Maize farming is our subject matter today as we discuss how you can start a maize farming business. It’s also known as corn. Maize is a food crop of utmost importance in various parts of the world. Most countries regard maize farming highly because of its importance to their diet. In most countries of the world the staple food is derived from maize meal. Maize is grown widely in Africa, Americas, and Asia. So there is quite a huge demand for the food crop and its many products which is why it makes business sense to start a maize farming business. In this article we shall be looking at some essential knowledge areas that you must acquaint yourself with before you start the maize farming business, and tips for the maize farming business plan.

Key Requirements And Components

Maize is a versatile food crop which can thrive in most environments. It takes on average anything between 3 and 4 months for maize crops to reach maturity. When your focus is grain then you can wait till the crops have sufficiently dried up. The opportune time for shelling can be at a point 5 months from the time you planted the maize seeds. The primary requirement in maize farming is having sufficient land. Generally, maize needs loamy soils in order to grow optimally. Maize also needs to be in places that have adequate exposure to sunlight. The choice and preparation of land must take into account that maize crops shun waterlogging.

Tilling of the land prior to planting is mandatory. Spacing is important when it comes to maize crop production. The recommended inner-row spacing is 0.25 metres whilst the inter-row spacing should be 0.75 metres for some varieties. Generally, spacing requirements vary from variety to variety. Application of fertilizer is also crucial and can be done using a 3-tier approach. You apply it at point of planting the seeds, then later after 4 weeks then lastly after about 8 weeks – there can be slight variations to this though. The key fertilizer components for maize farming are nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium and urea. Anything from four or more bags of fertilizer for one hectare will suffice.

The choice of maize crop varieties is extremely important and must consider some few factors. Some of the factors to consider are weather patterns (since most varieties have now been tailor-made to thrive under certain weather conditions) and market needs. For instance, there are now maize crop varieties that have been hybridized to withstand dry conditions.

There is no universal framework for when one can plant their maize seeds. Most maize farmers have always been guided by the rainy season period. This, however, is no longer as effective since rainfall is now mostly erratic the world over. Some experts advise that it is better to only plant when it has started raining rather than otherwise. For the most part, most farmers now depend on irrigation so as to avoid gambling when it comes to natural rainfall. Be vigilant regarding where you source your maize seeds from because any mistake can lead to dismal yields. Always ensure you buy your seeds from reputable sources as opposed to other cheaper alternatives. You need anything ranging from 15 to 20 kg per hectare depending on the variety in question.

Pests, diseases and weeds can be a problem for your maize crops so always monitor their growth. As long as you can detect any of these early then you should not have anything to worry about. Examples of pests and disease that can attack maize crops are army worms and downy mildew respectively. Due to the widespread farming of maize finding pesticides and the like is not a challenge. The costs of all the inputs should be accounted for in the maize farming business plan.

Make Sure You Have A Comprehensive Maize Farming Business Plan

The failure to plan is the beginning of business failure. The maize farming business plan must be clear and succinct enough to give your potential partners, clients and investors an overview of what your objectives are. At the same time, it must be detailed enough to explain the operations of the business that you propose. At the very minimum you need to have the following included in your maize farming business plan:

  1. The mission, vision and operational strategy
  2. Market Analysis And Customer Segmentation
  3. A business case showing that the business is financial viable and sustainable
  4. A marketing and customer care plan
  5. An organizational chart and human resource policy
  6. A three-year expansion outlook
  7. A risk and rewards Analysis

Human Capital

This depends on your scale of production and also your level of mechanisation. Significant mechanisation tends to reduce the number of workers you will need. However, it is not usually that hard to find cost-effective human resources on a contractual basis. The maize farming business plan should cater for the costs of paying all your employees.

Financial Capital

This again depends on scale of production and level of mechanisation amongst other factors. Some governments value maize crop farming and thus initiatives to finance farmers are usually there. Even without that one can still manage from own funds. Machinery can be rented, cheap human resources can be found – these are some of the factors that can reduce costs. With a good maize farming business plan you can raise financing to start your maize farming business.

Market

The market is colossal and actually needs more players to start maize farming businesses. The demand for maize is very high. Maize is not just for human consumption but also for animal consumption. Maize is used in stock feed production for livestock production. The starch from the maize is used for a long list of things such as cosmetic products, adhesives, paints, inks, and medical drugs amongst many others. One of the most disturbing statistics about maize on the African continent is the large quantities of it imported annually. It is somewhat ironic that a billion people consume maize on the continent and yet the continent is failing to produce enough. This is in stark contrast to the vast patches of arable land on the continent. Annually as much as US$2 billion is spent by the continent to import maize. The USA produces 42% of the world’s total maize production yet Africa just does roughly 7%. There are so many talking points on this but the relevant one for this subject is about potential. This means the market is not being adequately served by the local maize farmers. This means in Africa local maize farming is most welcome as it will eliminate the costly need of importing maize. Market-wise it is a foregone conclusion that the market is vast and limitless.

Maize farming is definitely a profitable undertaking. To guarantee great results investing in irrigation would be a noble idea. Liaise and interact with other established maize farmers to learn a thing or two. The market is need of more players so kindly come onboard.