development Bank.
- Old Mutual.
- ABSA ; Agri Business.
- FNB Agriculture.
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