What African farmers should learn from COVID-19

farmers never seek professional advice from experts. Covid-19 should teach farmers that self-service (self-medication) is harmful to farm business

COVID-19 should teach farmers that “self-medication” is more harmful!

People have practiced self-medication during the COVID-19 pandemic more than ever before. Likewise, most farmers never seek professional advice from experts. Covid-19 should teach farmers that self-service (self-medication) is harmful to their farming business.

 The COVID-19 virus has no cure yet, but people have been trying many new ways to treat or to prevent the infection. However, although no one knows the cure to the virus, including doctors, self-medication has been strongly discouraged from all corners. People are always advised to adhere to doctors’ guidelines and to seek professional medical attention whenever they experience COVID-like symptoms. No matter how mild the symptoms are, we have been advised to let the doctors do their work and avoid self-medication at all costs because its damages could be more than we can imagine.

What should African farmers learn from the lessons of COVID-19 self-medication experiences?

I have been in the game of small-scale farming for a long time now and I can say without fear that most farmers fail in farming because they do not seek professional advice. They take all matters into their own hands and the outcomes are always awful. Most farmers want to be on self-service 100%. Surprisingly, farmers want to be paid to attend seminars, training, or workshops. If you ask people who work for a development organization, they will tell you that for farmers to accept to attend training, you must promise them transport, lunch, and sometimes a daily stipend. Most farmers believe that they are self-sufficient, but the impact of the insufficiency is felt in the long-term. Like self-medication, self-sufficiency may satisfy you for a short moment, but it does not offer you a long-lasting solution. 

African farmers should be sensitized on the value professional services from experts. For example, when some farmers buy a tractor, they want to be their own driver and mechanic. They avoid buying original spare parts from approved sellers under the pretext that they are expensive. That is why I suspect the lifetime of a tractor in Kenya is almost 20 times shorter than that of a tractor in Europe.

👇 The worst never happened. Keep pushing

Various experiments have proven that engaging a qualified and well-trained mechanic can increase the lifetime of your tractor. Using original spare parts saves you money in the long-term and can save you up to 50% of tractors downtime.

The above example applies to many other farm inputs and farm business processes. A short cut in a wrong cut!  We have a role to assist farmers to give credit where it is due.

If all farmers can swear to seek and follow professional advice from experts, the destiny of Africa’s agriculture could change overnight from doom to boom.

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