Mentor ship Corner

HOW TO ACCESS FINANCE FOR YOUR AGRIBUSINESS DURING RECESSION

 

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In line with the current economic situation, Agrihub together with other partners has decided to host a virtual workshop to engage youths in Agriculture on how to Access Finance for your Agribusiness.

As part of its capacity building activities, Agrihub Nigeria invites you to participate in the themed workshop – Financing Agriculture for Economic Development.

This Workshop will be in Partnership with Agropreneur Nigeria and it will be a series of 4 events held over the coming week. The initial 3 events will be online while the 4th a physical meeting.

For now, the event will mostly require you to view pre-recorded videos with some of the speakers and engage with them via tweets for questions and comments. Speakers will discuss on different topics on Financing Agriculture for Economic Development.

This will require your engagements via your twitter handle, please use the hashtag #Agrifunding and tag @agrihubng in all questions, and comments on twitter.

Objective of the Workshop

The objective of the workshop is to ensure that participants have the understanding of the various forms of financing that are available to them in the agricultural sector while at the same time change the mindset that only commercial banks or government can finance agribusinesses.

Schedule of Events

  • On Saturday, November 19th, 2016, Begin of Online Workshop on funding Agriculture for Economic Development with the Upload and streaming of series of pre-recorded interviews around the theme from 9am via the AgriHub Youtube Page.

 

  • On Tuesday, November 22nd, We will have a tweet chat with Dr. Mayowa Oguntoyinbo CEO Freshly Yours Ltd, on Record Keeping for Agribusinesses from 5 – 7 pm. Please use the hashtag #agrifunding and tag @agrihubng in all questions, and comments on twitter.basicbookkeepingagrihubnov22seminar-tweetchat
  • On Thursday, November 24th, We will have a tweet chat on Insurance in Agriculture based on information received during an interview with a representative of the Nigerian Agriculture Insurance Co-operation, NAIC from 5 – 7 pm. Please use the hashtag #agrifunding and tag @agrihubng in all questions, and comments on twitter.

  • There will be a number of viewing centers across Lagos to discuss the said topics and spark the conversations around financing agriculture. YPARD and Agroprenuer Naija, will moderate Physical Group Discussions at 2 locations, 9 Adepegba Street, Ilupeju and The Jetty, Wole Olateju, Crescent off Admiralty way Lekki Phase 1 , Lekki, Lagos from 12 – 2 pm on Saturday, November 26th, 2016 where opportunities and next steps forward will be discussed.

NB: Speakers would be available on Twitter at various times of the day to answer possible questions from viewers. Questions and comments can be asked on twitter on Sunday 20th November by 5 – 7 pm

See Agrihub’s Youtube Page for All Speaker Videos http://bit.ly/2g5JSNw

PS: Twitter comments are be welcomed and will be discussed during these conversations.

Please register here to gain access to the videos and ATTEND the physical event at http://agrihub.org/REGISTRATION/

Speaker Videos

Speaker 1 Welcome and Introduction by Agrihub

Introduction to Workshop by Ronke Aderinoye, Founder and CEO Agrihub Nigeria discussing on why talk about Finance in Agriculture now. A description of Agrihub Nigeria and an overview of the agenda. http://bit.ly/2gtCI7o

Speaker 2 Finance in Agriculture; Types of Finance available.

Financing Options for Agribusiness by Ada Osakwe, CEO Agrolay Ventures, Nuli Juice and Foods. Discusses what Finance options are available to Agric businesses http://bit.ly/2g5DBRY

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Speaker 3: Funding Opportunities Available and the Challenges (Panel Discussion) –What records are necessary, what amount can be accessed?

Micro Finance Bank: Micro Finance in Agriculture by Gbemi Awoniyi-Folayan http://bit.ly/2fF9bWb

Speaker 5 Agrihub’s “Financing Agriculture for Economic Development”

Real Life Experiences of an Agropreneur in Nigeria, by Seun Abolaji, Founder, Wilson’s Juice Co. http://bit.ly/2fF8tZ3

Concluding Remark, Agrihub’s “Financing Agriculture for Economic Development”

Conclusion by Ronke Aderinoye http://bit.ly/2fF9IaC

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Growing In Confidence: Understanding Latest Farming Technologies, Creating Opportunities

Planting of rice using the DPS machine

Planting of rice using the DPS machine

Tolu while growing up loved Agriculture but wasn’t interested in taking up a profession in the sector, she was latter convinced by a close friend to study Medicine to become a medical doctor. After writing JAMB twice to study Medicine (but not offered admission), Tolu decided to take up soil science and land resources management offered to her at Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-ife, Osun state hoping to eventually change course to Faculty of health. She however, fell in love with the course and made up her mind to continue.

