Last Updated on 9 April 2022 by Gertrude
Growing up we grew potatoes on a 2-acre farm, had lots of kienyeji chickens and a kitchen garden.
I loved those weekends when mum dressed us up and went to the big farm.
We played around the farm and weeded or sometimes helped her plant the potatoes.
Everything we grew/planted, was huge.
We joke that our potatoes were as huge as heads – you don’t see potatoes that size these days.
Since then I have had the desire to become a farmer.
Farming these days is considered a fancy lifestyle where you ditch town/urban life to live life according to your terms.
They say that farming will be the next big investment in the world in 10 years. I agree.
Farms and farmers are going to get rich.
How do you turn a small 2-acre farm into a profitable business?
Do Kenyan farmers have an idea of how to become billion-dollar business owners?
Why do we call ourselves an agricultural nation yet we don’t have billion-dollar farmers like the US or the People’s Republic of China?
What are Kenyan farmers doing wrong and how can we correct this notion that farmers, people feeding 55 million people, are poor or cannot become wealthy?
In today’s article, we’re going to talk about farming as a business and everything you need to know about farming as a business.
There are many farming sub-topics we have to address – so, subscribe or don’t forget to keep reading these blog posts about farming.
You can also grab your farming lean business plan to get you started on your farm business no matter the size.
Is a Farming Business Profitable?
YES, farming is a profitable business.
The farming industry grows daily because people eat daily.
You can start a farming business as a side job or as a full-time job, depending on your availability.
What is a Farming Business and How Does it Work?
Farming business is a business you start to grow crops, breed livestock, distribute and sell them to make money.
Some call farming agribusiness.
As a farmer, you will be tilling the land or rearing farm animals after which you will sell your farm produce and make money.
You can sell your farm produce wholesale or in a retail/duka.
How Do I Start a Successful Farming Business?
The following is a step by step guide on how to start a farming business and the steps are:
- Why do you need to start a farm?
You need to ask yourself why. Is it because others are doing it?
Has farming been a life-long dream for you?
Your why will help drive you when farming becomes tougher.
2. Know what you want to produce
Decide what you want to do with a farming business.
Do you want to grow crops or rear farm animals?
You can choose to sell farming equipment as a farming business.
3. Register your business
Make sure you meet the necessary legal requirements and register your business with the local government.
Make sure you get the necessary licences and permits if you want to avoid your business being shut down or heavily fined.
4. Find a good location
You also want to find a good location to start your farming business.
It should be in an accessible space and one which is not subject to any zoning laws by the government.
You do not want to start your business somewhere and risk having yourself evicted because you did not observe zoning.
5. Find a need or a market
Before you go all out with a farming business establish the kind of market demographic you are going to serve.
Just because people daily doesn’t mean they will buy from you.
You need to fill a market need as a farmer.
So, ask yourself, what do you want to grow or keep in terms of plants or animals and do customers need the products?
6. Learn about the product
No farmer should plant or keep animals they don’t understand just because.
I have seen people diving into layers production without understanding how layers work.
Understanding your product means taking courses or time to learn and know the market and what customers need.
7. Talk to other farmers
Seek out other expert farmers and learn what it is they are doing in their business.
They will give you a few tips and pointers on how to run your farming business successfully.
Most farmers in Kenya will share their tips for farming if you pay them. Some won’t or will cheat you, beware.
8. Secure your startup capital
No one thinks of borrowing money to start a farming business.
Your business plan has to be detailed and organised and full of explanations about how to beat the competition or what your farm will do to stand out.
You have to spend time researching what crop or animal to grow and what the financial projections are.
Without financial projections knowledge, no one wants to fund a startup farmer – because farming is an extremely unpredictable venture.
9. Get help
The biggest headache for any farmer is how to get skilled labourers or people knowledgeable enough to work with.
You may have to spend a lot of time training your workers on how to manage your farm.
The notion in Kenya is that farmers aren’t schooled or organised to find workers that aren’t rough around the edges.
There are youths out there willing to work on farms who aren’t idlers or burglars. More youths realise that it’s not the office ONLY that’s supposed to employ them.
10. Identify a farming niche
If you thought niching out escapes you because you’re not a freelancer, then niching is here for farmers as well.
You have to ask yourself is your farm a hobby farm, a profit farm.
Will you grow animals and crops?
What animals or crops will you grow and how much will it cost you?
Remember, you cannot do everything.
Successful farmers start with ONE then grow and expand.
11. Farmers have business plans
I haven’t heard of farmers hyping about starting their businesses with a business plan.
A business plan guides you; helps you to hold your focus on what you want to do.
ABOUT THE FARMERS LEAN BUSINESS PLAN
Start working on your farming business plan by getting the lean business plan – to get published in another article, will provide the link on the Resources Page below.
12. Know your soil
Get people from the agriculture department to test your soil for you.
