Meru Agribusiness Expo; Arusha BC trains more than 400 farmers
Six organizations, namely Africa Agribusiness Academy Arusha BC, Meru farmers’ (representatives from farmers’ groups or cooperatives of Meru district), Fert, AgriProFocus, SNV, TAHA, ACT/TAP, locked heads to organize the Meru Agribusiness expo held in Kikatiti on 27 through to 29 October 2016. Their aim was to enable farmers to learn on the improved techniques and accessing proper inputs (both in terms of advices and physical inputs such as equipment, seeds and fertilizers), have better access to capital through financial services and have better access to information about market opportunities and market prices.
For farmers to meet their expectation, the Arusha Bc believed it to be a great idea if farmers would be equipped with knowledge that will push them to change from their normal ways of farming to ways that will enable them to become professional farmers and produce more and earn more.
Before being able to access inputs and financial assistances farmers should be equipped with knowledge and gain the ability to transform their farms to a business oriented practice. It is for this reason that AAA Arusha BC decided to carry out a training based on the initial stages (requirements) for this transition.
- Farmers need to be entrepreneurs. This will enable them to take challenges and turn them into opportunities. The trainer explained to 150 farmers that for them to be entrepreneurs they need to change their thinking and be more creative and eager to search for information, especially on market and good seeds. Emphasis was placed on how they can use little costs to earn more. Farmers need to know how to attract their customers and engage in farm integration as part of creativity and effective ways of getting more from small land.
Farmers were also reminded to do a self-analysis using the SWOT methodology. This will help them to understand what they are capable of, what they need to improve and to also understand the external environment, the opportunities and threat and being prepared for both.
- For farmers to be able to access funds they need proper record keeping of all their income and expenditures. Financial institutions fail to offer their services (loans) to farmers simply because they don’t have proper records that will make them eligible for their services. AAA trained farmers on the information need to be recorded and how to separate family and farm expenses. With this information farmers get to know their profit and loss of the season.
- Lastly, farmers were trained on farm financial management and its importance. At this stage the farmers were skilled on farm plans, farm policies on finance and budgeting. Farmers were reminded on ways to increase their capital using their own profits, how to know the cost of each step in farming and ways to minimize them.
If and when farmers follow these procedures it is assured that the agriculture trend will improve. The only way we can improve the livelihood of farmers is through assisting them in transforming their ways. Professional farming will enable them to get better markets, contracts and better products with quality and in quantity.