Today she leverages on her work at the International Fertilizer and Development Centre (IFDC) to facilitate farmers on using latest modern farming technology (UDP) aimed at increasing N fertilizer use efficiency in rice production among other crops, her interaction with farmers has enabled her to understand basic challenges farmers face and help proffer solutions and advice.

Tolu shares her excitement about future possibilities for Agriculture in Nigeria, if competent individuals with proven track record for getting things done are brought in and put in charge of farming centres established in each state of the Federation. She also advised continuation but review of the process and approach used for the Growth Enhancement Support scheme (GES) of the last administration for optimal result.

Q1. Can you briefly introduce yourself? How was growing up like for you?

Ans: I am Tolulope Ayeyemi, I hail from Itaogbolu in Akure North LGA, Ondo state. I attended Christ the King Nursery and Primary school Akure and proceeded to Saint Louis Grammar School, Akure for my secondary school education after which I got admission to Study Soil science and Land resources Management at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun state, Nigeria.

Q2. Can you please tell us how you came into farming/agribiz? Do you have a background in Agric? If No, Tell us why you considered agriculture?

Ans: Let me start this way, I had always loved agriculture, probably because my dad is a passionate agricultural science teacher and was my agric teacher at some point in secondary school, in fact I was a member of young farmers club in my secondary school however I wasn’t interested in taking up a profession in the agricultural sector. I had always wanted to be in the health sector, at first, I desired to be a Nurse but a very close friend convinced me to go in to Study Medicine and become a medical doctor, however things turned around when I was offered Agricultural economics and Extension at University of Ibadan at my first JAMB attempt. I didn’t take up the offer because I wasn’t interested in Agriculture as a profession. I took the next Jamb, this time, I was offered Soil Science and Land resources management at Obafemi Awolowo University, I didn’t have so many choices anymore and I had to take it with the hope that I will cross over to Faculty of Health sciences the next session or better still put in for another Jamb. I did put in for the Next Jamb, however I already made up my mind to continue with studying Soil science. During the university days as well, I was opportune to travel to Songhai farms for a training on integrated and sustainable agriculture, this further ignited my passion for agriculture and today am so happy to be a Soil scientist/Agronomist.

Q3. What aspect or nature of work in Agriculture do you practise in your work? Tell us about your interactions and experiences with farmers in your work?

Ans: Right from my university days, I have been involved in capacity building of smallholder farmers in different aspects. As an Harambe Nigeria fellow, myself and eight other young agri fellas worked with farmers in a particular commodity in Osun state and trained them on safe handling of pesticides, processing of their cassava into garri and storage/preservation of their vegetable products and fruits. It was quite an interesting experience. And for some years now, I have been involved in training farmers on improved/modern farming technologies through the establishment of demonstration plots which is thereafter used as a practical platform to train farmers. I have also been involved in training of youth spray service providers (YSSP) on safe and responsible handling of agrochemicals which includes both classroom facilitation as well as field demonstration. Moreso, I am also involved in the training of Agro input dealers for effective service delivery of agro inputs to farmers. Generally speaking, my activity centers around capacity building of major stakeholders in the farming community- smallholder farmers, agro dealers, spray service providers also called spray gangs.

Training of agro input dealers

 

 

Q4. What societal problems are you solving with your work and what solutions are you using in technology and practises? What are the hurdles currently being faced?

Ans: My activities have been solving problems that relate to environmental pollution from incessant application of agrochemicals, as well as helping farmers increase their yield through the use of improved technologies they have received training on. The challenges being faced is that farmers are somehow difficult to convince about the use of a new/improved technology and this is why the concept of demonstration plot is used when training farmers.

Q5. What do you think about youth participation in Agriculture?

