In recent times, we have focused more on and are celebrating agriculture in our nation Nigeria, a country whose primary goods-producing sector is agriculture. This sector and the people in this industry rely on the earth, plants and animals to support their families and nation as a whole. Agriculture has evolved over the years and gets bigger as the years go by, therefore people in his sector has to keep up with the pace for more productivity.
As the nation grows in population, there’s no surprise at the alarming statistics of people to be fed in the country today as compared to the last five decades and not to talk of the foreign trade exchange for national income revenue. Hopefully, the recent government is adapting and encouraging the sector and also, it’s quite fortunate that the young generation is developing an inclination towards agriculture and with the technology and innovation, they are encouraged to explore. A nation where the viable young generation is interested in agriculture, and farmers have the knowledge, tools and technology to grow and raise safe, healthy and affordable food for her people and enough to export, such is an agriculturally successful country.
Today’s farming is big business, not the simple lifestyle our forefathers and grandparents grew up with; there’s a lot involved. However, as it is said, ‘with great power comes great responsibility’. In the days of our fore fathers, the little they had was just enough to feed on as a family. The world is getting bigger by the day and a lot has happened in form of development, and you will agree with me that the population has drastically increased and also, science and technology happened to our world. It’s way more than having a farmland, planting and harvesting or breeding animals for family consumption. Today’s farming is more commercialized, a big business where lots of hectares are used for farming, then to processing and packaging and its marketability to the final consumers.
Farming is so big that one can’t explore all its content, from crop production which consists of different types of crops (cereal or grain crops, root and tuber crops, legumes, oil crops, vegetable crops, fibre crops, sugar crops, forage crops, rubber/latex crops and beverage crops etc.) to animal husbandry (livestock: poultry, snail, pig, rabbit, grass cutter, fish, goat, cows, etc). Then, you talk about the different value chains such as processing and packaging.
Being a very successful farmer takes lots of sacrifices; huge sacrifices of your time and energy. You have to consistently try to catch up with the pace and learn constantly from others through consultation or different agriculture sites and your own personal experience; you can only get better when you do something consistently. There is every tendency (especially when you are just beginning to get tired of a particular aspect of farming) to decide to jump from one thing to another. When I first started my poultry, I started with layers, I wasn’t breaking even, so I decided to breed broilers. Yes, I wasn’t patient enough so I jumped into breeding a day-old cockerels (roosters). Consistency and paying your dues is one of the ways to succeed as a farmer.
However, farming being a big business with a big heart simply goes to say, farming is no small business you can dabble into without learning the skills first or you pay dearly with your investment. Also, a successful farmer must have a big heart because of the sacrifices it entails and most importantly, you are first a human before being a farmer. You are first a father, mother, uncle, aunt, citizen of a country before you are a farmer. In other words, you owe it to yourself to do it right and not cut corners at the expense of people who are the final consumers of your product. We live in the age of science and technology, where information travels far and wide and everyone has access to the latest diet craze or scientific study. Unfortunately, some will rather use this information in an unethical way. I have heard of a few farmers who don’t feed their family with their farm produce simply because of the way they farm. They can’t afford to bring harm to their family through their farm produce but don’t hesitate to sell it off to others. There are lots of unethical ways crops and livestock are produced. Some excuse it because it brings more profit but I dare say, that doesn’t make a farmer successful.
Successful farmers painstakingly go through the right way even if it takes more time and energy which is a lot sacrifice to provide their consumers the best there can ever be. The interesting twist to this unethical conduct though is: more money could be generated by cutting corners but people like that don’t remain in business, integrity thrives in farming business because its food consumption and once a farmer’s integrity is questioned, it’s really hard to remain in the business. A farmer who produces safe and affordable food to his family and community with a lot of sacrifices that will pay off at the end of the day is a successful farmer and more so because of its humane character.