THERE are two startling questions that have been repeatedly thrown on me over time. One wants to know if am in it and the other one seeks to know if the agriculture is a worthwhile activity to immerse oneself in.
While the latter usually intends to know if am among those who preaches water and drink juice, the former seeks my honest guidance on whether one should get into agri-preneurship. Well, the latter question is the easiest one because it is an open-ended, you either do it or not, period.
The other one is a little bit tempting as it puts me in a position of wanting to see my agricultural enthusiast being imparted in everyone which is very wrong. The fact that I am a Medical Doctor doesn’t mean that everyone coming around me should have the same passion I have in spending sleepless nights attending to patients in hospital wards with joy.
Agri-preneurship has got a lot of things in common with several other ventures, but the difference is what needs to be keenly looked at. My experience in farming shows that the first thing one can honourably do is to have a market opinion – that is, knowing what exactly do the proposed consumers wants – which is nowadays becoming popular among Tanzanian youth.
While my first farming experience was more of trying to prove whether what I have been reading on books for years were valid which made me quick at digging deeper in my pocket, the question of investing in this venture cannot be taken for granted – you just have to do that if you are gravely interested in getting things done.
There is no bigger joy than realizing that seeds, fertilizer and machineries you bought have given fruits you laboured for, it is self-serving. But no, this do not mean that you need to gather a heap of cash to hit the ground running, because the word ‘capital’ means different things to different people, and it must be appreciated on that.
You just need to define your environment and assess what needs to be employed to get the wheels moving. When I was thinking of irrigating my field, a neighbour of me gave me a rather befitting idea.
Instead of searching for expensive irrigation pipes and hire a technician to connect them to a water source (which was literally inexistent), he advised me to use available littering plastic bottles, tie them to little supporting sticks placed near the plant and hang on them while dripping with water.
It didn’t materialize, not because of the badness of an idea but of my ineptness. But it taught me that I could still take initiatives based on the context and not what books said or what others are doing and still succeed.
This again solidifies an issue of environmental essence. There is no sector that is so prone to the surrounding climate than agriculture.
One can be assured of making progress on mining or construction sector whether it will rain or not, but not in agriculture, unless you have enough cash to install greenhouse facilities, you just have to depend on a mother nature to provide with you a required temperature.
While it is my wish to see so many join the sector, my insistence must always be at adhering to calculated risk taking as opposed to a common thinking that ‘you just need to till the land and put some seeds in it’, it won’t be worthwhile.
Providing enough time on it, anticipating the worst while taking the required caution whatever it is, is of high essence because, yes, to have a control on the factors that determines the fate of your venture is inevitable.
While we always insists on the need to consult the agriculture specialists and sometime we grow angry when their advisory don’t solve the problem, my plea is still the same, keep on consulting them.
But one thing is missing to many, go out there expecting to do a lot of mistakes and own them without passing the buck. Educationists agree on one thing, trial and error is best way of learning probably than all means touted. Just be bold enough to say to yourself, “the buck stops with me”.
This is how the greatest innovations that shook the world of agriculture were born.
The fact that those who came with those solutions were the same working in the sector tells a lot about the indispensability of learning from your past attempts especially when they resulted into disastrous outcomes. After doing the best on what is at your disposal then you don’t want to seat back and worry on the aftermath, just give it a try.
As it is taught in some other endeavours, we learn so much in failing than when we succeed, this venture is no different. No one has a monopoly of knowledge, we can all generate them as we tread the path and we must value that with passion.