Ans: In recent times, there seems to be an improvement in that regard probably because of the issues surrounding the oil and gas sector at the present moment. In addition, there are a number of similar activities just like Agropreneur Naija who are also involved in sensitizing youth in agriculture. By and large, I think youth participation in agriculture is on the increase. I have a number of young friends who are also involved in agriculture in one way or the other- production, processing, capacity building, marketing and lots more, however, it will be very interesting to see more youth venture into agriculture, the older generation are gradually fading off and the baton has to be taken by the young people.

Q6. What do you think are challenges of youth participation in agriculture, how has this affected Agricultural productivity in Nigeria?

Ans: One critical challenge about youth participation in agriculture is the drudgery. Ask youth about agriculture and the excuse they give is that it could be stressful, truth be told, yes, infact sometimes at the peak of the season, I get stressed up as well but tell me, which job doesn’t have its own kind of stress? Secondly, funding is also a major challenge, there’s no business that can run without some capital. Furthermore, the generation of youth we have these days are somewhat impatient, no matter the crops/animal you raise, it will take some time to get to maturity for sale and get some profit, and however youth are not interested in that kind of waiting, and they just want quick money.

Checking maize seedlings for pest attack

Checking maize seedlings for pest attack

 

Q7. Where do you see yourself in the next 5- 10 years from now?

Ans: In the next 5-10 years, I desire to own my personal commercial farm that will have both plant and animal section. I will also continue building the capacity of farmers most especially women farmers and I desire to be a mentor to female Agropreneurs.

Q8. What advice do you have for young people engaged in agriculture?

Ans: Agriculture is a very broad sector, my advice is they should be focused and get the best out of the aspect they are focused on, ask questions and get more knowledge.

Q9. What do you think government should put in place to improve the agric sector in Nigeria?

Ans: I am of the opinion that through a sort of public private partnership, the government of each state should establish modern farming centres with the kind of capacity and infrastructures that the popular Obasanjo farms has and employ people both skilled and unskilled labour to work there. I am assured that if this is done, aside providing employment for a good number of people, food production and distribution will also be increased. Aside this, government should put forward policies that will favour the small holder farmers and help him be able to sell his farm produce at the best market price. In the northern part of the country, more irrigation schemes should be constructed to enable farmer’s crop during the dry season. Furthermore, the growth enhancement support scheme (GES) of the last administration in which agro inputs were distributed to farmers at subsidized should continue and be made sustainable, however the process and approach should be reviewed in order to achieve optimal result.

A Nagropreneur’s Story – “I worked For Three Months Without Pay to Learn the Rudiments of Fishery Business”

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The popular saying goes: “there’s nothing you can’t achieve with hard work and belief in your cause”. This long-held maxim certainly applies to the very inspiring story of Adenuga Adeniyi, the NAA 2014 Nagropreneur of the year who was one of the fortunate 27 Nagropreneurs who received grants from the Federal Government during the Agrifest 2015 celebration which recently held in Abuja.

Adenuga Adeniyi, CEO, TEPEBO FARMS is a young, vibrant Nigerian who benefitted from the Youth Employment in Agriculture Program which was launched in 2014 by President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.

Buoyed by his deep passion and affinity for agriculture, Adeniyi, a graduate of the Federal University of Agriculture in Abeokuta, would visit different fish farms during the strike period and school breaks so as to have the much-needed on-farm experience which he so desired. In the course of doing this, Adenuga worked for three months without pay on a fish farm just to learn the rudiments of the business prior to his NYSC program.

Like every other budding dream on the move to attaining accomplishment, Adenuga’s dream faced several challenges ranging from unavailability of land, to scarcity of quality fingerlings, high cost of procuring feeds, adulterated feeds and most of all, lack of access to start-up capital.

However, despite all of these, Adenuga remained undeterred and pressed on as a result of his inextinguishable drive and his belief that if properly done, fish farming could be very lucrative.

Like a silver lining at the end of Adenuga’s dark cloud, the Youth Employment in Agriculture Programme was launched. Components of the programme included training, mentorship, access to land and finance, market networking and so much more.

Adenuga became one of the beneficiaries of this highly-laudable policy program by the Ministry of Agriculture and gradually began to realize his dream of establishing his own fish farm.

