By Zac B. Sarian
We encounter all kinds of agri people at agri trade shows. Just like at the Agrilink expo at the World Trade Center in Pasay City.
Here comes a guy who thinks we know everything about farming. Without introducing himself, he immediately asked: “There are so many idle lands in the country, what is the most profitable crop to grow?”
Most profitable crop to grow? Where? We asked him.
“Anywhere,” he said.
I shot back. All the more I don’t know what’s the most profitable crop to grow anywhere. That’s because I don’t know the conditions obtaining anywhere.
I asked a litany of questions.
What kind of soil do you have in the farm?
What is the weather pattern?
Are there accessible roads to the farm?
How far is the farm to the market?
Who are the target buyers of the harvest? Do they have purchasing power?
How is the peace and order situation in the community?
I don’t know what skills you have to run a commercial farm.
And I don’t know how much capital you have to finance your farming operation.
So I can’t tell you what is the most profitable crop for you to grow anywhere.
“Money is not a problem,” he shot back.
Then there is a big problem. If you have a lot of money to spend but you don’t have the know-how to run a farm, your money, most likely, will just go to waste, we told him.
We finally told him: “What you should do if you have the money to spend is to hire a manager who really knows the business of farming. Give him a reasonable basic pay plus a profit sharing arrangement.”
End of the encounter.
The fact is that the farm business is a risky one. It can be profitable and enjoyable to run but it can also be frustrating to operate and could be a losing proposition.
So what should one do? Careful planning is needed. Science-based technologies should be employed. One should research the advantages and disadvantages of prospective projects. There are so many kinds of projects to choose from, so one has to make a choice based on a careful evaluation of possibilities.
The best way is to start small. A small project has its own advantages versus a huge project. Being small does not mean you will also make a small income. Quality is often more important than quantity. Even if you produce just a small volume, you can make a big profit if your product has high quality. You can name your price if you have quality products.
There are many strategies in order to succeed in agribusiness. But here is just one of them: “Go for high quality farm produce or service and you will not go wrong.”
This appeared in Agriculture Monthly’s December 2018 issue.