How Risky is Farming in South Africa

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Farming in South Africa is not one of smelling baked bread and hot jam 6 am in the morning, but be prepared to roll up your sleeves and get dirty.

One question that always that raises many eyebrows not only in South Africa, but across the world is how save or risky is farming in South Africa.

Most beginner farmers in SA do plan and budget for the next couple of years but rookie mistakes and lack of experience always ends up in starter farmers burning a lot of capital and often goes bankrupt before they could reap any rewards. Farming lesson No.1 Listen to people and take their advice that has been farming for years, Take that advise and put it into practice. Living in a farming community I have seen young and old male and female farmers come and go with empty pockets due to not taking advice and thinking that they have a better plan than a system that’s been working for centuries.

City Slickers with deep pockets does not realize that farming is one of the hardest trades in the world and has daily challenges that are unspoken of.

When you are a beginner or rookie farmer the dream is big and fast. Calculating for weeks if not months about how you are going to farm and what techniques you are going to use to get the best return from your investment.

So let’s get back to the question how safe is it to farm in South Africa and what are the Risks
From an investors point of view farming can be as risky as playing the stock market if not riskier. Regardless if you are a crop farmer, agriculture or livestock farmer the weather will have influence on your business success. For years you can be the master farmer in your area but when there’s a drought start and it continues, you can go bankrupt is a very short time.

Farming has it’s own circle of life. If the crop farmer do not succeed, there will be less feed for the chicken, cattle or pig farmer and needless to say, feed prices will go sky high. Farmers will have to cut their stock down to survive new costly feed prices and that will lead to fewer products for the consumer and products pricing will increase month over month as we have seen so many times in South Africa.

Another risk factor when farming in South Africa is the unstable fuel prices. Crop farming requires a lot of fuel and planning your harvest without fuel reserves or the possibility of an fuel increase would be devastating to any farmer with a low budget.

Part of daily challenges that farmers has to endure theft. From fruit being stolen on the road side to livestock theft. This seems to be minor for passersby but the effect has serious damage to farmers all round.

Farmers has workers. Workers need homes, fresh water and electricity. It’s a norm in a lot of provinces for farmers in rural areas to take farm workers to town in a truck. Farm workers will buy their essentials and not so essential products on that day. The party start Friday night and carries on until the dying hours of Sunday Evening. In some cases it will result in minor domestic violence, but severe cases are not uncommon and could be risky for the farmer and other workers.

Being a farmer in South Africa, you and your family become masters of all trades very quickly. You become a doctor, a veterinarian, a psychiatrist, a father and a mentor. Days are longer and gets harder as your business grow. Farming is hands on and there is no shortcuts regardless what you are farming with.

If all goes well and a farmer had a good season, maybe the best of his or her life they still need to overcome one more bridge.

The Market.

If you can mentally abide to some of these paragraphs mentioned, I you can be tested and endure hardships, you might consider taking the risk of farming in South Africa