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PROTECTING YOUR INVESTMENT



Everyone looks forward to enjoying the fruits of their labour after spending so much on a business. However, other persons might have other thoughts. 

I am very sure you might have seen or heard of farmers that lost all or part of their livestock or crop yield overnight due to organised theft.


I know of man who ventured into poultry farming on a big scale some years ago and was doing fine until about ninety percent of his matured broiler birds were stolen overnight.

Needless to say it was disastrous as a large part of the capital was borrowed. Now, this is not to scare you off but rather a wake up call to the importance of security. This is why you have to safeguard your investment.

The truth is that your agricultural output whether farm produce or product or livestock have high monetary value that can attract thieves both within and without.

And so you must ensure the security of your farm or agribusiness venture is top notch and it should also correspond to your level of investment on the farm.

You will need to secure your farm not only against human thieves but also against predators, grazing animals,crop yield stealers, strayers etc.

1) Thieves: these set of people can be categorized into two: internal and external.

A) Internal thieves: Even within the farm staffs, there could be occurrence of theft. This can be a major issue in livestock production and agribusiness ventures particularly.  As they maybe stealing your livestock and reporting them as dead.
That is why as the owner, you must be on top of your game. This is where the knowledge of stock taking, book keeping, awareness of the technicalities of your agribusiness etc comes in handy. As these will enable you to detect any manipulation on time and you will not be easily deceived. Do not forget that knowledge is power.


b) External thieves: the entry of external parties can be limited by erecting fences and  or engaging the services of security guard. The fence can be made from either wood or planks or barbwires or concrete etc depending on your location. For agribusinesses that have factories and warehouses, safety of your equipments and machines should be of high priority. And members of your staff should be held accountable for the state and safety of equipment in their care.

2) Predators: it is important to find out what predators your intended farmland can attract with regards to the location and type of farming you want to engage in.

For example, a farmland that is located close to a thick forest maybe perfect for arable farming but not for livestock production. This is because such land will be prone to predators such as snakes, scorpions etc that can harm the animals in their numbers. And that may mean money down the drain.

This brings to mind my undergraduate farm year days when my group (we were divided into groups back then) decided to situate a small poultry farm on a particular part of the farm after receiving approval.

So, we brought in some few weeks old chicks to raise and then sell at maturity. We were so excited feeding them, filling their water troughs etc that we forgot to take note of the soldier ants that were parading themselves around as if they were taking selfies.

By the time we got back the following morning half of the chicks were already dead as they covered and stung by soldier ants. Our saving grace was that the remaining half were in the elevated part of the poultry house which was a bit inaccessible to the soldier ants.

Now, when I look back, I just laugh off the incident but then it was not funny. Actually, we should have known better because if we as humans avoid soldier ants as much as possible, what about the helpless chicks.

3) Crop yield stealers: some animals can also steal farm yields in large quantities if they are not checked. This can lead to low quality of yield and eventually financial loss. And the annoying part is that you can not get them arrested.

For instance, birds can be a source of headache for rice farmers as they can devour the entire harvest if measures are not put in place particularly when they show up in their numbers. Sometimes, human crop yield stealers can be a major source of concern.

4) Grazing animals: when farm animals graze on uncultivated thick bushes or forest filled with weeds and grasses, then it can be viewed as mutually benefiting relationship between the animals and the soil. As their manure serves as fertilizer to the soil.

But by the time they start grazing on grown crops that have substantial monetary value, there is bound to be trouble. This is responsible for clashes between  farmers in the Northern part of the country and the Fulani herds men. Strong fences can help avoid unnecessary invasion of grazing animals on the farm.

Note By: if there are areas that can be a source of security concern on the farm that was not included in this article, please feel free to include in the comments section.

Thanks!
Jumoke Ayeni
Agricultural Economist |Blogger

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