6 Reasons Why Small Farms Fail

by Olalekan Abdulsalami on 25 Feb 2021 • 4 comments
3 min read

Setting up a small farm in Nigeria can be a daunting task especially for a person with little or no experience on the farm. 

Before anything else, you should think about why you want to start your own farm “Is it for profit? A hobby? An altruistic contribution to society and/or animal welfare? Environmental stewardship?”. This is because your motivation for starting a farm will directly impact your strategy which will, in turn, define the outcome you will record.

The agriculture sector has a much lower failure rate than other sectors, according to research, 50 or more out of 100 agriculture businesses survive for more than five years, as compared to where only about 36 of construction businesses that bearly makes it that long.

So in setting up a small farm, agricultural experts believe many farmers make the following mistakes:

Growing too many crops

Your farm will fail if you refuse to focus specifically on crops that bring you the most cash. Cultivating too many crops that are not economically viable will soon put you out of business because at the end of the day you will be struggling to recover from losses year in, year out until the farm finally crashes.

Secondly, do you grow what the market wants or are you growing what you want? If you grow what you want, you may not have space in the market to sell your product at good prices. 

Not taking farming as a business

A former minister of agriculture and current President of the African Development Bank, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, always advised farmers to see farming as a business, not a development issue, as that is the only way to make money and be sustainable. He argued that most small farmers fail because they fail to treat farming as a business.  As a smallholder farmer, if you want to make money from your farm,  you need to pay attention to the bottom line if you want the venture to be sustainable over a long period of time.

You don’t have a sustainable agribusiness plan

Before you undertake any farming venture, you need to have a business plan bringing into consideration all the elements of production and marketing. The practice these days is that “farmers start farming and then try to mold a business around that, versus conceptualizing a business, creating a plan, and then executing.” If you have a sustainable business model and build the farm around the model, the chances that you will succeed are high. 

You do not have the time to monitor the farm closely or spend some quality time on the farm

This is one of the major factors that kill many farms. Many smallholder farmers who are urban people have little time to spend on their farms to monitor any new development. There are people who hardly visit their farms in a week and even when they do, they don’t have time to scrutinize everything on the farm. They engage others to look after the farm for them without even putting them in check. Such a farm will not survive long. 

Not seeking knowledge of your production area continuously

As a farmer, you must update your knowledge regularly in order to be a master in what you do. This will help you improve your production capacity and expand your marketing networks. You won’t grow if you don’t interact with people (producing the same thing) regularly and learn from what they are doing better. 

 Waiting to have a product to sell before building the marketing strategy

If you wait until you have a product at hand before selling, there will be problems. You can actually start marketing your farm and building an audience from day one. Don’t expect people to be lined up out the door just because you have a product to sell. 


Why small farms fail[ Retrieved from https://dailytrust.com/6-reasons-why-your-farm-failed on the 23rd, February 2021 ]

Small farms in Nigeria [Retrieved from https://blog.agrodomain.com/why-your-small-farm-and-agribusiness-fail/ on the 23rd, February 2021]

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