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9th EUROPEAN

DEVELOPMENT FUND

MINISTRY OF ECONOMIC
DEVELOPMENT, BELIZE

BRDP Call for Proposal No. 7


AGRICULTURE ENTERPRISE DEVELOPMENT
FOR RURAL BELIZE (AED)
125993/M/ACT/BZ
Contract No. 002/09

Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) /


Farm Management Manual

Prepared by

Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI)


July 2010

GOOD AGRICULTURAL PRACTICES /FARM MANAGEMENT


This manual will help you manage your operations according to the guidelines of
Good Agricultural Practices or GAP. Good Agricultural Practices serves as a
tool for deciding, at each step in the production process, what practices and/or
outcomes to follow that are environmentally sustainable and in keeping with what
is socially acceptable in Belize. The implementation of GAP should therefore
contribute to Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development. GAP are at the core
of the project objectives of the UNDP/AED.
Why is CARDI recommending GAP?
We want you, as a progressive farmer of Belize, to manage your farm in ways that will
guarantee lasting success. These practices, like all good habits, will become your natural,
automatic response to production and marketing challenges. If you follow the guidelines you
will have a better chance of achieving your goals. We see GAP as an important part of overall
Farm Management. The decisions that you will have to make as a farm manager will be
flavoured by how closely they match up to recommended practices.
To be in a position to manage your farm effectively you should be aware of the standards by
which your products and operations will be judged. There are health and environmental
concerns that are only going to get more and more important. This manual and course will
help you understand and hopefully adopt some of these tried and tested agricultural practices.

Many Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) codes, standards and regulations have
been developed in recent years by the food industry and producers organizations.
In Belize, the Government and the Ministry of Agriculture have begun to place
standards on agricultural practices at farm level for a range of commodities. Some
of these guidelines are in fulfillment of trade and international requirements with
regard to food safety and quality. Other agencies like the Belize Sugarcane
Farmers are following more specific requirements of specialty or niche markets
like Fairtrade. The objective of these GAP codes, standards and regulations revolve
around:

ensuring safety and quality of produce in the food chain


capturing new market advantages by modifying supply chain governance
improving natural resources use, workers health and working conditions
creating new market opportunities for farmers and exporters in developing
countries
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Good Agricultural Practices are "practices that address environmental, economic


and social sustainability for on-farm processes, and result in safe and quality food
and non-food agricultural products"

These practices, when implemented by the majority of farmers, will lead to:
The economical and efficient production of sufficient, safe and nutritious
food
The sustainable use of natural resources
The maintenance of viable farming enterprises thereby contributing to
sustainable livelihoods
The maintenance of cultural and social norms
Belize already has well defined GAP/Eurogap compliance modes. The Belize
Agricultural Health Authority (BAHA) is the recognized agency overseeing GAP
compliance. So what does all this mean in everyday English? The term "good
agricultural practices" is used to refer to widely varying operations, from
monitoring of pesticides use, to aspects of primary production and post harvest
systems, such as the environmental impact of your farm operations or labour
conditions.
The object of this manual/course is to focus on "food safety and quality GAPs "that
can induce more sustainable farming practices as opposed to the so-called "food
security or sustainability GAPs".

Potential benefits and challenges related to Good


Agricultural Practices

Potential Benefits of GAP


Appropriate adoption and monitoring of GAP helps improve the safety and
quality of food and other agricultural products
It may help reduce the risk of non-compliance with national and
international regulations, standards and guidelines, regarding permitted
pesticides, maximum levels of contaminants in food and non-food
agricultural products, as well as other chemical, microbiological and
physical contamination hazards
Adoption of GAP helps promotes sustainable agriculture and contributes to
meeting national and international environment and social development
objectives
Challenges Related to GAP
In some cases GAP implementation and especially record keeping and
certification will increase production costs for resource-poor farmers. In this
respect, lack of harmonization between existing GAP-related schemes and
availability of affordable certification systems has often led to increased
confusion and certification costs for farmers and exporters
Standards of GAP can be used to unfairly block producers out of certain
markets. Buyers of produce may attempt to impose realistic or unattainable
standards to serve their own interests
There is a high risk that small scale farmers will not be able to seize export
market opportunities unless they are adequately informed, technically
prepared and organized to meet this new challenge with governments and
public agencies playing a facilitating role. That is why the AED project has
included training on GAP, Clusters/Cooperatives and farm management
Compliance with GAP standards does not always foster all the
environmental and social benefits that are claimed
Farmers need to be shown, with practical applications, how the GAP will
lead to improvements in terms of yield and production efficiencies as well as
environment and health and safety of workers

