By Joshua Kato
Sustaining a farm financially is one of the toughest tasks farmers face, and yet the farm has to find money to pay workers and give something to the farm owner too.
Unless a farm has got a consistent enterprise that makes money for it, meeting these financial obligations eventually becomes a big challenge.
You must introduce an enterprise that gives you money consistently, to compliment others that generate income seasonally.
There are farms that have enterprises that can guarantee a daily money flow. These include chicken layers and dairy cows. Once layers start producing, the cycle runs through almost two years before they stop.
By the time they do, a farmer has added a second or even a third cycle. Dairy cows give milk through 300 days after delivery and this means that if a farmer has got more than one cow, it is likely he will have some money coming in each day.
Pigs can also bring in daily income depending on the size of the herd. With a large stock of say 10 sows, a farmer can actually have piglets for sale every month throughout the year.
A big herd of goats can also give monthly income too. Vegetables can give you money twice or three times a year, however, the short cycle means that the money is almost monthly.
But there are annual crops, such as coffee and fruits that have one major season plus a minor season. Unless farmers plan well, the farm suffers financially during mid-season.
The advice is to practise inter-cropping. If coffee is inter-cropped with matooke, a farmer will consistently sell the matooke to sustain the financial needs of the farm as they wait for the larger income from coffee.
For example, 10 acres of coffee can take as many as 2,500 plants of matooke and these can produce at least 500 bunches a month. Certainly, this can run the farm!