Farm­ers should tar­get ex­port mar­kets

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page -

predica­ment that makes ef­fi­cient agri­cul­tural fi­nan­cial plan­ning a daunt­ing task. The bond cost of pro­duc­tion writ­ten to­day on a fi­nan­cial plan may not be the same to­mor­row. So, how does the farmer progress in this en­vi­ron­ment?

The agri­cul­tural chain in­volves many play­ers: farm labour­ers; seedling sup­pli­ers and sell­ers; poul­try chick and live­stock sell­ers; fuel sup­pli­ers; feed, fer­tiliser and chem­i­cal (an­tibi­otics, dis­in­fec­tants, her­bi­cides, fungi­cides, vac­cine) pro­duc­ers and sell­ers; ma­chin­ery and equip­ment man­u­fac­tur­ers, distrib­u­tors and sell­ers; agri-prod­uct pro­ces­sors and pack­agers and the cus­tomers who will buy the pro­duce. We are all a part of the chain.

In the cur­rent en­vi­ron­ment the best way to farm would be for farm­ers to be in­volved in col­lec­tive farm­ing; in­creas­ing par­tic­i­pa­tion in sup­ply­ing the ex­port mar­ket with pro­duce and for our Govern­ment or for­eign gov­ern­ments to as­sist the Zim­bab­wean agri­cul­tural sec­tor with a sub­sidy fund to keep farm­ers afloat.

Ac­cord­ing to Joss Rose, an econ­o­mist, col­lec­tive farm­ing is when a group of farm­ers pool their cap­i­tal, land, do­mes­tic an­i­mals, and agri­cul­tural im­ple­ments, re­tain­ing all as pri­vate prop­erty enough only for the mem­bers’ own re­quire­ments. The profits of the farm are di­vided among its mem­bers. Farm­ing in such a man­ner per­mits es­pe­cially in­dige­nous farm­ers fac­ing cap­i­tal short­ages to be able to pro­duce crops/an­i­mals by util­is­ing their com­bined funds and mar­ket pen­e­tra­tion be­comes eas­ier as they have a larger pool of mar­ket data, ad­vice and ex­per­tise for their pro­duc­tion and sup­ply process.

A com­pany can be reg­is­tered for this pur­pose and Mem­o­ran­dums of Un­der­stand­ing can be mu­tu­ally agreed and signed to clearly de­fine com­pany ad­min­is­tra­tion, func­tion­al­ity and profit and loss shar­ing.

Tar­get­ing ex­ports mar­kets would as­sist farm­ers ob­tain the much needed for­eign cur­rency and si­mul­ta­ne­ously keep­ing them afloat. Sadly most farm­ers are un­will­ing or un­able to com­ply with for­eign mar­ket con­tract farm­ing re­quire­ments and if for­eign cap­i­tal was avail­able that re­quired col­lat­eral many Zim­bab­wean farm­ers would still not be able to se­cure fund­ing. When the econ­omy was sta­ble many failed to ob­tain lo­cal cap­i­tal due to var­i­ous rea­sons.

Ob­tain­ing ex­act data on for­eign mar­kets is a gen­er­ally te­dious af­fair and most farm­ers fail be­fore they even start re­search. Only when farm­ers de­sire and strive to be com­mer­cially and fi­nan­cially pro­duc­tive can they par­tic­i­pate in sup­ply­ing for­eign mar­kets. It is a wor­thy af­fair. If the Zim­bab­wean agri­cul­tural mar­kets were sta­ble or if sta­bil­ity is at­tained es­pe­cially when it comes to prices it would be quite plau­si­ble for our Govern­ment or for­eign gov­ern­ments to as­sist our agri­cul­tural sec­tor by sub­si­dis­ing farm­ers.

With the cur­rent per­for­mance of the econ­omy, agri­cul­tural sub­si­dies would go a long way is boost­ing pro­duc­tion. Ac­cord­ing to In­vesto­pe­dia an in­dige­nous or for­eign sub­sidy for agri­cul­ture is a govern­ment in­cen­tive paid to agribusi­nesses, agri­cul­tural or­ga­ni­za­tions and farm­ers to sup­ple­ment their in­come, man­age the sup­ply of agri­cul­tural com­modi­ties and in­flu­ence the cost and sup­ply of such com­modi­ties.

Such a fa­cil­ity can only be avail­able and func­tional if the econ­omy and the in­dige­nous mar­ket is sta­ble. Our econ­omy once fell and rose, and it will rise again. Hi­lary Hin­ton “Zig” Ziglar, an Amer­i­can au­thor said, “When you catch a glimpse of your po­ten­tial, that’s when pas­sion is born.” The mo­ment pas­sion­ate Zim­bab­wean farm­ers truly re­alise, ac­knowl­edge and de­cide to cap­i­talise on the fi­nan­cial value of our land, our agri­cul­tural sec­tor will truly boom.

l The writer is En­gi­neer Ta­puwa Jus­tice Mashangwa, CEO Emer­ald Agribusi­ness Con­sul­tancy lo­cated in Bu­l­awayo. He can be con­tacted on +263 771 641 714 and email: [email protected] <mailto:tj. [email protected]>

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