Anne Mugo is the co-founder of The Farm Gang, an agribusiness firm that specialises in the organic growth of strawberry fruits, seedlings, and farming training.
She shared some of her top lessons from agribusiness.
- Due diligence goes hand in hand with investment. When I first got employed in the year 2009, a friend of mine convinced me to invest in a farmer who was growing rice in Mwea. My role in the project was to act like an investor, give the farmer the capital he needed and upon harvest, we would split the profits. I took a loan from a bank to fund the project. But the farmer disappeared as soon as he got my money. To make matters worse, I lost my job shortly after. The bank was on my case. This was one of my toughest financial seasons. This taught me the importance of due diligence. I no longer trust anyone with my money just because they have a promising business venture that needs an investor.
- It takes resilience to build a farming business in Kenya. Don’t fall for the hype on social media that farming will make you an overnight millionaire. Things can go wrong very quickly in farming. The challenges are so many. But there are those seasons that make it all worthwhile. As a farmer, I have learned to take the lesson, learn, pick up the pieces and move on. Don’t venture into farming if you give up easily.
- You can never learn about money out of the blue. You must invest in knowledge. Unfortunately, many of us are very hesitant to invest in financial knowledge. In my profession as a farmer, lack of training on best farming methods, investment and marketing is one of the primary reasons why farming is still a loss-making venture to many.
- Agribusiness as a wealth creator is still underutilized. My job at The Farm Gang mostly involves training women and young people on the potential of agribusiness as a wealth creator. So far, I have trained over 70 women and youth on growing strawberries organically. Most of these have then gone on to start farming ventures that are now giving them additional income.
- I save a percentage of my incomeevery month. These savings are reserved for reinvestment in my farming ventures and securities portfolio. A while back, I used to save my money on my mobile phone and bank account. I have since quit and switched to the money market fund. I switched because of the lucrative interest rates that my money earns.
- It is never about what you earn, but what you keep.Start saving for retirement as soon as now and find a side hustle that will bring you extra sources of income— whether you’re employed or in business. Above all, invest in yourself, knowledge, learn a new skill and enrol in personal finance or entrepreneurship programmes.