We will consider the GAP in terms of:


natural resources (energy, soil, air, water, wild plants and animals)
cultural resources (landscape, traditional buildings, historic
archaeological features and public access)
farm livestock (health and welfare)
farm labour (safety)
the general public (food safety and public health)

and

Farm Management
This aspect of the manual/course provides participants with the tools to pay
attention to detail on all aspects of managing the total farm operation. Farm
management is a learned set of skills that allows the manager to make informed
decisions and to implement changes that will move the operation toward its goals.
The CARDl facilitator will introduce Farm Management as a decision-making
activity that will help you decide how you go about your farming business. The
basic decisions of the farming business are:
(a) What to produce or what combination of different enterprises to follow?
(b) How much to produce and what is the most profitable level of production?
(c) What should be the size of an individual enterprise, which, in turn, will
determine the best overall size of the farm business?
(d) What methods of production (production practices or what type of quality of
inputs and their combination) should be used?
(e) What and where to market?

Good Agricultural Practices


Let us take a look at the range of practices that are included in the GAP and the
aspects of agriculture they impact
Energy and Waste Management
Very often we do not think about waste management until the end of a process.
GAP means thinking about waste management even before you start operations, so
that your planning completes the loop of activities that you want to engage in.
Energy and waste management are also components of sustainable production
systems. Farms require fuel to drive machinery for cultural operations, for
processing, and for transport. The objective is to perform operations in a timely
fashion, reduce the drudgery of human labour, improve efficiency, diversify energy
sources, and reduce energy use.
Good Agricultural Practices related to energy and waste management will include:
Using energy saving practices in building design, machinery size,
maintenance and use
investigating alternative energy sources to fossil fuels such as using Biogas
as promoted in the UNDP/AED Project

recycling organic wastes and inorganic materials e.g. through composting


maintaining accurate records of energy use eg diesel used to operaye pumps,
storage, and disposal
minimizing non-usable wastes and disposing of them responsibly (by not
leaving used pesticide containers exposed to the elements or in positions
where they can contaminate soil or water)
storing fertilizers and agrochemicals securely and in accordance with
legislation
establishing and rehearsing emergency action procedures to minimize the
risk of pollution from accidents
Soil
The physical and chemical properties and functions, organic matter and biological
activity of the soil are fundamental to sustaining agricultural production and are
key to soil fertility and productivity. Appropriate soil management aims to
maintain and improve soil productivity by improving the availability and plant
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uptake of water and nutrients through enhancing soil biological activity,


replenishing soil organic matter and soil moisture, and minimizing losses of soil,
nutrients, and agrochemicals through erosion, runoff and leaching into surface or
ground water. Though soil management is generally undertaken at field/farm level,
it affects the surrounding area or catchment due to off-site impacts on runoff,
sediments, nutrients movement, and mobility of livestock and associated species
including predators, pests and biological control agents.
Good Agricultural Practices related to soil include:
maintaining and improving soil organic matter through the use of compost,
manure and other soil ameliorants (material that you add to the soil to
improve it)
rotating crops to enable the soil to build up and replace the nutrients
extracted by the previous crop. On occasion the land may be left fallow or
converted to pasture
maintaining soil cover to provide a welcoming environment for the
microorganisms and earthworms living in the soil. These organisms help
breakdown soil and make it more fertile
rational mechanical and/or conservation tillage by not over ploughing or
rotovating the soil. Ensuring hard pans or dust bowls are not created
rotating pastures by moving the animals from paddock to paddock
adding chemical fertilizers only after soil analysis to reduce wastage and
toxic buildup in the soil or pollution of aquifers and surface water
applying chemical fertilizers as recommended by the manufacturers and the
Ministry of Agriculture. Application methods should match the formulation
of the fertilizer, e.g. foliar fertilizers should be in solution and applied
directly to leaves, whereas a granular formulation would be applied in the
drip zone
establishing beds or rows along the contours on sloping land
Maintaining a protective cover crop on sloping land to reduce erosion and
inevitable soil loss
Water
Agriculture carries a high responsibility for the management of water resources in
quantitative and qualitative terms. Careful management of water resources and
efficient use of water for rainfed crop and pasture production, for irrigation where
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applicable, and for livestock, are criteria for GAP. Efficient irrigation technologies
and management will minimize waste and will avoid excessive leaching and
salinization. Water tables should be managed to prevent excessive rise or fall.
Good Agricultural Practices related to water will include:
improving soil structure and increasing soil organic matter content; that will
help the soil hold more water and reduces the frequency with which water
has to be applied
applying only those production inputs (including waste or recycled products
of organic, inorganic and synthetic nature) that will not contaminate of water
resources
monitoring crop and soil water status through the use of simple techniques
like sample rolling or through the use of electronic probes
accurately scheduling irrigation
routinely checking the quality of water from on-farm wells and managing
water tables to prevent excessive extraction
preventing soil salinization by adopting water-saving measures and recycling where possible
providing adequate, safe, clean watering points for livestock in extensive,
open range systems
using drip irrigation techniques as opposed to sprinkler systems

