So as I dug deeper into the literature and I came to realise that when we get down to basics there is no real difference between an Entrepreneur and Agripreneur. But I still like the term Agripreneur :-).
The Next Gen African Farmers are entrepreneurial farmers. Entrepreneurial farmers are people who are able to create and develop a profitable business in a changing business environment. Generally speaking, entrepreneurial skills are related to identifying business opportunities, finding means and resources to realise business opportunities by networking and co-operation, developing a business strategy and managing and improving the business. Lets break it down….
- Technical skills: being able to make use of the modern technologies. This will help farmers improve their production processes.
- Plant or animal production skills: the ability to achieve high levels of production and quality outputs.
- Proper financial management and administration is required for business monitoring and planning and decision-making based on economic factors. For example the decision to sell a product at a certain price has to be based on a cost price calculation.
- Human resource management is very important. Working with employees requires social, organisational and workforce management skills as well as the skills to delegate and to find a professional workforce. Being an employer also requires some personal and psychological characteristics, e.g charisma and leadership capacities.
- Customer management skills: an active dialogue with customers is important to ascertain customers’ needs and to monitor customer satisfaction.
- General farm management and planning skills enable the farmer to find and use resources and give him the means to achieve the farm objectives. Farm owners have to be able to manage cash flows and labour demand and to adjust product delivery to meet customer demands.
- Recognising business opportunities: farm owners must be able to recognise and take advantage of new and emerging business opportunities.
- Market and customer orientation.
- Awareness of threats.
- Innovation skills: creative thinking, an ability to generate ideas and a willingness to do something new are all requirements for the Next Gen African farmers, enabling them to innovate and make use of new business opportunities..
- Risk management skills: is the identification, assessment, and prioritization of risks followed by coordinated and economical application of resources to minimize, monitor, and control the probability and/or impact of unfortunate events or to maximize the realization of opportunities.
- Skills in receiving and making use of feedback: this would help improve personal competences and business processes.
- Reflection skills: a farm owner must reflect about what it means to be a farm owner. Farm owners should be able to reflect on strategic decisions, discuss alternatives and reconsider current strategies.
- Monitoring and evaluation skills: this allows the farm owner to improve farm strategy by identifying and analysing the strong and weak points in the business. Farm owners should also benchmark with other farm owners.
- Conceptual skills: the ability to recognise what is essential for the success of the business.
- Strategic planning skills: process of defining its strategy, or direction, and making decisions on allocating its resources to pursue this strategy. Generally, strategic planning deals with at least one of three key questions :What do we do? , For whom do we do it?, How do we excel?
- Goal setting skills: Farm owners have to be able to set goals for ‘success’.
- Skills in cooperating with other farmers and companies: provides the opportunity to work together to achieve economies of scale and have a stronger collective voice. Farm owners can also leverage off each other’s expertise and skills.
- Networking skills: participating in (social) networks, cooperatives and industry related events are important means for information gathering. Through networks relationships can be built which makes outsourcing, information exchange, finding support, empowerment of individuals and links to non-agriculture sector easier.
- Team working skills: the ability to communicate constructively, listen actively, actively participate, share openly, demonstrate reliability and exhibit flexibility.
- Leadership skills: the ability to organize a group of people to achieve a common goal.
The above is my opinion of some the skills the Next Gen African Farmer should possess to succeed in a competitive environment. If we don’t have these skills yet we can always develop it or outsource it. Please share your thoughts.
Thanks for taking time out to read this post!