It’s a good practice to evaluate the production cost at the end of the season to determine if one made a profit or loss.
This should be done by checking the total cash used against the income. Thus, it helps to keep a summary of income and expenses during production.
Farmer Moses had maintained all farm records indicating the expenses incurred. This started with land preparation, cost of buying seeds, spraying against pests and diseases and irrigation, among others.
We used the information to make a profit and loss account. The table on the right shows his costs during the tomato production cycle, the expected returns and the returns we obtained.
Moses made a profit from his quarter-acre plot despite the low prices that are currently affecting vegetable products thanks to contract farming as he had already secured a market.
Moses had a high labour cost of production because he relied on casual labourers. Going forward, we have agreed on employing a permanent staff who would also carry out other activities on the farm.
During crop removal or the clearing of the block after harvest, we ensured that staking sticks or posts were well-removed and placed under a shade.
They would be used the next time Moses plants tomatoes reducing the cost of production. However, the posts should be well-disinfected as they can easily act as a source of infection to the next crop since some spores can survive on them.
As a good practice, after harvesting, clear the block and prepare for the planting of the next crop. As indicated in our previous articles, it’s always important to prepare the land early to ensure there is timely planting of the next crop.
It is also important to practice crop rotation for maximum utilisation of nutrients and prevent the spread of pest and diseases to the next crop.
Since Moses planted tomatoes this season, he would ensure that the next crop is not from the solanaceae family such as potatoes.
Some of the lessons we learnt during the production are that pests and disease infestation are inevitable, but timely interventions are paramount before the pests have fully damaged the crop affecting the production.
Farming is like any other business that requires adequate planning and commitment.