managing ground and soil water by proper use, or avoidance of drainage


where possible. Thus using the pitch of drains to slow water movement out
of the plot
directing guttered water from buildings into storage tanks or ponds
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adopting techniques to enhance the functioning of the water cycle by


establishing permanent cover and maintaining watersheds
maintaining or restoring wetlands as necessary
Natural Environment
Agricultural land accommodates a diverse range of animals, birds, insects, and
plants. There have been persistent concerns that modern farming adversely affects
biodiversity. It is believed that farming can cause the loss of some non-target
species from the countryside because their habitats have been destroyed. The
challenge for farmers in Belize is to manage and enhance wildlife and other
habitats while keeping the farm business economically viable.
Good Agricultural Practices related to the natural environment will include:
identifying and conserving wildlife habitats and landscape features, such as
trees of historical or cultural significance, on or near your farm
creating a diverse cropping pattern on the farm as close as possible to an
integrated farm to avoid the large scale concentration of one family of plants
or animals
minimizing the impact of operations such as tillage and agrochemical use on
wildlife
managing field margins to reduce noxious weeds and to encourage a diverse
flora and fauna with beneficial species
managing streams, other watercourses and wetlands to encourage wildlife
and to prevent pollution
monitoring those species of plants and animals whose presence on the farm
is evidence of good environmental practice and acceptable diversity

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Crop and Fodder Production


Crop and fodder production involves the selection of annual and perennial crops,
their cultivars and varieties, to meet local consumer and market needs according to
their suitability to the site and their role within the crop rotation for the
management of soil fertility, pests and diseases, and their response to available
inputs. Perennial crops are used to provide long-term production options and
opportunities for intercropping. Annual crops are grown in sequences, including
those with pasture, to maximize the biological benefits of interactions between
species and to maintain productivity. Harvesting of all crop and animal products
removes their nutrient content from the site and must ultimately be replaced to
maintain long-term productivity.
Good Agricultural Practices related to crop and fodder production will include
Selecting the most appropriate cultivars and varieties on an understanding of
their characteristics, including:
o
o
o
o
o
o
o
o

response to sowing or planting time


productivity
quality
market acceptability
nutritional value
disease and stress resistance
climatic adaptability
response to fertilizers and agrochemicals
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devising crop sequences to optimize use of labour and equipment


maximizing the biological benefits of weed control by:
o
o
o
o

competition
mechanical
biological
herbicide options

providing non-host crops to minimize disease


including legumes to provide a biological source of nitrogen
applying fertilizers, organic and inorganic
o in a balanced fashion
o with appropriate methods and equipment
o at adequate intervals to replace nutrients extracted by harvest or lost
during production
o maximizing the benefits to soil and nutrient stability by re-cycling
crop and other organic residues
integrating livestock into crop rotations and utilize the nutrient cycling
provided by grazing or housed livestock to benefit the fertility of the entire
farm
rotating livestock on pastures to allow for healthy re-growth of individual
paddocks
learning to use equipment in compliance with safety regulations and
observing established safety standards for the operation of equipment and
machinery for crop and fodder production
Crop Protection
Maintenance of crop health is essential for successful farming for both yield and
quality of produce. This requires long-term strategies to manage risks by the use of
disease- and pest-resistant crops, crop and pasture rotations, disease breaks for
susceptible crops, and the thoughtful use of agrochemicals to control weeds, pests,
and diseases following the principles of Integrated Pest Management. Any measure
for crop protection, but particularly those involving substances that are harmful for
humans or the environment, must only be carried out with consideration for
potential negative impacts and with full knowledge and appropriate equipment.
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Good Agricultural Practices related to crop protection will include:


