There is an increasing interest in farming and land is the most important item in that regard. Therefore, site selection for farming purposes is a vital discussion for the farmer.
We are presenting very important points or factors with elaborations, to consider in when you want to acquire land for agricultural purpose.
First, we would like to state the general definition of agriculture which we believe is the pillar for all the land acquisition considerations. Basically, Agriculture is the cultivation of crops and the rearing of animals to produce food for human consumption.
Now let us look at the points to consider in site selection for farming purpose.
1. Climatic factors
By this, we are referring to rainfall, humidity, wind pressure and direction, temperature etc. These factors must be favourable to the farming enterprise you choose be it crops or animals. Different types of crops do well under a certain range of climatic conditions, likewise certain animals. It is, therefore, relevant to consider the factors that will promote your farming enterprise and avoid those that will not.
2. Socio-economic factors
These factors include infrastructure, population, settlements, market, labour and others. Infrastructure, includes access roads, electricity, water, telecommunication, health facilities, police station etc. The presence of these makes it suitable to site a venture like a poultry farm. However, proximity to the urban settlement may make it unsuitable. Another example is security and health considerations which will require the presence of health facilities and police presence, respectively. You may need a market close to your farm and available labour. Careful thought and research must be carried out to assess the suitability of a farm site in the presence or absence of all or a combination of the socio-economic factors.
Read also: Detailed steps on how to Start a Farm
3. Edaphic factors
These are related to soil conditions like structure, fertility, texture, porosity, consistency etc. These soil factors determine the suitable farming enterprise be it crops or animals. Lands with clayey soils may be suited for fish farming, with all other factors favourable. Some lands are prone to flooding and/or erosion. These lands, depending on your resources may be managed to set up a profitable farm eg. fish farming. However, with a crop farm like vegetables and tree crops in mind, avoid such areas as it will not favour the crops.
4. Environmental factors
Your farming operations should not have a negative impact on the environment. Some farming activities, when exposed to human or animals, can be harmful. This is usually the case when farms are site close to the urban area. On the other hand, the environment may also have a negative impact on your farm, reducing productivity. Some farms are forced to move or change operation and the urban developments catch up. It is therefore very important to consider this factor in the selection of your site for farming.
5. Government policies
Various government make policies that help them to achieve growth in agriculture. Take advantage of it and set up your farm in a location likely to benefit from the implementation of the policy. For example, the government may decide to cut taxes for farms in a particular area or zone of the country. Also, the government may increase the allocation of subsidised fertilizer and other agro-inputs for certain areas of the countries. You may build a farm in such areas to take advantage of it. You must consider Government policies in your site selection for farming purpose.
6. Biotic factors
This is relating to the presence or absence of some harmful or beneficial organisms. In site selection for farming purposes, you may consider the natural population of certain organisms like bees and other pollinators. and less pest and disease-causing organisms. Where the farming venture involves tree crops, farmlands in forest areas are preferred. However, places with a long history of pests and diseases may be avoided. Also, you should be careful in choosing a site with certain dominant weeds which are difficult to control.
7. Economic factors
If you want your agricultural business to thrive, then this factor is the most important to consider. It includes the cost, benefits and terms of lease or acquisition. You need to carry out a feasibility study of the site to make sure that it will yield enough returns to sustain your farm. This will give you an idea and better understanding, at the time of site selection, the site that will give you the highest returns, taking into consideration all the other factors.
The site may determine the suitable farming enterprise and vice versa. Before you reach a decision on the site for your farm or the right enterprise for your site, use all available expertise.