POST COVID 19 LIFE: 5 THINGS EVERY FARMER MUST KNOW
2021 - Debbywryte
If there is anyone lesson everyone should take away from the happenings of recent times, it is that one is never really prepared for anything! This is not to underplay the role of preparation, on the contrary, what I intend to achieve in this post is to encourage you to prepare for what's ahead.
The outbreak of coronavirus in the first quarter of 2020 altered a lot of things in the field of agriculture. The terrain of farming is now rapidly changing and any farmer who intends to survive this ordeal must take into cognizance the changes that have occurred and how best to position their farms to make the best out of the worst. Here's a quick list of five things you can do to come out standing strong.
DOUBLE UP PRODUCTION
I know this sounds crazy but stay with me and I will explain the rationale for this advice. Things have been pretty tough for farmers on the sales front for the reasons discussed here. The fact however is that people must eat! You must take a positive outlook on production activities on your farm because like it or not, Christmas is on its way already. Forget Corona, people will find different creative ways to celebrate Christmas and all the end of the year festivities even if the pandemic doesn't ease up. You have to be prepared to seize the opportunity looming ahead, by picking up your farm tools and getting down to work.
Now, this is almost laughable and maybe the suggestion is not for you but then again, who knows? You see, the crisis period is one of the best times to acquire assets. Resources are obviously constrained and many people have sunk deeper in debts and are looking for any way out. As of now, many Farm businesses are folding up due to irrecoverable losses and for other reasons. If your business has managed to survive the impact of the pandemic with little or no damage, you should consider buying up equipment and properties that are up for sale. One advantage of buying now is that these assets will usually go for less than they cost as a result of the financial distress fueling the sales. This is the time to make very wise investments that will positively tell on your business, a few years down the line.
In line with the above point, you must also begin to explore ways in which technology can boost or accelerate your sales. It is not just enough to make plans to produce ahead of the years' festivities, you must also strategize on how to get the goods to your customers beyond your immediate environment. Furthermore, if you live far away from your farm there's the possibility that you will have to depend on your farm staff to keep you informed about everything that goes on the farm. There's not a better time than now, to tap into the power of digital farm management. Apps like Farmgod.org will put your mind at ease and help you make important decisions wisely and on time. Check here to see other ways the Farmgod app can help you as a farmer.
The bitter fact is that many farmers have incurred devastating losses in this period. As a matter of fact, some farmers have arrived at the 'reasonable' conclusion that farming is not for them. If you are however part of the group of farmers who have refused to throw in the shovel, the question on your mind may be 'how do I recover my losses?'
At this point in time, accessing loans will be extra difficult, given the general status of the economy. You may also be skeptical about piling on more debts -and that's some good skepticism. Thankfully taking a loan is not the only option you have. You should begin to consider alternate forms of funding or financing. It's not out of place, for example, to leverage on the relationships you have built over time for support. You should as well use your creditworthiness to get farm inputs and supplies on credit which you will pay for from the sales of your farm produce during periods of high demand. Also, take advantage of all government grants and company donations that have been made available to cushion the effect of the pandemic on businesses.
In addition to finding alternative financing, you must look inwards because you cannot afford to lose any money under any guise in this period. It is necessary for you to rejig your entire farm operations and block off areas where you have been losing money either from poor farm management practices, incompetent and unscrupulous staff, or poor equipment and infrastructure, etc. Go through your farm account and record books and decide what operations are essential and what is simply luxury. Desperate times call for desperate measures.
In the coming months, your farm business will be faced with the question of 'success or survival?'. The answer you provide will be dependent on a lot of things, especially how badly you have been hit by the pandemic. Take your time to brainstorm and prepare for what's ahead. Remember, once bitten twice shy. If COVID 19 took you by surprise, post-Covid should not meet you unprepared.
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