Farming is not just farming. It’s also marketing. Already when selecting the crop to plant, take the market into consideration, my friend Yinka Adesola advises. ‘Farming is interesting. Learn the trick!’
A special report by Yinka Adesola
Grin grin, grin grin… That’s my phone.
‘Good afternoon madam’… From the other end.‘
Good afternoon sir’.
‘Please can you help get buyer for my five acre cassava?’
‘Ohhh sorry. I don’t know anyone’, I replied.
‘But you have experience in the farm?’‘Yes. I do for what I am growing’‘You are forced to sell’
You are forced to sell
One thing I have always emphasis is Market. I always tell participants on my farm that the first thing to do before committing nything to the soil is source for market. Not just one market, but several markets. One or two markets could mess you up.
Most general markets women take advantage of farmers. A farmer grows the crop, harvests and transports it to the market. There they will offer you some ridiculous price.Your dilemma is compounded when you grow perishable fruits and vegetables, such as tomatoes, cucumbers and anything with a short life span. The retailers know you dare not to take it back. Because it will cost you extra transport money. And because the value depreciates fast.Hence you are forced to sell.
So, when selecting the crop to plant, it’s advisable to put some things into consideration:
Does your crop have a second hand value?
This simply means: can you conserve or process it and still get a good price? For example: Eggplant, pepper, okra and maize can be dried. After that, the moment of selling is less important and the product still makes a better price.
Also cassava can be dried or processed. But most cassava farmers only consider selling fresh.
Is the crop marketable?
Marketable in my own term are products you can take to the market in bulk to sell by yourself. Don’t ever plant something that has little marketing window.
Let me tell you about my own experience. In 2015, I joined a group that grows cotton. Cotton is used for making cloths. I bought the seeds, the promise was to buy back from us. This seemed to be a good idea.
The cotton did fine. By 2016, towards harvesting, there was an issue between me and the coordinator. So I never harvested the cotton. Five acres of cotton went to waste. Sure you can imagine the debt I incurred.
Yeah. There was no alternative market to sell.
So I advise people never to plant cassava, unless the cassava processing factory is directly behind their farm, or the farmer intends processing himself.
My earliest foray into farm was a 20 hectare (50 acre) cassava farm that messed me up. Just like early this year when cassava was very scarce and expensive. Processing companies will wow you to cultivate for them to buy. Plenty farmers rushed in as we are witnessing now. By harvesting time the companies have more than they bargain for. So the price drops automatically.
You can’t afford not selling because you are hooked. Some are hooked on bank loans, some on cooperative funds, some on friends and family.
Only in a few cases will you see cassava display in the open market for sale.Cassava starts losing its value after 24 hours. I vouched then never to plant cassava again.
Now I am getting to know the trick. So I put down just a bit this year. I am not foolish enough to be calculating returns like I once did.
Farming is interesting. Learn the trick!