One of the most crucial factors in agriculture, and yet highly underestimated is water. Many people start out in farming and agribusiness without taking into cognisance the importance of water.
Water is essential for agricultural production, be it crops and livestock farming, or agriprocessing. Infact, when it comes to livestock production and agriprocessing, access to clean water becomes the focus.
So before you decide on where to site your farm, here are the following factors to consider with regards to water.
1) Availability of water: are there sources of water(e.g river, wells etc) or is the land so dry that you have to get water from elsewhere? Is water going to be a major challenge because the place is a rented farm settlement where farmers are not allowed to dig or drill their own wells or borehole respectively? if so, what's your plan?
2) Access to water: Even after identifying a source of water, the proximity of your farm to the source can determine your access to water. In some cases, the source of water could be a well which belongs to another farmer who may not be willing to share. So, you need to ensure that the available water will be accessible.
3)Cost of water: If for some reasons,you decide to choose a location or where water is not available, then that means you have to buy water. Which invariably means that you have to factor in the cost of water into your production cost.
Now if the farm land is yours, you may want to weigh your options regarding water. You may have to consider the long term cost of buying water compared to the cost of creating your own source (digging or drilling your own well or borehole respectively). Depending on your funds, you can decide to buy for a while and dig your well later.
Either way, you must ensure that the cost of water on your farm will not gulp so much of your profit.
4) unpredictable rainfall: in this era of climate change where rainfall pattern is no longer predictable and the rain may not come as expected. This can pose as threats to you as a farmer.
This reminds me of when we just started out on our farm in Ota with watermelon and vegetables production and it did not rain as expected. The vegetable yield was encouraging as expected but the watermelon yield was not. Anyway, we learnt our lesson and moved on.
That is why you must figure out how you can get a steady source of water on your farm all through the year. Also you may want to consider some form of irrigation system even if it is the overhead type. An example is the use of sprinklers to spray water on your crops or wet the land instead of waiting for rain that you can not tell when it will fall.
5) Clean water : if you want to go into livestock production or agri-processing that requires the use of water, then your attention should be on the purity of the water. As you do not want your livestock to start falling sick or your customers complaining of stomach upset or food posionning. Athough, you can always treat the water to make it safe for consumption.
You can share your thoughts in the comment section if you have found value.
Agricultural Economist |Blogger