If you pay close attention to media in recent time, there has been so much motivation and encouragement from various governments and individuals, advising the unemployed youths in Africa to look at Agriculture and farming as solution to the unemployment problem.
What is my opinion about this?
Well, I think the first two important things we should tell our unemployed population are usually omitted, why becoming a farmer is the third thing.
Before going further, what is Agriculture?
Wikipedia defines Agriculture as “cultivation of animals, plant, fungi, and other life forms for food, fiber, bio fuel, medicinal and other products used to sustain and enhance human life”
From the above definition, we can see that farming can be grouped into two major division: planting of crops, flowers etc and rearing of animals.
We`ll discuss more on that later.
As I said earlier, there are two important things we should tell African youths, even before advising them to become farmers.
What are those first two important things?
First, we have to let our unemployed youths see farming and agriculture as business. Yes, business not a dirty thing.
What happens is that whenever you mention “agriculture”, the picture that appears in the brain of an average African is the picture of his grandfather holding a cutlass or the picture of his father struggling in a cacao farm.
He hates this picture, so he resists any idea of becoming a farmer.
The first thing we have to do, if truly we want our unemployed population to venture into farming is to re-orientate them as per what agriculture is… in the modern world.
In the modern world, farming is business.
My father was a cacao farmer. I spent my first 11/12 years in a cocoa farm. I later moved to town with my mother and I continued following my father to his farms (other corn and cassava farms he had in the town).
I know what it means, so if anyone suggests the idea of living like my father, I will resist the idea.
But you see, things have changed so much. Farming has been modernized and you can now become a millionaire as agricultural entrepreneur.
I will explain more about this later.
The second thing I think we should do is to sensitize our unemployed youths the importance of entrepreneurial skill … if they want to succeed in agriculture business.
Entrepreneurial skills to become successful as a farmer? Yes.
You see, our grandfathers needed not to be business-minded when they were farmers. All they had to do was to plant their cocoa, corn or yam. All they had to do was to rear their cattle and sell them.
But in our days, because we are trying to progress from a small scale farming to a mechanized, commercialized farming, then, business skills is very important.
This is my call to you my fellow African… seek to acquire business and financial education.
If you`re well educated, you can get into agric business and any other business and become successful.
When I mention education above, let no one confuse my statement for formal education. Formal education has done more harm for us than good.
At a time when our youths should be learning how to be business owners, school cages them in a prison they call university and works hard to brainwash them about life and “good job”.
I have said it probably more than one thousand time that I hate school and the reason is simple… if school is truly a place where children are prepared for life, school should have stopped teaching children how to get job since 30-40 years ago.
Since there are no more “good jobs” for our graduates, isn`t it stupid that school continues teaching every child how to be employee?
If you understand this you will hate school more than I do.
Whenever I talk about education, you can be sure I am not talking about school. I don`t believe school is giving the right kind of education we need in the 21 century.
If I want to consider how wrong the school is, I will advise that we should kill all our universities, polytechnics and colleges and create better institutions that will be designed to teach our coming generation to be strong, visionary and independent.
The present school system was designed to train children to be kind, gentle and obedient to their boss.
You`re not trained to be independent, strong or visionary.
You were never told that life is hard and you must be hard. You were never told that your life is not in the hand of your parent, employer or government. You were never trained human relationship, leadership or entrepreneurship … except maybe in theory.
The kind of education our present school system gives is good only in the 19 century.
I want to see more independent, strong, visionary, rugged youth entrepreneurs in Africa. The best way we can achieve this is by motivating our continent men to seek financial and business education by reading books written by successful business owners and experts.
If the above two advice are well understood by our unemployed youths, then, we can give the third one which is about going into agriculture… as business.
How profitable is Agriculture business?
This is just as complex as asking, how profitable is clothing business, cement business or real estate business. The right answer is… it`s all about you.
It`s all about who you are and what you know about business and how to make it profitable.
As we wrote in our tutorial about business opportunities, business world is not a place where 1+1=2. 1+1 can be 11 for someone and the same 1+1 can be 22 for another person. That`s why I said… it`s all about you.
The best way to improve your outcome and achieve something meaningful with your intending agric business is to educate yourself in the area of farming you`re planning to go into, and most importantly, about business world as a whole.
The reason why I said this is because, though you may have some huge capital and go into agric business today, you will have to deal with employees which requires great leadership skills.
You will have to deal with some suppliers somewhere which has to do with human relationship and negotiation skills. You will have to deal with customers and the market place which is where the biggest work is.
This will require that you know some things (or a lot of things) about marketing, branding and market positioning.
Whenever I see Africans going into business as though it`s a mere buying and selling, my heart bleeds.
Business is NOT buying and selling. If it were, everybody would have been millionaire. Business is an art. It has to be studied and understood.
Who on earth will want to become a lawyer without planning to read some (a lot of) books? Who will want to be a medical doctor without planning to read some (a lot of) books? Why then do people think they can be successful in business without reading or studying about business?
Let me give you my last advises (ounch, bad English).
First, decide which area of Agric business you`ll love to venture into. Is it planting of crops or rearing of animals?
Second, if you love poultry business read this tutorial about poultry business.
Third, see farming as a business, not a dirty thing. Educate yourself by reading some good business and financial books. Read all the tutorials we have written for you on this website. Get our free business training here.
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