Land is a scarce resource at the moment in Kenya, Arable land is even more scarce. Agriculture majorly relies on the arable land and hence the dire need of planning. When people think of agribusiness, the first thing that comes into their minds is the picture of a shiny capsicum growing, For me, i think the first thing should be your market. Ask three people this question…. what farm product do you use daily? Start agribusiness then with any of the products in the answers!
There exists a need in physical planning of our spaces in the farm. Very few people do this but it is of great importance.
Reason for planning?
Planning is needed to reduce labor costs In many enterprises, such as dairying and fruit and vegetable production, labor represents 40 to 70 per cent of the cost of production. Regardless of the availability of labor in the future, wage rates are not likely to decline slowly, if at all. Now, more than ever before, farmers realize the need for planning and arrangement of their farm plant for efficient use and maximum returns from labor.
It enables the farmer to achieve his objectives in relation to his farm and family in a more organized manner.
Farm planning enables a careful examination of the existing resources and their best allocation.
It helps farmer to take decisions in relation to selection of crops, acerage under different crops and kind and number of live-stock to be maintained.
It helps the farmer to identify the input and credit needs.
It helps in estimating future cost and returns.
To have a best farm plan, some steps are needed to follow while farm planning is prepared. They are
1) Preparing the farm map: The general lay out of the farm, number and shape, irrigation channels can be shown in the farm map.
2) Recording the History of the Farm: It is very important to obtain the information pertaining to utilization of resources and their efficiency. What was the crop rotations followed previously, etc on the basis of this information planning in respect of crops to be grown, crop rotations to be followed; requirement of credit along with their sources etc can be possible.
3) Planning Bullock and Human Labour Requirement: Next a calendar of farm operations should be prepared and bullock and human labour requirements determined for different months. A labour schedule should be developed as to guide a farmer to appraise the amount of labour need in relation to the availability.
4) Planning the Land Use and Soil Conservation practices: When a full picture of the resources and their appraisal is obtained, the next step in farm planning is to adopt such practices which would lead to the best use of land. While planning the cropping scheme, due importance should be given for soil conservation. Therefore purposively crops and crop rotations need to be introducing a plan which will enhance soil conservation.
5) Planning Live stock Programme: Live stock and crop production is having supplementary relationship. The size of live stock depends upon size of farm, cropping intensity, availability of irrigation etc. If irrigation water is ample naturally cultivator can grow fodder crops through out year and he can maintain milch animals more.
6) Planning the Marketing of Produce: Only production is not sufficient to maximize the returns, good price for the produce is also important. Therefore, study of market conditions, prices etc. are essential to decide the time of selling. Similarly the agency through which marketing is to be done must be identified in view of getting maximum shares in consumers price.