The tropics cover almost 40% of the world´s area used for agriculture. Rainfall varies from humid to arid, and is sometimes influenced by monsoons or local topography. Many times, a large project in a tropical area will be the first of its kind, and there will be many unknowns related to diseases, growth potential of the selected crops, logistics of the market, or a workforce that may be unfamiliar with the specific crops involved in the project. Additionally, there may not be much research regarding the performance of a given crop planted in a new area, and trying to copy what others have done elsewhere may therefore not yield the expected results.
The tropics are full of agricultural projects that don’t work out or that do not live up to their full potential. Millions of dollars have been wasted and time lost with crops that were not grown properly at the site where they were planted, that were avoidably damaged before reaching the market, or did not meet the financial metrics on which the project was based. These issues are just a few examples of what can go wrong in tropical agricultural supply chain processes.
Tropical Agricultural Consulting, Inc. (TAC) consultants bring experience in this type of situation and can help clients determine risks and how best to mitigate them.
Although all projects involve risks, good project ideas can sometimes fail or yield results that are less than expected due to activities that could have been planned better or issues that could have been prevented if identified in time.
TAC consultants review project goals with the project owners to help identify potential problems (and ways to overcome them) such as:
1. No clear sustainable advantage in the market as compared with existing competitive volumes.
2. Available workforce is untrained and/or there is a lack of skilled supervisors in a remote location.
3. Shipping schedules with limited access to the port of destination can cause delays in transport and increased logistics costs.
4. Lack of soil preparation, water supply, and farm design best practices before planting.
5. Lack of or changing government protocols that dramatically affect project feasibility.
6. Illogical timelines, productivity assumptions, or budgets that disappoint investors.
7. Planting the wrong crop variety, which may be susceptible to disease, insect outbreak, or weather stress.
8. Failure to consider local customs in project planning and labor contracts.
9. Failure to appropriately target/plan for the local supply of available employment for seasonal crops and the effects of a migrant workforce.
10. Requirements for environmental certifications that need to be followed before project begins, but that were unknown by project owners.
TAC consultants will review these types of potential hurdles with our clients prior to execution and will help find the necessary solutions to mitigate such issues.
Can you clearly explain why you believe your project will be successful?