You cannot start growing crops without knowing your soil’s PH or whether you have sand, silt or clay or a combination of the three on your farm.
A lot of farmers undermine the importance of soil testing then they end up with failed crops, wasted time and profits.
13. Know your climate
You cannot control the weather as a farmer.
You cannot depend on the rain in this day and age as a farmer
There are other methods of farming that require soil only or recycling of water – get acquainted with technology to help know how to deal with those dry seasons.
14. You have to spend time preparing your farm
Spend time fertilising your land with compost.
15. Beware of a farmer’s startup costs
The startup costs of a farmer depend on the size of their operation. Some of the startup costs in a farming business include
Cooling and storing
16. Establish a business structure for your farming business for tax purposes
Will your business be a sole proprietor, an LLC, partnership (cooperative, corporation)? Each business structure has its advantages and disadvantages.
17. Build a brand
How does a farmer stand out in the tough competition of millions of other farmers?
Make your product unique/better than the rest.
You can pay attention to your marketing, your farming story, your packaging or the labelling of products.
Most farmers don’t even care about the presentation of their products to the market.
You can have a website and a social media presence in order to show the day to day life of a farmer and a farming business.
18. Learn how to expand
Because you started with a niche product as a farmer, ask yourself, what are the future goals?
What change do you need to bring and what does the change look like? What will you include in your growth plan as a farmer?
19. The biggest question about farming is how profitable is farming?
Farming isn’t a get rich scheme project.
To grow your business into a multi-billion dollar industry, you need to run your farm as a business – with patience, perseverance, innovation and opportunities/what the market misses.
What Will I Do in a Farming Business?
There are certain things that you will be doing on any typical day in a farming business.
It is good to know what you will be handling so that you do not fall short in your business activities.
- Planting and harvesting crops
- Cleaning and tending to livestock
- Selling your farm produce
- Other general handiwork
- Collecting farm produce; whether it is eggs, milk, vegetables, honey etc.
- Administrative duties
- Marketing your business
What Do I Need to Start a Farming Business?
This is what you need to start a Farming business.
- Farm tools and equipment
- Farm crops and animals
- Labour/ staff
- Business licence
What are the Expenses For Starting a Farming Business?
It is very important that you know the initial startup costs and the ongoing expenses that you will incur when you start a farming business. You do not want to end up falling short in your finances or budget for things that you do not need.
- Cost of tools and equipment
- Cost of farm crops and animals
- Licensing fees
- Employee salary
- Cost of buying new land
How Much Does it Cost to Start a Farming Business?
The amount of money it will cost you to start a farming business will depend on the nature of your business.
This is whether you will be farming and selling the farm produce or just selling them.
It is cost-efficient if you set up your own farm and start your farming business.
How Do I Make Money With a Farming Business?
With a farming business, you will make money by selling your farm produce to people who need them.
If you want to earn more money, you can diversify your farming business and provide a variety of products to your customers at a price.
How Much Should I Charge Customers as a Farmer?
The amount of money I charge my customers depends on the following factors.
- Competition. Look at what your competitors are charging for their farm produce and use that as the base for which you will price your products.
- Type of produce. Different farm produce will have different price ranges. For example, a litre of milk will cost differently from a jar of honey.
- Demand of produce
- Availability of produce. The dry season makes food expensive in Kenya and farmers increase their prices then.
How Much Money Can I Make With a Farming Business?
The amount of money you make with a farming business will depend on the number of clients you are serving and the bulk of orders you are getting.
That is why with a farming business, you need to channel all your efforts towards marketing and finding customers.
The more customers, the more money you get.
Farming business is a very lucrative business and in a good month, you can make Ksh. 40,000 or more just from welling your farm produce.
Legal Requirements For Starting a Farming Business
When you are starting a farming business, you have to make sure you are in full compliance with the law so that you will not end up paying heavy fines or get your business shut down.
These are the necessary permits and licences you need to start a farming business.
- Business licence
- Title deed
- Occupancy permit
What Skills Do I Need to Start a Farming Business?
There are certain skills and qualities that you need to have when you start a farming business.
Great farming business owners usually possess one, if not all of these traits.
Hone these skills to start a successful farming business.
- Adaptability. As a farmer, you need to be able to adapt and adjust to the changes in the environment. You will be working under uncertain weather conditions and you need to learn how to get past that.
- Problem-solving. As a farming business owner, you will be faced with problems that need you to think on your feet for a solution. For example, what would you do to minimise pest infestations?
- Organisation skills. Being organised is key to any farming business owner. You have to plan for the ploughing, planting, weeding and harvesting season effectively especially if you are planting crops.
- Health and physical stamina. Working on the farm can be hard, boring work, especially if you do not find passion in this trade. Make sure that you have the physical strength and are healthy before you take on this tedious work.
