In the past, Zimbabwe was known as the African Food Basket, what a prestigious tittle. What happened to that, have we really failed in Agriculture and what needs to be done for us to regain that status? I believe it takes entrepreneurs to build economies and businesses so let’s see how entrepreneurs can re-build the Agricultural sector.
Develop an entrepreneurial mindset
To begin with we should develop and embrace an entrepreneurial mindset for us to regain the lost status. An entrepreneur is there to provide solutions, and find ways to make a business self-sustainable and profitable. Having this mindset means utilizing every resource at your disposal so as to generate revenue, explore more opportunities and produce at a large scale. An entrepreneurship mindset substitute the subsistence way of doing things that has led to under-utilization of land, low levels of production. To add on having an entrepreneurial mindset means reinvesting in the business for long-term profits. By reinvesting that means acquisition of new technology and infrastructure development. An entrepreneur has to guarantee sustainability of the Organization, even in his absence operations should continue as normal that means creating a strategic structure that is determined to achieve the Organization goals.
Make Research the Corner stone of your Ventures
Like in any business, research plays a pivotal role in agriculture as well. It should be part of the operational strategy to have a research team that can conduct market research, commodity price analysis and forecast, industrial development and develop new farming technologies. Commodity prices are volatile and in business you wouldn’t want to plant a crop you will be forced to harvest when it’s no longer returning, study the price trend and make projections each season. You would also need to keep up with your competitor that means you should always be updated on new industrial updates. Moreover, think outside the box, innovation exists in agriculture as well, your team should be able to develop new farming technologies that will contribute to high productivity and minimized risk.
We are heading towards the fourth industrial revolution and that leaves the Agricultural Sector with no option than to embrace technology. Technology makes information and services easily accessible and with platforms like Vaya, farmers can easily higher equipment. The same goes with upgrading or updating equipment. Technology contributes to more efficient operations hence it’s a necessity in most agricultural ventures.
Think of value addition
Value addition comes with a lot of opportunities some being food preservation, packaging and manufacturing. All this, means multiple streams of income for your business. Value addition also contributes to employment creation and national pride. I most of the times check the manufacturer of products I consume, and if it is made in Zimbabwe I feel so proud. Let’s add value to our farm produce, this will unlock international markets and instill pride of being associated with your brand to consumers.
Explore more Opportunities and Focus on the international market
There are a lot of opportunities in the Agricultural sector which varies from market gardening, rearing of animals only to mention a few. We are afraid to break new ground in plantations of Avocadoes, Macadamia Nuts and Tea. We should also consider exporting our produce to the international market, not relying most on South Africa that further exports the produce as well. Think diversification in animal husbandry, cattle fattening, poultry and meat processing, all these projects should be independent and self-sustaining.
Focus on Building a local supply chain
So as to retain our lost status, we should also focus on building and capacitating a local supply chain. A local supply chain makes resources easily accessible and terms can be easily negotiated. In building a competitive local supply chain, we can also serve the region. In agriculture we import fertilizers, chemical and equipment, only if these things were easily made accessible back home, we could easily attain our lost prestigious status.
Foster for cooperation
In order for us to regain our lost status, we should foster for cooperation within the agricultural sector. Farmers should frequently hold meetings and form cooperates with an aim for industrial growth through sharing of ideas, discuss pressing issues and come up with solutions to challenges. The same goes between farmers, suppliers and distributors. Cooperation between the market and farmers guarantees an optimum supply of produce.