In 2012, the government of Zimbabwe declared potatoes as a strategic food security crop, that will now be included in various inputs support schemes. This is because potatoes are a source of carbohydrates and starch which are essential nutrients to the health of the nation. Potatoes are now one of the crops which are important to the food security of Zimbabwe. The government of Zimbabwe has been actively encouraging farmers to venture into the potato farming business. Potato farming has big profit margins which will give meaningful returns to your invested capital.The potatoes are in high demand in Zimbabwe, with the local production failing to meet the local demand. Thus Zimbabwe ends up importing potatoes from other countries like South Africa. Potato farming is a very lucrative and profitable business venture in Zimbabwe.
Before you start the potato farming business, you have to decide how many hectares you want to farm, which type of potatoes you will farm, which season you are going to plant your potatoes, and your target market. The amount of potatoes you farm will depend on the amount of land and capital you have, and also the size of your target market. You should always carry out a feasibility study, market research and write a business plan before you venture into any business. Do not make the mistake of starting a potato farming business or any other business just because someone is doing it and he/she says it’s profitable. This article will explain how to start a potato farming business in Zimbabwe, and the potato farming business plan.
What you need
Potatoes can be grown on almost on any type of soil, except saline and alkaline soils. Naturally loose soils, which offer the least resistance to enlargement of the tubers, are preferred, and loamy and sandy loam soils that are rich in organic matter, with good drainage and aeration, are the most suitable. The pH of the soil should ideally be in the range of 5.2-6.4 for the optimum growth of the potatoes. Potatoes planted in soil with pH levels lower than this will produce poor quality tubers and abnormal growth. Potatoes planted in high pH soil will have problems with common scab. Thus before you start farming potatoes on your farm its essential that you check whether the soil is suitable for potato farming. Growing potatoes involves extensive ground preparation. The soil needs to be harrowed until completely free of weed roots. In most cases, three ploughings, along with frequent harrowing and rolling, are needed before the soil reaches a suitable condition: soft, well-drained and well-aerated.
Machinery and Equipment
The machinery you need will depend on the size of your potato farming business. Machinery and equipment needed include tractors, fertilizer spreader equipment, spray equipment, diggers, harvesters, irrigation equipment, scales, bins, boom sprayers, ridgers etc. For the bigger machinery like tractors, you can hire when you want to use them rather than purchasing them. You may also need grid hydroelectricity energy for the irrigation systems, standby diesel generators for use during power outages, or solar powered irrigation systems. Farmers especially in the rural ares who do not have the modern farming equipment use animal drawn equipment in potato farming. The higher the level of mechanization at your potato farm, the higher the efficiency of your operations, and the profitability of your potato farming business.
There are several farming inputs needed for your potato farming business. Most importantly you need the potato seed. There are several different varieties of potato cultivars which are used in Zimbabwe. The vary in their shape, texture, colour, yield and days to maturity. Thus before you start your potato farming business you have to decide which potato cultivar you want to use. That choice will be determined by the availability of the seeds, the yield of the seeds, the resistance to diseases of the potato seeds, and your target market. The potato cultivars which are used in Zimbabwe include BP1, Amethyst (the most widely grown potato in Zimbabwe), garnet, jasper,pimpernel and diamond potato. Ensure that you buy good healthy potato seed from certified suppliers. It will be a very expensive mistake to buy cheap potato seeds of low quality. Cheap is not always the best. Potatoes take 14-20 weeks to mature depending on their type.
You also require herbicides for your potato farm, for effective weed control at your farm. You may use Dual Magnum 960 EC, Sencor/ Metribuzine, and Agil 100 EC herbicides. Pesticides and fungicides are required for protecting your potato plants against insects and fungi. The types you can use include Fenamiphos 400 EC; Copper Oxy; Dithane M45 among others. Fertilizers are required to support the efficient growth of your potatoes, by providing all the nutrients needed by potatoes to grow to their full potential. The fertilizers you use include Compound B or C and Potassium Nitrate.
You need to hire part time farm workers as and when necessary. The duties which they will do include grading and packing; sprouting; planting; re redging; top dressing; line marking; discing ; ploughing; herbiciding and pesticiding. You will be paying them per number of days worked. You also require supervisors, farm manager, finance & accounting staff, and logistics staff depending on the scale of your potato farming business.
There is huge market for potatoes in Zimbabwe. More than 80 000 tonnes of potatoes are consumed annually in Zimbabwe, and the demand has been on the rise since the dollarisation of the economy in 2009. The potential customers for your potatoes include transporters/middleman (they will come to your farm to buy your poatatoes to resell in the city), hotels, supermarkets, and fast food outlets (for making french fries aka fresh chips), traders & wholesale distributors (E.g. Mbare Musika is the largest market for potatoes, the traders buy potatoes from farmers in bulky for reselling), Fruit and Vegetable open markets, organisations and individuals. The prices of potatoes vary throughout the year depending on market forces ie supply and demand. The price also depends on the size and quality of potatoes. Prices of potatoes vary from $0.40 per KG to $0.80 per KG. These prices allow very huge profits margins for a potato farming business. The profits you will get depend on the cost of inputs, the yield from your potato farm, and the selling prices of the potatoes.
Pre-Written Potato Farming Business Plan (PDF, Word And Excel)
For an in-depth analysis of the potato farming business in Zimbabwe, purchase our potato farming business plan. We decided to introduce the business plans after noting that many Zimbabweans were venturing into the potato farming business without a full understanding of the industry, market, how to run the business, the risks involved, profitability of the business and the costs involved, leading to a high failure rate of their businesses.
Our business plan will make it easier for you to launch and run a potato farming business successfully, fully knowing what you are going into, and what’s needed to succeed in the business. It will be easier to plan and budget as the potato farming business plan will lay out all the costs involved in setting up and running the potato farming business. The business plan is designed uniquely for the Zimbabwean market.
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Uses of the Potato Farming Business Plan (PDF, Word And Excel)
The potato farming business plan can be used for many purposes including:
- Raising capital from investors/friends/relatives
- Applying for a bank loan
- Start-up guide to launch your potato farming business
- As a potato farming project proposal
- Assessing profitability of the potatoes business
- Finding a business partner
- Assessing the initial start-up costs so that you know how much to save
- Manual for current business owners to help in business and strategy formulation
Contents of the Potato Farming Business Plan (PDF, Word And Excel)
The business plan includes, but not limited to:
- Market Analysis
- Industry Analysis
- Financial Statements (income statements, cash flow statements, balance sheets, break even analysis, payback period analysis, start-up costs)
- Marketing Strategy
- Risk Analysis
- SWOT & PEST Analysis
- Operational Requirements (e.g. type of land, type and quantities of inputs required e.t.c.)
- Management of Potatoes
- Operational Strategy
- Why some Zimbabweans in potato farming business fail, so that you can avoid their mistakes
- Ways to raise capital to start your potato farming business in Zimbabwe
The potato farming business plan includes technical aspects of how to plant and to take care of the potatoes. It also includes a mini-directory with contacts which will prove to be helpful in launching and running your potato farming business. E.g. We will provide the contact details of the companies that produce seeds, fertilizers, herbicides e.t.c.
Get the Potato Farming Business Plan (PDF, Word And Excel)
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Potato Farming Business Plan ($12.50)
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