Shortly after he had started production and harvesting of his fish, a family friend of Adenuga’s travelled with some smoked fish from Adenuga’s farm which he shared with some of his friends. Having been impressed with the packaging and quality of Adenuga’s merchandise, they requested for more and after several orders and many more referrals, Adenuga officially ventured into exporting of his fish.

Read more here

Making Money from Fish Farming

Mr Adeyemi Adeshina  attending to his customers

Mr Adeyemi Adeshina attending to his customers

Mr Adeyemi Adeshina  a seasoned fish farmer Speaks with Tokurah Majid Jeremiah of Agropreneur Naija!

. He sheds more light on his experiences in agriculture and fish farming and noted”access to marketsas not a major issue in his line of farming. Hear him open up in this one to one chat with him in his living room in New Oko-oba, Ifako Ijaiye area of Lagos state after attending to his fishes.

Majid Jeremiah -Can you please introduce yourself sir?

I am Mr. AdeyemiAdeshina I live at No. 28 Funsho Owoyemi street in new Oko-oba, Abule- egba.

Majid Jeremiah -How long have you been into fish farming?

I have been into this line of farming for almost. 10 years now

Majid Jeremiah – How much capital do you think a young person should have to start fish farming?

He/she can start with around N100, 000 or even N50, 000, it is always better to initially start in a very small way so such person can acquire the necessary experience even after getting the required theoretical training.He/she can start with like 250 or 500 fingerlings and see if he/she is able to rear that quantity for the normal period after which he can later decide to expand.

Majid Jeremiah – Sir, is it possible to raise 250 fingerling with N50, 000 as startup capital?

Yes, because all he/she needs is a small plastic tank; where to erect it, where he/she is living and make sure the location the person lives has drainage. i.e. gutter outside the compound so he can pipe the waste water outside and change the water when due. When considering feeding, we could look at having N250, 000 at least as capital for that amount of fishes. We buy the fingerling at N20 each.

Majid Jeremiah – What are the major challenges involved in fish farming?

Primarily it is finance (you should also find out how much it will cost you to feed the particular quantity of fish you have in stock to mature size),if eventually when its two months and you run out of cash it means that the business/investment abruptly ends, therefore you should first take note of the cost of feeding for the duration of rearing, once that is noted then you may not have problem.You must also have a good practical knowledge which is a very important criterion, it is not only about putting feed in water every time. Drainage of water from the pond is also a very big challenge,when you don’t have proper drainage then you would have problems with neighbors’ because you will always be discharging water on the road.

Majid Jeremiah – Which is more profitable, raising to fingerling, or raising to matured fish?

Raising to fingerling is more profitable because you don’t need much money to run it from day one when its hatched to fingerling(6 – 8weeks) , juvenile (10weeks – 12 weeks) before you sell it,you only need a small amount of money for feeding, but however it involves tedious work. It is not always easy because you have to make sure certain condition  are met, if you do the required test. E.g good condition of water (if you don’t have good quality water the fingerling cannot survive), good pH of water(your water is not acidic), no bacteria inside the water. Once these and other conditions are met you may not need to treat the water.

Majid Jeremiah – How often do you change the water for the fingerling and also big fishes?

For fingerling; you should re-circulate daily, which is called “flow-through, you however don’t need to change the whole water all you have to do is raise the water to the particular level where you want the water to discharge through the outlet pipe, let it be at that height then you open the water from the water reservoir so it will drop gradually, as it drops from one end it will come out from the other end (water in from one end, water goes out from the other end),as we do that the water becomes eventually becomes clean. We therefore don’t need to drain the whole water, when you drain the whole water you could change the parameters and natural habitat the fish is accustomed to.

Majid Jeremiah – How can one identify good stock of fishes?

