A BRIEF BUSINESS PLAN FOR THOSE WHO WISH TO START SMALL SCALE AVOCADO OR MACADAMIA FARMING OR ANY OTHER FARMING WHATSOEVER

FIRST OF ALL LETS ME EXPLAIN WHAT IS A BUSINESS PLAN? A written document describing the nature of the business, the sales and marketing strategy, and the financial background, and containing a projected profit and loss statement. A business plan is also a road map that provides directions so a business can plan its future and helps it avoid bumps in the road. But before anything else …ask yourself …do I have PASSION in whatever I want to do. If YES continue if NO think of something else.

  • Business plan for farming is not different from other businesses and could be a good tool to help you plan for your farming business. In most cases it’s also a requirement of securing grants and loans from Sacco’s, banks and also donors.
  • The process of writing one may be seen as overwhelming and intimidating at first, but when broken down, it becomes easy to manage and write. You can’t just wake up one day and decide to go and by Hass avocado seedlings, macadamia seedlingsmangoe seedlings or passion fruit seedlings, Tree tomatoe seedlings and other trending agribusiness ventures just because you saw it on Facebook ,Instagram or any other online source…or just someone you saw on T.v or YouTube is doing it successfully….A business plan is a roadmap for your farming business venture.
  • During the process of writing one, you will need to develop an inclusive vision and mission for your business. You are required to think about both short term and long-term goals. You will define the major steps required to achieve your goals. You will also set the direction for your business to grow over the next five years.

Mission Statement

A mission statement is a guiding light for your farm. Here the size doesn’t matter. How can you expect to grow if you don’t know what it is you actually want to achieve? A mission statement tells someone not familiar with your business who you are and what you do, while the vision statement takes a look at the big picture and what you want to achieve.

Both of these statements are achieved by sticking to your farm or businesses core values. This should be beyond making money. Your mission statement should be based on your values and your core identity as a small farm.

Goals

These should be specific, measurable, things that you might achieve with your small or big farm. Short term goals are considered to take shorter than one year while long-term goals take more than a year to accomplish. Smart Goals are:

  1. Specific – what am I planting avocado or macadamia or both
  2. Measurable – how many do I want and what is the size of my land
  3. Attainable – do I have the cash needed to start
  4. Rewarding – do my business have economic sense
  5. Timeline – how long will it take
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Remember that fruit tree farming like avocado and macadamia is a long term investment. You should have the following in the back of your mind

  • What type of farm/business is it? Livestock, grain, forage or hay, vegetable, greenhouse, diversified operation, etc. Break it down further by listing species raised or type of trees.. Is it hass or fuerte for avocados or is it Muranga 20, Kiambu, or Embu Macadamia varieties?
  • Select words that describe your farm practice: Conventional meaning use of chemicals and fertilizer or organic meaning use of home based manure and traditional control of pests.
  • How will you sell your product? Direct retail sales, wholesale, by this you can sign a contract with major exporters like Kakuzi and Kenya nut among many others.
  • What do you want your farm to be known for? Make your farm unique. Why should customers choose you? Is it for freshness, quality, service, honesty, integrity, progressive, etc.
  • Background Information: In this area of your business plan, take account of what you have right now. These might include;
  • The area of land that you are farming: This will help to know the number of trees you intend to plant and the measurement. For avocados it stars with high density of 5m by 5m to low density of 7m by 7m.for macadamia it starts with 7m by 7m and above. This depends on whether you plan to plant any other crops in the same land…remember these are trees like any other and they grow very fast and huge, so proper and timely pruning is vital to control the growth for better management..
  • When do you begin farming?…This also depends on the type of farming. If its irrigation or rain dependent. If you have permanent source of water you can plant any time
  • The location of the land and if the soil is suitable for you trees…I assume you will have done soil tests which will cost less that 2000Kshs in some places… this will enable you to know the nutrients required by the trees..
  • Do farm visits to farms and farmers who practicing this kind of farming. Travel far and wide…Visit show grounds and farmers open days this will enable you to have a practical knowledge needed in the management of your trees…network with as many farmers, agronomist and all those in the chain like exporters, fruit seedlings merchants like Farmers Trend, agro vets owners and manufacturers of various products needed in farm.

Farm Strategy

This is where your business plan gets to looking forward. You are going to formulate your farm strategy from now into the next five years or so.

You will need to gather information and research markets. Make sure that your farm plan fits into the general market in terms of supply and demand. Investigate and analyze industry trends, identify competitors, and define buyers.

Another requirement is a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis. This is an analytical tool that can be used in making decisions. Guys have the assumption that these things are for big farms ….even with your twenty well taken care of trees requires strategy…always have thank inner force that is driving you. Regardless of the difficulties find that one thing that ignites your urge to succeed.

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Marketing Plan and Strategy

You need to develop and outline a marketing strategy for your products and services. This can build on the research you did in the previous step. For each product, include price, placement, and promotion ideas.

Make use of social media positively…post your progress and your products for potential customers. Join groups with similar projects. Let people identify you with your product. Don’t be ashamed to ask for advice when things go wrong…it’s better to start and fail than not trying at all…there is power in social media. It is the best place for networking

Management Summary

This part of your business plan details your farm business’ structure. Everyone who is involved in the management of the business should be listed here. External resources are listed here as well. This includes you. The care taker of your project,. The agronomist and others involved.

Financial Analysis

This is the most important in the whole project. Guys often ignore it. You will need to detail the financial aspect of your farming operation. List your current finances in detail, including all income and operating expenses.

Referring to your new strategy, you will forecast what is needed for future growth and to meet the goals you have outlined in terms of capital. Include what your future operating expenses will be.

Here you list all the expenses from the day you thought of the project. May be you travelled to show grounds and farmers open days.

The cost of seedlings which starts from 150 t0 300sh for avocados and 250 to 400 for macadamia. But remember to go for the best and certified trees from nurseries (0790-509684)…cheap is always expensive. Just imagine waiting for three years for a tree to produce only to find out it wasn’t the one. Then there is the issue of manure and fertilizers for those who choose organic or conventional type of farming.

Most of the works in the farm can be done by you. You get the experience from farm visits and you implement it in your own farm.

Record keeping is also important as it helps to keep track on your spending so as you know your value. It makes work harder to safeguard your investments.

Conclusion

Remember a dream without a plan is just a wish. The best time to start is now

People view a business plan as a big project or something for the elite. Don’t be put off by that, your plan can be as simple as it needs to be. Begin with your mission statement and goals. Do your homework by analyzing markets and researching competitors and trends. Don’t be discouraged by those who are all over hoping for the down fall of farming…remember the world population increases by almost 50million daily…REMEMBER*** …**A FARMER HAS TO BE AN OPTIMIST OR HE WOULDN’T BE STILL A FARMER***

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Prepared by a passionate farmer JAPHET DAZAMU MUTUGI

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