On the one hand, many YouTube channels paint organic farming as a very rosy, charming and lucrative proposition whereas the reality is the exact opposite. Farming is tough and organic farming is even tougher. On the other hand – Farming is inarguably one of the oldest activities known to humankind. Farming neither takes a break nor will come to an end. Therefore, getting into commercial farming may not be a bad idea as long as we are aware of the challenges that a newcomer has to contend with when getting into organic farming as a commercial enterprise.
Before getting into farming, one would do well to define himself or herself as to what they wish to be – a Farmer or an Entrepreneur in the business of food production. If you are going to be a farmer, stop reading further and start praying. If you look around, you will see that farmers in India get a lot of blessings but make very little money. However if you are planning to call yourself as an Entrepreneur / Businessperson, read on.
There can be no farming without farmland and water. Traditional farmers typically can’t look beyond farmland, water and basic infrastructure. Things beyond land and water are controlled by the middlemen and that is where the money is. A farmer simply does not have the luxury of refusing to sell his fruits of labour even when the price is not fair and commensurate with his/her investment and efforts simply because he/she does not have the wherewithal to store the produce till it fetches a better price or directly take it to the end consumer who can offer the best value for the produce. The only way a farming enterprise can become commercially viable is when the farmer redefines himself/herself as an entrepreneur in the business of food production.
A new farmer is one who will define himself/herself as an Entrepreneur in the business of farming and will focus not only on Land, Water and Basic infrastructure but also at Mechanization of operations, Storage facilities, Marketing & Sales and Distribution logistics before getting into organic farming as a commercial activity. The difference between success and failure, insofar as farming as a commercial enterprise is concerned, lies in the ability to bypass middlemen and deliver directly to end consumer. A new Farmer will look at the end consumer and design his farming activities to fulfill the needs of the end consumer bypassing all middlemen. Fortunately, today technology and social media can help a farmer reach out to and transact directly with his/her potential customers.
How you farm will determine the success or failure of your commercial farming venture. For instance, by using Drones in farming activities, you can monitor the health of your crops better by taking a bird’s eye view of your crops or spray fertilizers and pesticides more efficiently and cost effectively. There is an increased awareness amongst the general populace about the health benefits of organic food and therefore are willing to pay a better price for organic food. By opting for integrated farming systems, you can bring down the input costs of your organic farm vastly. By opting for organic farming methods, you can increase the price for your organic food products considerably.
Through a collaboration with Paalaar Urban Farms, new comers to organic farming will get access to water, irrigation systems, agricultural machinery and storage facility on the operations side thereby bringing down the initial investment substantially for a startup. By offering to deliver the farm produce directly to consumers, Paalaar Urban Farms will help startups get the best price for their farm produce and increase their chances of success multifold.