Identifying the known pests an diseases of the crop
Listing and being guided by the conditions under which the known pests and
diseases strike
using resistant cultivars and varieties
using crop sequences, associations, and cultural practices that maximize
biological prevention of pests and diseases
learning how to assess the balance status between pests and diseases and
beneficial organisms of the crops you are planting
utilize organic control practices where and when applicable
deciding on interventions following consideration of:
o farm productivity
o environmental implications of agrochemicals
o integrated pest management (IPM)
maintaining accurate records of agrochemical use.
storing and using agrochemicals according to legal requirements of
registration for individual crops, rates, timings, and pre-harvest intervals
ensuring that agrochemicals are only applied by trained and knowledgeable
persons
ensuring that equipment used for the handling and application of
agrochemicals complies with established safety and maintenance standards
Animal Production
Livestock require adequate space, feed, and water for welfare and productivity.
Stocking rates must be adjusted and supplements provided as needed to livestock
grazing pasture or rangeland. Chemical and biological contaminants in livestock
feeds are avoided to maintain animal health and/or to prevent their entry into the
food chain. Manure management minimizes nutrient losses and stimulates positive
effects on the environment. Land requirements are evaluated to ensure sufficient
land for feed production and waste disposal.

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Good Agricultural Practices related to animal production will include:


siting livestock units appropriately to avoid negative effects
o
o
o
o

on the landscape
on the environment
with regard to animal welfare
of biological, chemical, and physical contamination of pasture, feed,
water, and the atmosphere

frequently monitoring the condition of stock


adjusting stocking rates
feeding approved and balanced rations
monitoring the quality and quantity of water supplied
choosing and maintaining equipment, structures, and handling facilities to
avoid injury and loss
preventing residues from veterinary medications and other chemicals given
in feeds from entering the food chain
minimizing the non-therapeutic use of antibiotics
integrate livestock and agriculture to avoid problems of
o waste removal
o nutrient loss
o greenhouse gas emissions by efficient recycling of nutrients
following safety regulations and observing established safety standards for
equipment and machinery for animal production
maintaining records of
o
o
o
o
o
o

stock acquisitions
breeding crosses
losses
sales
feeding plans
choice of feed

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Animal Health and Welfare


Successful animal production requires attention to animal health that is maintained
by proper management and housing, by preventive treatments such as vaccination,
and by regular inspection, identification, and treatment of ailments, using
veterinary advice as required. Farm animals are capable of feeling and as such
under international guidelines and humane considerations their welfare is
important. Good animal welfare is recognized as freedom from hunger and thirst;
freedom from discomfort; freedom from pain, injury or disease; freedom to express
normal behaviour; and freedom from fear and distress.
Good Agricultural Practices related to animal health and welfare will include
Minimizing the risk of infection and disease by:

good pasture management


safe feeding
appropriate stocking rates
good housing conditions
keeping livestock, buildings and feed facilities clean
providing adequate, clean bedding where livestock is housed
ensuring every one on the farm is properly trained in the handling and
treatment of animals
seeking appropriate veterinary advice to avoid disease and health problems
ensuring good hygiene standards in housing by proper cleansing and
disinfection
treating sick or injured animals promptly in consultation with a veterinary
professional
using only approved veterinary products in accordance with regulations and
directions, including withholding periods
provide adequate and appropriate feed and clean water at all times
avoid non-therapeutic mutilations, surgical or invasive procedures, such as
tail docking and debeaking
minimizing transportation of live animals
handling animals with appropriate care and avoid the use of instruments
such as electric goads
ensuring that minimum space allowances and maximum stocking densities
are respected

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Human Welfare, Health and Safety


Human welfare, health and safety are further components of sustainability.
Farming must be economically viable to be sustainable. The social and economic
welfare of farmers, farm workers, and your communities depends upon it. Health
Article 8 of C184 Safety and Health in Agriculture Convention, 2001
1. Workers in agriculture shall have the right:
(a) to be informed and consulted on safety and health matters including risks from new technologies;
(b) to participate in the application and review of safety and health measures and, in accordance with
national law and practice, to select safety and health representatives and representatives in safety and
health committees; and
(c) to remove themselves from danger resulting from their work activity when they have reasonable
justification to believe there is an imminent and serious risk to their safety and health and so inform their
supervisor immediately. They shall not be placed at any disadvantage as a result of these actions.
2. Workers in agriculture and their representatives shall have the duty to comply with the prescribed
safety and health measures and to cooperate with employers in order for the latter to comply with their
own duties and responsibilities.
3. The procedures for the exercise of the rights and duties referred to in paragraphs 1 and 2 shall be
established by national laws and regulations, the competent authority, collective agreements or other
appropriate means.
4. Where the provisions of this Convention are implemented as provided for by paragraph 3, there shall
be prior consultation with the representative organizations of employers and workers concerned.

