Agribusiness is usually a vertical group containing multiple operations that can include, but not limited to farming. ADEMOLA ALAWIYE writes on how to make a living from the sector
There is a variety of business activities involved in getting agricultural produce to consumers. The activities include the growing of the food, its processing, packaging, its distribution and marketing. The term agribusiness encompasses the businesses found in any of these activities.
With a remarkable rise in urban populations across the country, the need for fresh foods to cater for these people is inevitable. Trends toward industrialisation have left fewer entrepreneurs to concentrate on food production. It is, therefore, a good sector for one to make profit, while at the same time contributing to the world’s food supply.
The rise in food prices and the increased demand for consumables have created viable opportunities in the agricultural sector. Agriculturists say shrewd entrepreneurs can make enough money in farming business. They note that farming incomes will rise dramatically in the next few decades, faster than those in most other industries.
This, they say, is because of the rise in the prices of agricultural produce and the market for such items. Experts say the present day economy does not need more bankers, but more people in the agribusiness sector. According to them, the world has got a serious food problem and the only real way to solve it is to get more entrepreneurs back to agriculture.
They explain that agribusiness opens a lot of opportunities for entrepreneurs who wish to invest in the sector. These opportunities can help entrepreneurs to create wealth and provide jobs for the unemployed. Experts say technology, service jobs and finance have been the basis of the economy for over 20 years. They maintain that farming is becoming the economic equivalent of most sectors that drive any particular economy.
On how the farmer can help to create jobs, experts say there is a possible renaissance in farm towns. According to them, the flow of money in agribusinesses will prompt farmers to seek where to invest. An investor in the sector, Mr. Wale Ashiru, says farmers will put their money in new industries that will create uses for their crops, like biodegradable plastics, other kinds of biofuels or similar agricultural products.
He says, “When this is done, you can be sure that the end result will be more jobs. Agriculture is a dynamic sector and it is the most critical story in our economy and has the potential to affect the future of the world positively.”
Below are some important steps that will help an entrepreneur to make enough money in the agribusiness sector, according to experts:
Create your own distinctive market
Experts say it is important for an entrepreneur to create a niche for himself in the sale of a particular produce. They note that the entrepreneur should attract a niche market with the crops that he chooses to sell. For instance, they say that the entrepreneur could sell organic produce and vegetables as well as hard-to-find varieties of edibles to local grocery stores. He could also sell some of these produce to restaurants as fresh or canned products. According to experts, this does not imply that the entrepreneur must grow fruits and vegetables on farms, but can have a nursery on his property, where varieties of vegetables and other crops are planted.
When customers know that they can always get some selected produce from you, they will always patronise your farm, experts say. This will lead to increased returns and will provide the entrepreneur with enough funds.
Supply fresh produce
Adigun notes that you can sell a fresh produce basket several times monthly. This, he says, can be sold as a subscription service. The idea is to have the produce fresh and attractive to your customers. Experts say your subscription service should be filled with a variety of the fruits and vegetables you grow on your farm.
They note that you can charge your customers a percentage of the subscription fee upfront and the balance in the middle of your growing or harvest season. For more income, experts say the entrepreneur can also offer similar subscription service with fresh-cut flowers from his farm as well as other items of interest to his customers.
Give room for varieties
Allowing customers to visit your farm and pick their choice fruits at specific prices will also increase your income as an entrepreneur. Experts say the prices should be affordable and the produce must be fresh and attractive. Produce to be sold may include vegetables, fruits and a few tuber crops. Offering customers free boxes or bags to carry their items will also endear them to you and will make them want to visit whenever you open your doors.
Provide good and affordable produce
This is vital for the success of any agricultural business, experts say. The ability to provide quality produce for the market will attract buyers. However, the produce must be affordable; otherwise, you will give buyers the option of looking elsewhere for alternatives.
Develop your skills
Improving your skills in farming is also vital. You should know the current chemicals and fertilisers that will boost production. This may not be easy to know unless you improve your skills. Experts note that entrepreneurs in agriculture must update themselves with current skills in the business.
They also note that the entrepreneur should offer seasonal tours of his farm for a fee, as this will also increase his earnings. They say he should consider including a demonstration and food as part of the package.
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