One topic that farmers are constantly seeking more knowledge on is financing and investment opportunities. During a recent episode of Food For Mzansi’s weekly Gather To Grow interactive discussion on Twitter, experts unpacked the 101 of agricultural finance and investment.
The session was led by Food For Mzansi’s editor for audience and engagement, Dawn Noemdoe, and included Nomalanga Pascal, a Kwazulu-Natal farmer and human resource practitioner, Shamima Nazeer, operations manager at Private Wealth Consult, and Malapane Thamaga, ministerial representative of the Maize Trust.
Right at the beginning of the session, Nazeer placed great emphasis on the importance of farmers having a passion for what they do. “It’s building a career that you are passionate about. It starts there, it starts with a passion for farming”.
She encouraged farmers to find a financial coach or partner who understands how to do the financing and has the know-how to create financial opportunities. She said having someone to guide and coach farmers will help them start in the right direction financially.
The power of record-keeping
Meanwhile Thamaga pointed out that one important aspect that many farmers often neglect, is record-keeping. This, he said, is especially lacking among upcoming farmers.
“People tend to say, ‘I won’t forget. I have it in my mind. I have a plan. I know where I want to go.’ You know you have all these things in your head, but the truth of the matter is, in two weeks’ time you’re likely to have forgotten about all of this,” Thamaga said.
He added that it was also imperative that farmers keep their personal expenses and their business expenses separate.
Be well-prepared and do your homework
When discussing what new farmers should take into consideration before applying for finance, Pascal placed great emphasis on farmers being well-prepared.
According to Pascal farmers should be able to show possible investors or financiers what they will be farming, what form of ownership they’ll be implementing and what governance structure they’ll be implementing. “As a baseline, demonstrate that you’ve done your homework. If you can’t do your homework at that level it becomes a futile exercise.”
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