and safety are also important concerns for everyone involved in farming
operations. Due care and diligence is required at all times. With regard to
agricultural workers, the International Labour Organisation in collaboration with
governments, employers and trade unions, has developed core conventions on
labour including codes of practice for agriculture. The convention on Labour
Inspection was ratified by Belize on 15 December 1983 however C184 Safety and
Health in Agriculture Convention 2001, has not yet been ratified.

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Good Agricultural Practices related to human welfare, health and safety will
include:
The provision of safe work procedures with acceptable working hours and
allowance for rest periods
Instructing of workers in the safe and efficient use of tools and machinery
The payment of reasonable wages
Treating workers fairly and not exploiting them, especially women
Purchasing inputs and other services from local merchants where possible
and practicable
Exercising a sense of social responsibility as demonstrated by equal concern
for economic and community goals
A policy on food security and food sovereignty
Harvest and On-farm Processing and Storage
Product quality also depends upon implementation of acceptable protocols for
harvesting, storage, and where appropriate, processing of farm products.
Harvesting must conform to regulations relating to pre-harvest intervals for
agrochemicals and withholding periods for veterinary medicines. Food produce
should be stored under appropriate conditions of temperature and humidity in
space designed and reserved for that purpose. Operations involving animals, such
as milking and slaughter, must meet animal health and welfare standards.
Good Agricultural Practices related to harvest and on-farm processing and storage
will include:
Purchasing produce-appropriate containers for all transporting and storing
operations
Training field staff to recognize maturity indices
Harvesting fruits and vegetables at the appropriate times to easily reduce
field heat
Harvesting food products following relevant pre-harvest intervals and
withholding periods especially when agrichemicals have been used
providing clean and safe infrastructure for on-farm processing of products
(designated areas shoul be
using recommended detergents and clean water to sanitize produce
storing food products under hygienic and appropriate environmental
conditions
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packing food produce for transport within and from the farm in clean and
appropriate containers
using methods of pre-slaughter handling and slaughter that are humane and
appropriate for each species
supervising and training of workers on the maintenance of equipment
Farm Management
Farm management deals with the organization and operation of the farm to
maximize profits from the farm business every year, to keep abreast of changes in
methods, price variability and available resources.
Farm management is the science that deals with:

how to use alternative resources alternatives


opportunities within the framework of resource restrictions as well as
social and personal constraints of the farming business
how you raise your living standard

However, farm management does not only deal exclusively with the maximization
of income. In fact, it is supposed to take into takes into account the goals,
objectives and requirements, i.e. food, fodder, fuel and fiber of the individual
farmer other than income maximization. So, this discipline deals with people or
organizers and decision-makers in respect of farms and agricultural production. It
is people oriented rather than directed at crops or livestock only.
Farm management is a decision-making science. It helps to decide the basic course
of action of the farming business. The basic decisions of the farming business are:
1. What to produce or what combination of different enterprises to follow?
2. How much to produce and what is the most profitable enterprise?
3. What should the size of an individual enterprise, which, in turn, will
determine the best overall size of the farm business?
4. What methods of production (production practices or the quality of inputs
and their combination) should be used?
5. What and where to market?

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Management of a Farm
Here the concern is not just the distribution of labour and irrigation water for dayto-day operations, but the emphasis is on the decision-making function of
evaluating and choosing between alternative strategies.
You will need to be adaptable and versatile, as you will be expected to carry out
practical farm skills as well as maintain financial records and develop
comprehensive short and long-term property management strategies.
Organisational skills and the ability to plan ahead are also important, as you have
to apply different strategies to protect yourself from unpredictable changes in the
market for agricultural products. Such strategies might include carefully planning
the combination of crops grown, so that if the price of one crop drops, sufficient
income can be yielded from other crops. In some cases, livestock can be kept, and
crops stored, in order to take advantage of better prices at a later time.
Setting Production Goals
One of the first tasks of a farm manager is to decide on what to produce. Many of
the possible choices will have to be based on the amount of resources you have,
land, labour, money, water etc. Your choice may be limited by the weather or the
availability or cost of certain inputs.
Your basic plan will set out how much you want to produce. Your business plan
does not have to be as formal a document as that you would prepare to approach a
bank for a loan. Basically you want to include:

Choice of produce
Marketing arrangements
Production arrangements
Financial management

Choice of Produce
This stage can be characterized by writing down a number of possibilities that
interest you either for cultural, financial or social reasons. You must make a
decision about the extent to which you will be involved with the product. If you
decide on Papaya, are you going to sell the green and turning fruit directly at the
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market or are you going to sell seedlings or are you going to vacuum seal the
papaya slices. If you decided on pigs, are you going to just do fattening and buy
all your piglets or are you going to have farrowed sows and standing boars.
Marketing Arrangements
You do not want to fall in to the trap of producing something and then scampering
to find someone to buy it. Whilst it is advisable to sell your produce under some
form of contractual arrangement, that is not always possible. You have to
determine exactly how you are going to attempt to sell your produce and at around
what price. If you do not have historical data on the price at this time of year then
you should talk to officials at the Ministries of Trade and Agriculture, You need an
idea of the price for similar products . You must have a fair idea of who is likely
to buy your product and what they consider value .. even texture, uniform
colour, flavour etc.
Your understanding of the market helps to keep all your other activities on track.
Every thing you do on the farm is geared towards producing a quality product
based on what your market wants. Very early in the game you must confirm what
cultivar or breed is the desired type and how and where your market wants it
delivered.
Production Arrangements
At this stage all your skills are going to be tested. You already know what the
market wants; now you have to use all the resources at your command to achieve
it. You must now collect all the inputs and use them in accordance with the
methods you have learnt to husband the plants and/or animals. You have to
schedule operations, preferably in written form (or electronically on your
computer) so you do not have to rely on memory. All of the Good Agricultural
Practices that are applicable should be used.
Ideally, you should plan all your routine operations. Given the risks in agricultural
production there will always be events that require emergency or non-routine
operations. This is one instance where you will value the records that are being
kept. You can search your records to see if you ever encountered a similar
problem or to locate likely sources of assistance.
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Basic Record Keeping


You should keep at the barest minimum three kinds of records for each crop or
livestock operation.
Resource use (inputs, land, water fuel)
Operations (daily/weekly/other)
Financial
During this training program you will be given templates and actual samples of
basic records.
The trick to record keeping is consistency. You must develop a routine of updating
the records or having them updated. It may seem time-consuming but in the long
run you will be able to track your progress, better inform advisors and
professionals from the Ministry or CARDI about what has happened on your farm.
For example you may have used a recommended insecticide and not had the
desired effect. Subsequent review of your records may show that you used the
Wettable Powder formulation whereas under the prevailing conditions it may have
been better to use the Emulsifiable Concentrate.
The more detailed your record keeping the more likely early corrective action can
be taken. If you noted the exact day you began seeing discoloured areas on the
sweet pepper plants you rogued that means you were actively searching through
the crop for signs of disease, and that you can probably avoid above threshold
damage. If you kept accurate records of when particular sows were served then you
can also track the performance of the boars as well, in terms of litter size, average
weight at 3 days at weaning etc. these documents can eventually tell you which
gilts should be kept for sow replacement given past performance of the sow/boar
combination or where you should purchase piglets for fattening.
Financial Management
This is the aspect of farm management that interests most farmers. Financial
management is not only about keeping hold of all the financial dealings. It is again
about making decisions, what to buy, when, where, from whom, quantity, quality
and at what cost, the same analysis holds for whatever is to be sold.
Apart from cash in hand and listing what other people owe you, there is a need to
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keep track of the money you spent and what you owe. Throughout the Caribbean
farmers have been incorrectly calculating their cost of production by not accurately
measuring actual expenditure. Only with proper records can you keep track of all
the costs associated with the crop or growout. Common errors include thinking
that all the cash spent at the time of the crop are real costs to that crop. If you
bought $200 worth of fertilizer during the crop it is usual to assume that the entire
$200 should be made from profit on that crop. Usually there is about half of the
bag of fertilizer left . that means that only $100 worth of fertilizer was used on
the crop. Mistakes like these are avoided when accurate records are kept.
You can track financial flows through entries in the records showing who was paid
what, for each task. Proper record keeping also allows you to cost activities for
which no money exchanged hands. Very often farmers do not record the value of
family labour or that of friends. A false sense of profit may be attributed to that
activity which can fall flat on the occasions when you have to pay for it.

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