Jhon Nick explains how starting a smallholder farming isn’t as hard as you might think. This is the first in a two-part article series.
What is smallholder farming? How do you define smallholder agriculture? It is defined as the cultivation of fruits, vegetables and other edible plants and flowers in a very limited area.
This could be your garden or your balcony or any small strip of land you own.
You can grow these types of produce even in pots or buckets or any other container you have.
Farming can be a long and difficult process, but when you start small, it’s not that difficult. If you have less land to work with, you will have to plant more densely, which means you will have to buy more seeds.
How to start a small farm? initial provisions:
Starting a farm in today’s world can be a daunting task. You may need to take care of your crops, animals, seeds, and livestock.
But the good news is that it’s not as difficult as you might think. You just have to guide yourself on the importance of your idea. It can be animal husbandry or green agriculture. Here are some tips for getting started in smallholder farming.
- Before you start your farm, make sure you have the resources to run your business.
- You will need funds to buy seeds and livestock, land to plant crops and raise animals, a water supply to water plants and clean animals, etc.
- Decide what type of farming would best suit your needs – whether large-scale commercial farming or small-scale backyard farming?
- Choose an area with fertile soil rich in organic matter where sunlight can reach all land.
To be successful in business, it takes more than a good idea. You need the will to do whatever it takes to succeed. So here are some ideas to get you started:
- Start small and grow. Don’t quit your day job or pour all your assets into the business until it proves profitable. Start by setting up a small operation, so you can test the market.
- Uses technological advances that make smallholder farming easier and more efficient. Some examples include drip irrigation systems, no-till farming techniques, and micro-hydroponic food production units that produce quality food for less money than traditional soil methods.
- Be an innovator when it comes to finding ways to reduce costs and increase profits in every way possible. Look for unique ways to improve efficiency and use smart business practices.
- Advertise your products in a creative way that will grab people’s attention, but isn’t too expensive or difficult to implement. Large-scale billboards in high-traffic areas might have been effective for larger businesses, but smaller operations don’t have the resources for such a campaign. Instead, try advertising on social media sites or handing out flyers at local farmers’ markets or at events where people gather for the same purpose.
- You can start with a small plant nursery from which you can earn money even if you have no experience with plants and gardening.
- You can start a business with your domestic poultry (chickens, ducks or geese), selling eggs and meat. The cost of equipment is very low, so it is easy to get started in this type of business.
- If you have a small amount of land, you can start a vegetable garden where you can source fresh vegetables and sell them in your area or at the local farmers’ market to earn extra money. This is one of the most popular ideas these days because we all want a healthy diet, but we find it difficult to find a lot of free time to garden and grow plants and vegetables in our busy lives.
- Use the principles of permaculture to build a sustainable small farm. Plant fruit trees and berry bushes.
- Grow high-yielding crops like potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, beets, and tomatoes.
- Plant cover crops and pasture grasses. Keep laying hens for fresh eggs and meat later.
- Have compost bins to recycle manure and kitchen scraps into valuable fertilizer.
- Grow flowers that attract beautiful honey bees and other pollinators.
- Plant fruit trees and berry bushes in your garden or orchard to attract birds which are natural pest controllers.
- Another best small farming idea for beginners is to invest in a few dairy goats if you find enough resources. Because it will bring you a double benefit in the form of milk and meat.
- Make sure you have tools that will help you with the above tasks like spades, hoes, rakes, etc.