We base our commercial activities in crop and animal productions, and derivatives such as milk and meat. The commercial activities should also be seen from a further perspective of creating a market place and capacity building for the local population. The identified suppliers of inputs and potential customers for our products are usually operating with several products that can be used for different crops.
The businesses in the farm will be based on essential principles:
a) Production has to take place in order to test the market and its wiliness to pay prices that are profitable for FFF. As an example: The testing for growing potato (sweet potato will not be considered in the first year) is in order to see if the crop is viable in the region, once it proves viable I will invoke a demand of quality potato by food processors.
b) Assure the market to reduce the risk. FFF shall not start growing any crop before the project has a firm off-taker for the produce and a proper finance analysis confirming that growing this particular crop will be profitable.
c) Planning to assure FFF predictable production and supply of the market. As an example: Silage is not for “when number of animals increase”, it is however, is for the dry months of the year when the animals do not have quality pasture of fresh green material.
d) Equipment sized to fit FFF need. As an example: Use of non-till agriculture or minimum tillage for soil preservation. However, the soil seems to be compacted and sub-soiling will likely be needed in many areas together with lime application and followed by ploughing. As this operation will only happen once, there is no reason to acquire large tractors, but tractors needed by FFF, which can be utilized many hours per day, including during the night.
e) Sufficient and properly qualified staff to run FFF as a business without expecting external support. FFF has to be built as a regular business despite the initial external support for starting operations. The selection of crop and animal production is based in the following steps:
Step 1: Identification of the markets and production sources
Step 2: Choose profitable agricultural production
Step 3: Analyse costs
Step 4: Supplier support services
Step 5: Price, competition and trends
Initially FFF will focus in crops production in order to establish and consolidate the operations before the animal production is introduced in the farm regular activities. The mentioned steps are used to analyse different selected crops and the animal production.
FFF aims to create direct linkages with buyers as a part of its activities in the value chain. However it will create challenges due market operations in Iringa Region, where many actors are informal or with low level of organization. Focusing to the national or regional markets should give FFF a good position in the value chain. However, the size of the Farm allows limited quantities that inhibit FFF entrance to those markets. Farmers’ organizations and other producers can enter to the bigger and well-organized market in the future by creating synergy with other producers in the region. One of the trading systems that FFF will introduce after three years of operations is “contract farming”. This model can be used with individual farmers, cooperatives and
ranchers, in order to ensure binding and commitment to supply the agricultural production. FFF will offer technical assistance to the selected farmers, to ensure the quality of the production.