- Farm management. General farm management skills are needed to make sure things run smoothly in the farm and your overall farming business.
- Marketing skills. You have to know how to market your farm produce both online and offline if you want to reach more customers and sell more farm produce. I will talk about the different marketing strategies on the next topic.
Clear Ways on How To Promote a Farming Business?
The following are ways to promote a farming business and they include:
Bring quality farming products for people and build your brand through that.
Your first customer hypes you and your products to others.
You want to know your farming business is successful when your customers say, ‘Mama Kamau told me about your stall a few days ago and I thought I MUST give it a try”.
Any business without a website these days is setting itself up for failure.
Harsh but true.
More and more Kenyans are shopping online because they realise there are businesses online doing better than what the offline ones do.
A farmer’s website will have details like what you sell, do you deliver, your contacts, and what other things do you do on your farm like offering lessons to other farmers or consulting for farmers?
Use your website to create a blog/blog content.
You will earn passive or full-time income from your blog.
In your blog, you can feature articles like this one, ‘How to Start a Farming Business or How I Became a Millionaire Farmer”.
Your blog is a marketing tool that helps you get unique customers to your business.
The more customers you get, the more you learn what customers want and it becomes easier to market your farming business.
3. Social Media
Farmers are on social media these days showcasing their products.
Why aren’t you vlogging or blogging about your farm?
Your first customers are your ”friends’ on Facebook.
These friends spread the word out there about your farming business.
Plus, social media is a great way to tell customers what you sell and how you sell.
Telling your story helps you build your brand story and therefore your marketing story.
4. List your farming business on Google My Business
Listing your farming business on Google means your business is searchable.
People will buy from businesses that have Google reviews because they trust the opinions of others before them.
Connect with farming business owners, industry experts and participate in local and community events and meet new people.
Don’t forget to organise a farmer’s market where customers come to enjoy fresh produce from the farms.
If you don’t have a farmer’s market going on already, time to start telling other farmers to connect.
This is where the power of social media marketing comes in.
Advantages of Starting a Farming Business
These are some of the benefits of starting a farming business.
- You can diversify your business. As a farming business owner, you can get into a range of farming activities. This includes rearing animals or growing crops and then selling them to customers.
- High-profit margins. There is a high-profit margin involved in a farming business. You can make a lot of money from the sale of a given farm produce.
- High demand. Farm products are always in high demand. This is especially true because people depend on these products for consumption.
- Wider market. With a farming business, you get to serve people from all walks of life. Everyone is a potential customer. This should show you that you have a wide pool of customer range to pull from.
- You will also reap the benefits. As a farmer running a farming business, you will also get to enjoy the fruits of your labour and use them for food in your own home.
Disadvantages of Starting a Farming Business
These are the problems and challenges that you will face when you start a farming business.
- Harsh weather. As a farmer, you will have to keep up with the harsh weather conditions that can be uncertain at times. You need to know how to observe the climate in your area before you especially invest in any types of crops for your business.
- It is hard work. Farming is both a physical and mental activity. You need to have the stamina to withstand all these activities if you want to make it in your farming business.
- Pests and Diseases. Sometimes your livestock or crops can be affected by pests and diseases. You will end up going at a loss or spending lots of money to curb the infestation.
- High competition. There are a lot of agribusiness activities in Kenya. You will have to produce quality farm produce if you want to beat this competition and have a thriving farming business.
- Perishable products. Some farm produce goes bad quickly if they are not sold on time. This is not good for you especially if you cannot find customers fast.
Why Do Farmers and Farms Fail? Mistakes to Avoid in a Farming Business
It’s easy to fail as a farmer.
The following are mistakes to avoid in a farming business and they include:
- Not understanding the market
Like any business, a farmer must know what the market needs and work towards proving what they want to the market.
If you do not offer what the market wants in terms of variety and quality, you will end up being stuck with farm produce that is not selling.
2. Running your farm as a hobby and not a business
Hobbies steal your profits. Having a hobby isn’t a bad thing but you have to ask, why did you start farming?
3. Having no plan
If you do not have a plan for your farming business, you won’t know what to invest in and what not to.
You have to know how you will use your finances so that you don’t overinvest or underinvest.
4. Failure to market your farm produce
Without customers, your business fails to exist.
You have to thoroughly market your farming business in order to get customers who are interested in your products.
5. Not understanding who the buyer is
How can you sell a product without knowing who is buying it?
Most farmers don’t know where their customers are or will come from.
Or if they have an idea of where the customer will come from, it’s a general idea like this one, ‘WATU SI WANAKULA NA WATANUNUA TU”.
While this answer sounds optimistic, and I am here for the positivity, having general ideas don’t help you run a profitable farming business.
Ask yourself, who buys my products and why?
Where will I get these buyers from and how many are they?
What do my buyers want and how can I provide to them?
