Farming is a profession as old as time. In Africa, it has been and still is an occupation of millions of people. In recent times, young Africans are falling back to farming as a business venture. However, a business plan without funds is a plan. Here is how to get loans as a young farmer in Africa.
How To Get Loans As A Young Farmer In Africa
- Know the rudiments of farming
Farming is an activity that is not an all-comers affair. You don’t need a degree either to be one. However, to be a farmer, you need some basic understanding of family. If it’s snail farming, for instance, that you are going into, you need to know about their feeding habits, where and how to source for them, and so on.
To get loans as a young farmer, the credit provider would like to see that you have knowledge of whatever type of farming that you claim to be engaged in.
- Be passionate about farming
It’s one thing to be in a profession, it’s another thing to have passion for the profession. Farming is an occupation that needs patience, hard work, and tenacity.
Let your passion for what you are doing be seen. Sleep, eat, talk farming. When your passion shows and is known people will point you in the right direction for you to fulfill your dreams.
- Carve a niche for yourself
In any occupation or business community, having a niche means being a specialist in an aspect of the occupation while still having general knowledge about the occupation or business.
So, to get loans as a young farmer, concentrate on an aspect of farming and be known for it. Don’t be a jack of all trades. Be the go-to person for a farming method, a farming tool, a particular animal, a particular seedling. Any specialization in that type of farming you are in is alright.
If it’s possible get some certifications, attend seminars, acquired some form of degree. Anything to add pedigree to things that you already know.
- Have a business plan
Now, in as much as you have a passion for farming, you should know that farming is a business. It’s a multi-billion dollar business in the world. It’s also the largest employer of labor in most countries of the world.
So for you to cash in on that large sum of money you need to have a business plan. Take that your farming from the level of a passion to the level of a business. There are people, governments, and organizations ready to assist you.
If you don’t know how to draw up a business plan then get some professional help on how to formulate one. Banks and organizations want to see your plans on how you intend to utilize the funds that you will be given.
- Join a network of young farmers
It’s said that no one is an island. So it’s in farming. No one knows or can do it all. As a young farmer in farmer, endeavor to join a network of young farmers like yourself. A network could be an association, a co-operative, or even an online group chat of young farmers willing to just share ideas and information.
This kind of networking makes it possible for you to have information on the goings-on in your field. You get to know not only about the latest innovation in your subspecialty but also the latest loan facilities available for young farmers like yourself.
There are always loans for farmers offered by various governments agencies, international and local aid groups, and organizations. If you are not in the know you might miss such opportunities.
To get loans as a young farmer in Africa you have to network. Be seen. Be known. Be involved.
- Approach a credit provider
It is good to know about a loan that is ongoing but you don’t get it if you don’t make an effort to.
Most credit providers cater to some categories of farmers. So you need to first know if a particular loan facility is for your kind of farming, gender, location, and so on.
Next is to find out the requirements for the loan. Don’t just apply for the sake. Do you meet the requirements? Do you have what it takes to access and offset that kind of loan?
Since there are so many loans available to farmers, keep looking. You will get one that suits you just well.
Then you consider how to approach the credit provider. Some farming loans require that you belong to one farming co-op or association. Then join one. Some loans require that one or two persons come together to access them and not necessarily an association. All of these kinds of information you can get when you network.
- Be trustworthy
One of the problems that farming loan-giving agencies in Africa have identified is the non-application of loans for the purposes that they were given in the first place.
Some African farmers think that loans especially the ones taken from government agencies are nobody’s money and so must not be accounted for. So a farmer takes a loan for buying seedlings and uses it to get a new wife, buy a car or build a house.
To get loans as a young farmer you must be seen to be trustworthy when it comes to funds. That’s why it is good to have a business plan.
When you misappropriate the money from your loan then no one will be willing to give you another. You might even go to jail for it.
You are still young. The time for enjoyment will come. For now, you have to work for the future.
- Stay a farmer
The best way to always get loans as a young farmer is to stay a farmer. Like I said at the beginning of this article, farming requires patience and tenacity. If you can’t do the farming full time then do it part-time but don’t abandon it.
It’s possible to get loans as a young farmer in Africa. Just follow these guidelines and you will be on your way to being a successful entrepreneur. Have a vision. Be patient. Be consistent.