Farming and Selling are arguably one of the two most important processes involved in Agriculture. Everything involved in the demand and supply chain in agriculture hinges on the effectiveness of farming and selling. When there is a demand for certain kinds of crops or animal produce, farming is the only way to create the possibility of such demands being met; and what makes this possibility to become a reality is the effectiveness of marketing and sales.
While farming and selling cut across all categories of farm products, the processes involved in each of them may slightly vary across products. The principles remain the same, but the applications are different and individualized. For instance, the way farming of poultry products is carried out is totally different from the way vegetables are farmed, even though both processes are regarded as ‘farming’.
We shall explore the nitty-gritty involved in the farming and selling of the following agricultural products: Soya, and Goats/Rams.
Soya bean (also called ‘Soya’ or Soyabean’) is a leguminous pea-like crop that is grown in many parts of the world. It was first cultivated in China since as far back as the 11th Century and has now found favorable habitat in other parts of Asia and Africa.
Soya bean is filled with essential nutrients and minerals. It consists of protein, carbohydrates, and fiber. It also contains fats and oil, making it one great source of hygienic oil for consumption. Interestingly, soybean is not difficult to cultivate. In addition, they take only between 100 and 150 days post-planting to be ready for harvesting. This means that, with the right amount of investment, labour and techniques, one can actually plant and harvest soya bean 3-4 times in a single year; especially when there is high demand, and the marketing and supply mechanisms are optimized.
Protein deficiency is very common in Africa, largely due to the high cost of animal protein. In Nigeria and many parts of sub-Saharan Africa, malnutrition is very common, and soya bean provides a relatively inexpensive option for providing quality protein, compared to eggs and meat. Herein lies a great chance for income and impact, as there is a great demand for alternative sources of protein to meet human dietary requirements on a large scale. By-products of soya bean also have high commercial value. For instance, one popular by-product, like soybean cake, is in high demand as animal feed in several parts of the world. This is because it is high in protein and relatively inexpensive to obtain, compared to other protein and animal feed sources.
According to official trade statistics, over 200 million tonnes of soybean was produced in Africa as of 2005, of which nearly 2 million came from Africa alone. The continent exports an estimated 20,000 tonnes of soya beans every year, and this figure is expected to increase significantly over the next five years. The demand for soya bean is indeed rising! Every year, more than 11 million tonnes of soybean is consumed globally; and this figure is expected to increase in the years ahead, due to more research knowledge about the incredible usefulness of soya bean.
Interestingly, Nigeria happens to be the largest producer of soybean in the whole of sub-Saharan Africa. Even with the bottlenecks presented by shortage of fertilizer, funding, and inconsistent government policies, soya bean production has not declined. This is because; demand has been sustained and intensified over the last few years, due to an increased emphasis on the production and use of locally-made food products and the exploration of indigenous approaches to fulfilling daily dietary requirements, as opposed to importing foreign food products.
GOATS AND RAMS
Goats and Rams are one of the most-reared animals in Nigeria and several other parts of sub-Saharan Africa. To a large extent, it is not far from truth regard them as ‘ceremonial animals’, not because they are celebrated regularly but because they are majorly used in making delicacies for religious feasts and ceremonies. On the contrary, many individuals in North America and Europe keep such animals as pets, often giving them sweet names, dressing them up like humans, and cuddling them as though they were fellow humans.
In Africa, goat and ram rearing is a lucrative enterprise. Farming them requires minimal difficulty, but places a demand on the farmer’s ability to adapt to stress and the often unpleasant idiosyncrasies of the animals.
For farming goats and/or rams, first, you need an open space that is wide enough for the animals to loiter around, feed, and play without undue restrictions. This is essential because, like humans, packing them in enclosed spaces without proper ventilation, hygiene, and sanitation for too long makes them prone to infections, bone and health problems, suffocation, and eventual death.
Afterward, you need a steady supply of forage and water to water the animals. Then you need the animals themselves. Many goat farmers prefer to raise their Goats right from when they are born, while some others purchase tender or grown goats to start their rearing. Ultimately, your preferences and disposition will determine which style you choose.
The process of selling goats or rams is equally great and rewarding if only the principles are obeyed.
• Firstly, you must understand their market value. Never put a farm product on sale for an amount that you assume is right, or based on your efforts in rearing. Chances are that you may overprice it and risk losing customers, or underprice it and lose huge profit. Always do a market survey to find the right prices for your goods, and stick to it religiously, unless prompted to compromise by special circumstances.
• Secondly, seek to understand the demand and supply mechanics for the goat and ram market. One of such mechanics is the season of high and low demand. In Nigeria, for instance, goats and rams are in high demand during festive seasons, like during Christmas and New Year. Because of this, prices of goats and rams may nearly double. However, if you check back during January or mid-February, and it may appear as if goats and rams are being avoided by all. At such times, the prices crash drastically, due to low demand. However, as the next festive season approaches, the prices begin to increase gradually again. Failing to understand these mechanics and others will undermine the profitability of your venture.
• Thirdly, Prepare for demand. When the next peak demand season is approaching, begin to engage your marketing strategies to get customers and buyers. When the time for delivery also comes, ensure that you deliver more than what you promise, as a token to secure the interest of your clients next time.
For all intents and purposes, please note that, concerning Soya bean and Goats/Rams, the processes and involved in farming and selling of both discussed here are not exhaustive. There are many other approaches involved that could also get the farmer the intended results. Nonetheless, these were discussed for the sake of information and learning.