Improving production is the preoccupation of every ambitious farmer. Sustaining high production requires constant planning and hard work.
The farmer must be determinated to overcome any challenges whether they are about the weather or crop and animal diseases.
One important step to take is to use clean and improved seed and animal stock all the time. Improved seed and animals have been tested by breeders to be more productive.
Plant breeders take time to test the varieties for various challenges such as drought and disease. Planting such seed puts the farmer at an advantage.
The improved animals have been tested over time and proven to give higher yields. But keeping an improved animal is one thing and feeding it well is another.
To get the best results, the farmer must make sure that he or she has sufficient and nutritious feeds all the time for the animal. The farmer should also be prepared to carry out soil moisture conserving measures such as mulching and making trenches across the farm.
African farmers have been criticised for not applying fertiliser and not carrying out irrigation. Only about four per cent of Africa’s farm land is irrigated.
A number of low-cost irrigation technologies such as the treadle pump have been designed to suit smallholder farmers. A farmer keen on improving production ought to take advantage of such technologies and invest in simple rainwater tanks.
A farmer who works on naturally fertile soil has a very big advantage but all farmers must take measures to keep the soil well nourished and protected against erosion and other forms of degradation.
Our soil is a very important resource and Kenyan-born Harvard University professor Calestous Juma has written: “Careful design and implementation of this crucial agricultural asset will allow Africa to feed itself as well as to export food to the rest of the world.”
Some farmers specialise in growing one crop but it is also good to diversify production by planting a variety and keeping livestock. A coffee farmer may also grow bananas and keep poultry, or a diary cow, for instance.
From Daily Monitor