6. Not understanding what the market potential is
7. Not focusing on crops bringing in profit or cultivating too many crops
8. Not taking farming as a business
9. No time to monitor your business
You started your farm knowing you will get others to overlook the operations while you watch the sunset.
10. Not seeking knowledge to expand you and your farm
Why should a farmer learn or trouble themselves to acquire knowledge when all a farmer needs is rain?
11. No cash cushion
Don’t start a farming business when you’re broke.
Farms eat up your money, deaths of crops and animals occur endlessly and you cannot stop death.
Have money, a lot of money helps you expand and grow your farm.
12. Too much to do
Don’t start a farm where you work for dairy cows, broilers, layers, crops and flowers.
Start and do one thing at a time.
The more you learn about one thing as a farmer, the easier it becomes to enjoy farming.
13. The most fatal mistake farmers make is: Waiting for the product to grow instead of building a marketing strategy before even planting or at the organising stage
You want to build the anticipation of your product – that’s what customers buy – ANTICIPATION.
Telling your potential customers what you are doing and showing them via blogs or videos.
Take them behind the scenes – this way, they keep you in mind when they need certain produce or animal from you.
Farming Business Ideas
As I mentioned earlier, there is stiff competition in the farming industry.
You want to come up with a unique business idea in the farming line if you want to distinguish yourself from your competitors.
I will give you some best farming business ideas that you can try today.
Profitable Farming Businesses You Can Try Start
Here are some profitable farming business ideas that you should think about starting today.
- Dairy farming
- Fish farming
- Fruit farming
- Bull rearing
- Goat and sheep farming
- Animal feed production
- Poultry farming
- Pig farming
- Vegetable farming
- Duck farming
9 FAQs on Starting a Farming Business
- What’s the easiest profitable farm to start?
Any kind of farm is profitable as long as customers need your products.
The following are the easiest profitable farms to start and they include
Dual crop farming
Animal petting farm
2. How do you start a farm with no money?
You want a farm with no money using these strategies
Get experience from another farmer
Get the land
Learn and teach about farming
Get your animals young as they\re cheap
Never loan or borrow anything
Start a blog or YouTube channel talking about farming
Consult for farmers
3. Is it too late to become a farmer?
NO, it’s the right time to become a farmer -NOW.
4. How hard is it to get into farming?
Farming is hard work, time-consuming, takes responsibility and cannot get rich quickly if riches are what you’re chasing.
Farming also gives you time to stay in nature: farming is a lifestyle and like finding success working online, it takes time to see results.
5. Are farmers rich?
YES, farmers are rich. It depends on where you’re looking.
6. What skills do you need to be a farmer?
The following are skills a farmer needs and they include:
A healthy body
Excellent customer service
7. Is it hard to start a farm?
No, it’s not hard to start a farm. Making the farm profitable is the hardest part.
8. What type of farmers makes the most money?
All kinds of farmers make the most money. Where are you looking for inspirational farmers?
9. Can you make a living on a small farm?
Yes, you can make a living on a small farm.
10. What do you learn growing up on a farm?
The following are lessons you learn growing up on a farm and they include:
Learn to respect food – I don’t love it when others complain or throw away food.
Respect nature – I cannot stand it when I see others stepping on flower beds or trashing the environment
Life skills – because I saw mum working so hard for the potatoes, our chickens and vegetables.
I learnt that you MUST work for your dreams.
I also learnt to care for others and communication skills, when on the farm, our farm NEVER shouted but allowed us to explore.
She laughed more. Farming distresses you.
You become a problem solver
I learnt to handle the death of chickens and sometimes, potatoes theft.
Learn there’s more to life than the rat race.
Resources Related to Starting a Farming Business and Becoming a Billionaire
How to Start a Business Selling Farming Equipment in Kenya
How to Start a Farming Business Lean Business Plan PDF in Kenya
Agriculture is an important industry – WE EAT FOOD DAILY.
Farms provide entertainment and education.
Farmers can earn nothing or become billionaires.
The amount of money farmers make depends on the size of their farms and how they market their produce.
You can choose to farm produce, dairy, beef cattle, fish, flowers, trees for wood/furniture and speciality farms (chocolate farms, bee farms, cannabis, bonsai or vineyard).
You can choose to go into energy farming or farm for entertainment like with a petting zoo.
The farming industry keeps on thriving because people are growing and becoming more aware of the food they consume.
Expect farming to create more billionaires in the next 10 years.
The demand for farming services is high.
A farming business needs your dedication and commitment. You need to persevere as a farmer.
Don’t sit there waiting for rain – farming these days is more than offering sacrifices to the gods to appease them for rain.
Use the modern technologies to help you become and run a profitable farm.
Are you like me interested – blood boiling, want to start farming?
What makes you interested in farming?
Why do you love farming?
Are you a farmer?
I’d love to hear your stories (ups and downs) as a farmer in Kenya.