Urban farmers are many times confused to be subsistence farmers or community gardener, they are traditionally seen to be the lowest contributor to food production, and they are many times seen as ineffective, urban farming can also be called urban Agriculture. Most of these other agricultural disciplines take place in homes, communities and other areas of land. For urban agriculture, the setting is defined as mainly occurring in a community located in a city or other types of highly populated urban areas but what essentially sets it apart is, for the most part, it assumes a level of commercialization. This means that the main goal is to grow and produce food for trade as opposed to personal consumption or sharing in the environment. It’s mainly made for commercial purposes and not recreational or leisure.
Apart from commercial interest, some urban farm are built exclusively for the purpose of educating or training a community of urban farmers or people, Almat farms and soilless farm lab are good example of this in Nigeria. These urban farm centers normally focus on improving food access, food transportation and food quality. These efforts are all made with the common goal of improving farm efficiency and knowledge to promote better economic opportunities within the area.
Urban farmers in Nigeria completely have the best advantage of training and educating people interested in agriculture, over time we have seen how it is difficult for students on farm tour to key visit in rural farm areas because of different difficulties faced when trying to key farm visit with rural farmers. Urban farming importance can never be over emphasized due to it peculiarity in enhancing a community’s knowledge on agriculture. It is important that the community is aware of how food are produced, processed and distributed, the urban farms helps to make this clear to the environment.
Potential Urban farmers in Nigeria needs to be aware of how farming can help utilize the efficiency and effectiveness of people in their environment and in the light of this they have to understand the statistics of agriculture bearing in mind it impact, input and human resources. Potential urban farmers needs to be aware of how urban agriculture is done before they dabble into urban agriculture as I have seen over time that investment into the modernize aspect of agriculture can be draining if the system of establishment and distribution is not understood.
To be an effective urban farmer, knowledge of where and how to get input is important, where and how to get efficient farm worker is important, where and how to arrange your farm is highly important so as to give the public the sense of educative training in agriculture and led the sector by giving out the best. For a potential urban farmer to be effective, he/she must be ready to source for understanding investor that are also skillful in food production and other value chains of agriculture. An urban farmer must understand how strenuous and difficult farm work can get so as to know how to manage the staff both the skilled and unskilled for efficient result on the farm.
There are many approaches to urban farming that is: there are many ways urban agriculture can be utilized and managed while Vertical Farming is on, Hydroponics can also be seen as an approach, Aquaponics too is another approach, shipping Container Farms which is common in Asian continent and less expensive, Rooftop Farming which is mostly practiced in new York city, Backyard Gardens which is mostly done with the basis of producing food at the back of the house.
Let us take a look at the critical things that a potential urban farmers must know and do so as to make sure that all potential urban farmers become effective and sufficient in their dealings in food production.
Market and customers: Plant what consumers would buy, potential urban farmers must understand that in agribusiness, consumer wants dictate field decisions, farmers don’t produce what consumers don’t need. Urban farmers should look into the need of the consumers by engaging with market surveys and getting reasonable analysis from the survey, this would help to dictate the crop that is to be planted with time and seasons. There are different caliber of consumers and market to consider, in all of the considerations, it is important that expert are consulted for admirable and profit oriented analysis that encourage development in all ramifications.
Farming is hard work: Potential urban farmers need to understand that farming is hard work and they need to understand the tedious nature of farm Job, Farm job are not similar to a nine to five work where the worker are monitored on weekly basis, farm work are tedious chains of work that always lead to another chains of work. From the process of input sourcing to land clearing to planting to harvesting and to marketing, storage and distribution. Farming requires high thinking technicality, it requires brainstorming to make sure all the arrangement needed is in place. Urban farms are visited for educative sessions and training mainly because of their interior decoration and outward appearance which emit a natural environment and promote serene environment. Labourers are one of the most difficult to search for in the agricultural sector, a potential urban farmer must be prepared for some disappointment in Human before venturing into urban agriculture
Input are sourced, Investors are rare: Agriculture still seems deemed light to investors, it is somewhat difficult to source ofr investor who can see the mission and vision of the urban farm and key into it, the agricultural sector get investors, YES but the rate at which forward looking investors fund the agricultural sector is low and can’t be compared with other sector. It is important that potential urban farmers have this in mind and try to start small with rightful collaborations. Input are not given free neither are they given by the ministry of agriculture, input for food production are sourced for, they are bought from reputable organisation and not given free by private organisation. Potential urban farmer need to understand that input are worked for, investors are rare to find until urban farm startup are worked on to some level of generating achievement.
Farming requires Finance: Finance is one of the back bone of any business, as major as finance is, it can’t be compared to the skillfulness needed to have a successful urban farm and practice the approaches used to plant food. Finance can be sourced for by applying for loans, grant, Non-governmental challenges and even government institution opportunities. Finance without skillfulness can be a disaster, for potential urban farmers that does not have the right knowledge to execute an urban farm consultant can be employed to provide advisory services when needed.
Partnership is crucial: one of the most beneficial sustainable development goal is SDG 17 which says partnership for all the SDG 1-16 goals, without partnerships and right collaboration urban farmers might not do well in gathering enough profit, any potential farmer must have the right set of mentality towards partnership, they must understand who to partner with, how to partner and which organisation they have to partner with. Potential urban farmers must understand and work with the ministry of tourism so as to understand and have the opportunity of hosting state dignitaries when needed. A potential urban farmers must constantly let the media space be aware of farm tour opportunities so as to get the minds of the audience ready for tours.