In the 21st century, small farming appears to be as risky as it has ever been.
One common problem small farmer face is getting started.
Many people with knowledge of various gardening techniques and experiences may not have the money to put into their business, and may not want to take a risk with everything they have. Some of the things a small farmer needs in order to get started include:
➢ Good equipment
➢ Good seeds
➢ Good plants
➢ Knowledge about marketing
The inability to raise money: The inability to raise money has been the number one problem with farmers for as long as farmers have been around. It is one of the reasons why most people today who engage in small scale farming also engage in a job outside of farming.
Small and fragmented land-holdings: The seemingly abundance of net sown area of 141.2 million hectares and total cropped area of 189.7 million hectares (1999-2000) pales into insignificance when we see that it is divided into economically unviable small and scattered holdings.
The average size of holdings was 2.28 hectares in 1970-71 which was reduced to 1.82 hectares in 1980-81 and 1.50 hectares in 1995-96. The size of the holdings will further decrease with the infinite Sub-division of the land holdings.
Lack of mechanization: In spite of the large-scale mechanization of agriculture in some parts of the country, most of the agricultural operations in larger parts are carried on by human hand using simple and conventional tools and implements like wooden plough, sickle, etc.
Scarcity of capital: Agriculture is an important industry and like all other industries it also requires capital. The role of capital input is becoming more and more important with the advancement of farm technology. Since the agriculturists’ capital is locked up in his lands and stocks, he is obliged to borrow money for stimulating the tempo of agricultural production.
Getting started: Getting started on a small-scale farm usually involves a large amount of money up front. This is often out of reach for most people.
Environmental Concerns: Environmental concerns are often raised when people think of farming. It is often difficult to convince a community or the government that farming is safe for the environment.
The Lack of Institutional Help: There is an extreme lack of institutional help for farmers. This means farmers are often left to deal with all their problems on their own.
The Difficulty of Finding Locations for Farms: Farmers often find it difficult to find good locations for farm land. This is especially true in a world where a farm has to make money. A disused factory is often more attractive than a disused farm.
The Impact of Industry: Industry can often force farmers off their land if the farm cannot withstand the development of big business.
Possible Health Risks: The nature of the work done by farmers often means that farmers can be exposed to toxic substances. Because of this, farm accidents can expose people to substances that can cause various health problems.
The shifting nature of business: The business is highly dependent on conditions outside the control of the farmer. While this can lead to the farmer’s success, it can also mean that controlling conditions is the key to success.
Lack Of Optimality: It is often said that farmers want an optimal environment but companies only need a good enough environment. This means it is often difficult for farmers to be competitive because they care about every little detail of farming.
Lack of direct farming: Farmers often have to go through several middlemen before they can get their products to the end consumer. This makes it hard for farmers to know when they are making profits from their products.
Lack of Infra-products: Farmers often find that government agencies are uninterested in providing services to farmers. This is not always because government agencies are afraid of farmers, but because they lack the money and resources to be of assistance.