Small-scale farmers – preparing for unity

Small-scale farmers have a role to play in the modern economy, but they must first get their act together.

Emerging farmers can help themselves by joining forces with similar operations and value chains, says Nico Groenewald, Standard Bank’s head of agribusiness.

“Working with other farmers within producer organisations gives them collective power that will help to protect and advance their farming interests.

“[But] before involving other farmers, it’s important for a small-scale farmer to make sure that what they are doing right now in their operations is excellent. Involving more farmers means growth. Growth based on a flawed operation will fail. Small-scale farmers should therefore strive for excellence before going big.”

Standard Bank’s advice to small-scale farmers to improve efficiency is to apply the following approach:

  • Plan properly, so that your path to success is clear. Do research and gain knowledge.
  • Break down the project into separate steps so that you can achieve consistent success.
  • Understand which 20% of your activities will give you 80% of your output.
  • Do the difficult tasks first. That way, every project becomes progressively easier.
  • Measure and record each production factor on your farm in relation to output and to each another. Then compare your results with industry standards.
  • Ensure your production activities complement, rather than work against, the natural processes on your farm.
  • Actively seek out new technologies that can improve the performance of your business.