The fall in the price of crude oil in the international market has pushed the Nigerian economy to austerity limits. The Federal Government and other national stakeholders are now looking towards the agricultural sector as the major antidote to the austerity the country is facing. Young agripreneurs are faced with the heavy burden of obtaining capital for agricultural projects.
Listed below are some ways in which young agripreneurs can get finance for their agricultural projects.
i. Personal Savings
Young agripreneurs can obtain finance by cultivating the habit of saving. There are several businesses in the agro-allied sector that requires minimal startup capital. A very good method of generating huge capital for agriculture is by re investing any profit generated from previous agric projects. As a youth corp member, I have cultivated the habit of saving 50% of my monthly allowance for agricultural projects. It is expected that aspiring agripreneurs should desist from extravagant spending so as to conserve money, which can be channeled into agribusiness.
ii. Financial Institutions
The drop in global oil prices has proved that agriculture is the major avenue in which the national economy can be sustained. This revelation has prompted financial institutions to make soft loans available to the agro-allied industry. There are several banks that can fund agricultural projects. Young agripreneurs that aspires to obtain loans from these institutions should ensure that they have a bankable business plan which will be used to convince the relevant authorities on the feasibility of their projects. The major financial institutions in Nigeria that offers soft loans include: Bank of Agriculture (BOA), Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Bank of Industry (BOI), Diamond Bank, First Bank, Guaranty Trust Bank, Enterprise Bank, etc.
Young agripreneurs can also get finance for agriculture from grants provided by the Federal government, NGOs and business moguls. The Youth Enterprise with Innovation in Nigeria (YouWIN) is a Federal Government initiative that offers Nigerian entrepreneurial youths the opportunity to get a grant up to 10 million naira to finance their business idea. The beauty of this scheme is that special focus is placed on young agripreneurs in the competition. The 4th edition of the competition is currently ongoing and the deadline for business plan submission is the 15th of March, 2015. Interested agripreneurs should visit http://www.youwin.org.ng/apply-now. Other available business grants include: Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF), The Rolex Awards for enterprise, UNAOC Youth Solidarity Fund, CTA grants for Youth in agriculture, etc.
iv. Family and Friends
Young agripreneurs can also obtain funds from family and friends. It is expected that agripreneurs must be able to convince his/her family and friends on the feasibility of any agribusiness he or she wants to venture into. Also, young agripreneurs should approach their mentors for financial assistance. There are several mentors that will gladly sponsor young intending farmers.
v. Agricultural Cooperatives and Associations
Young agripreneurs can join agricultural cooperatives and associations available within their state or vicinity. There are several benefits attached to being a member of these organizations. Within these organizations, one can get easy access to loans provided by financial bodies. These organizations also provide trainings on the latest agricultural practices and innovations. By being members, they can also obtain soft loans and gain access to agricultural equipments at subsidized rates. There are several cooperatives and associations within Nigeria, examples of agricultural societies includes: Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN), Fishery Society of Nigeria, Nigeria Cassava growers Association, Fertilizers Producers and Suppliers Association of Nigeria, Yam Growers Association of Nigeria, Rice Processors Association of Nigeria, etc.