The biggest challenge most small scale farmers face is marketing and selling their fresh produce. However, if you do these two important things before planting your fresh produce, you’ll sell them with minimum effort. Start by identifying a marketing strategy that will help you distribute your fresh produce. Then, dedicate time and resources to researching, validating, and executing your marketing strategy. Here’s what Steven Kayola has to say:
In any business, marketing and selling go hand in hand. Marketing describes a range of activities that include deciding what to produce and how to price, distribute and promote a product. Selling, on the other hand, describes the techniques used to entice buyers to exchange their cash for the seller’s products. I’ve been successful as a small scale vegetable farmer by using the following strategies:
Production and Marketing
In my experience, if one can control the production and marketing of farm produce then the key ingredients for success are within reach. It’s important to take into consideration the nature of your fresh produce which is perishable and bulky. When you understand the shelf life and bulkiness of your product, it will be easier to make decisions and market your product. So, grow popular vegetables. In other words, avoid growing vegetables that are not in high demand unless you have a market for them. Also, find a good location to sell your vegetables.
If the farmer can control the transport aspect of the business (which is a market linkage item), this will provide latitude in broadening the market range for the products. If you don’t plan properly, transporting your fresh produce can become expensive. But, if you use plan properly, it can become cost-effective. So, you have reliable, affordable transport and link to various markets.
The use of technology to get market prices to assess best markets is very important. Therefore, make economic choices in relation to the bulkiness of your produce, in terms of cost, to move to market (sometimes it may be beneficial to sell at the farm gate). Also, listen to the radio where current prices of fresh products are shared throughout the day
And finally, sell direct to the consumer at premium prices. This strategy will help in the growth model for any small scale farming enterprise to graduate into an emerging enterprise. Remember to protect yourself out there in the market (there are wolves in sheep’s clothing). By this, I refer to avoiding market middlemen at all costs. They are a serious waste of time. If you can consider chain stores as well as a market it may be beneficial if you have sufficient working capital to aid cashflows (because you will have to wait 45-60 days for payment) and for someone starting out this would be detrimental. The experience is still unfolding for me and I will continue to share my experiences.
The writer is a farmer from Kabwe who produces cabbages, green maize and other vegetables. He is also the supplier of traveling irrigators and irrigation equipment in Zambia on behalf of a Turkish Company. he has several videos of his farming activities posted on youtube under Rainchild Agribusiness for all to learn a few things.