Keep stakeholder partnerships strong

Farming operations are critical to our country and the handover process from one generation to the next is very important, says African Farming presenter Tony Ndoro. He asked Praveen Dwarika of Lemang Agricultural Services to explain what makes this process so vital to success in family farming businesses.

“We’re dealing with food security, we’re dealing with livelihoods and we’re dealing with building an agribusiness,” says Dwarika, emphasising the importance of upskilling the next generation so that young farmers are well equipped to continue running operations. There should be disclosure of all the relevant information pertaining to the business, including loan agreements, insurance and retirement policies, and asset statements. 

“You can never predict the future but you can have a plan in place,” he says. “Planning needs to be part of the day-to-day routine on the farm.” 

According to Dwarika, young operators should be part of the strategic issues of the business and be involved in communicating with external stakeholders. “Relationships with stakeholders should not be underestimated… These are your partnerships with your agribusinesses, your relationships with your bankers, your input suppliers and your offtakers.”

“Farming is about trust, and one generation builds trust with its stakeholders,” he adds. Continuity in farming businesses requires consistency. This includes consistency when it comes to farm delivery, the consistency with which the farmer negotiates, and the consistency he shows in keeping to his promises. “Make sure the next generation is equipped to operate with the same kind of consistency.”

Dwarika’s advice to family farmers is to communicate with their stakeholders and to keep the discussions going. “Where there is a possibility to do formal training and skills transfer, engage with that by all means.”

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