Before you buy fingerlings you must make sure you buy from a reliable source, someone you know very well and will not deceive you,and a place where you are allowed to check to see the type of brood stock they are using when hatching because a brood stock automatically determines the kind of fishes that you would produce from them. It is very important if you cannot hatch and rear the fingerling yourself; make sure you go to a reliable place. You should note that some brooders when they hatch and don’t get customers to buy the fishes at due time still keep them, the best way to ensure good quality fish is to sell those fingerlings completely between 8 – 10 weeks. If you don’t get somebody to buy your fingerling then that would be a bad investment. some brooders will however not throw away the fingerling when they are past due time to be sold, say at 20weeks the fishes is supposed to have grown to a bigger size some of these fishes still remain very small, they however sell to unsuspecting buyers claiming they are fingerlings. So look for somewhere reliable to buy.

Majid Jeremiah – How do you sell your fishes?

We have many customers but we try to maintain 3 groups which normally come in batches, each group will have 4 – 6 sellers which we sell to, any day we have a lot of fishes to sell we call each batch one after the other. So the fish market is a ready-made market, there is no amount of fish you will not be able to sell if you are producing very high quality fish. Some people will produce fish and when the buyer takes it to their shop the fish then die, if your fish is very good you will automatically get buyers.

Majid Jeremiah – Somebody who is new to fish farming how can he/she access fish markets?

If you are a new entrant the best thing for you is for you to attach yourself to someone who has been in the business for a long time, because when you start very small you might not be able to call people who buy/selling  large quantities.When you are about starting it is advisable to get in contact with people who have already been practicing fish farming for some time so they will connect you with buyers, there are many of them outside.

Majid Jeremiah – What’s your advice for young farmers?

All I advise for young farmers or anybody who intend to start anything animal production either poultry, piggery, or fishery, such a person must be able to attend to the farm personally, because when you employ somebody to manage your farm you might not be able to totally monitor the activities done on the farm so there is possibility of mismanagement, if you don’t have time please don’t go into it. And also make sure the location of your farm is very accessible to you; don’t go to a very far place where you have to travel.

NEED MORE HELP WITH YOUR FISHFARM

Mr Adeyemi Adeshina 

Delight farms

Email: Meetdapo@live.com

Phone nos: 08027632831, 08111626563

Mentorship Corner – Oluyinka Alawode, Senior Correspondent ,Business day NG

We kick off our mentor ship corner for the 2014 with an exclusive interview with Olayinka Alawode, an award winning Agric-journalist and Senior Correspondent with Businessday Nigeria. She tells us her journey in Agriculture and we indeed believe youth can pick on or two things from her story.

Oluyinka Alawode,  when she won a media competition winner by Future Agricultures

Oluyinka Alawode, when she won a media competition  by Future Agricultures

AGROPRENEUR Naija! – Please tell us your name and background plus what you currently do.

Oluyinka Alawode:  My name is Oluyinka Alawode. I studied agriculture at the University of Ilorin. Currently I work as a journalist with BusinessDay reporting mainly agriculture,  SMEs, and so on.

AGROPRENEUR Naija! – What has your experience been as an agric journalist? Oluyinka Alawode:  Very fulfilling because I am able to contribute to the development of agriculture in my country even if it is in a small way, I enjoy meeting people of all classes and races which the career has given me the opportunity of and I enjoy going to places- whether rural or urban. For instance in 2009 I was in Kenya with other African journalist to study about the nomadic herdsmen and we slept in tents in a small settlement in the wilderness surrounded by wild animals but the Massai people who run the resort know how to keep the lions and other wild animals away. We also took rides in jeeps to see how the nomads shepherd their flocks in search for water and grasses  in the midst of wild animals in the wilderness.

AGROPRENEUR Naija! – Would you describe it as a viable agriculture field?

Oluyinka Alawode:  Yes, if one is willing to work very hard, make sacrifices by going the extra mile in reporting sometimes at one’s own cost. Pls note that many media houses in Nigeria want journalists that can report across different sectors so no one actually gets appointed as an agric journalist. But with passion and consistency in reporting agric, the person will eventually gain recognition within and outside the country as an agric journalist

AGROPRENEUR Naija! – Many young people in Nigeria do not want to pursue a career in agriculture, what do you think is responsible?

Oluyinka Alawode:  it is because it usually takes a longer time to get rewards or returns in virtually every field of agriculture and achieving success demands so much hard work. For instance, an agric journalist who wants to make a mark would need to go long distances and spend hours under the sun in rural areas to do some reports when the  colleagues are attending forums or doing interviews in  airconditioned halls and offices

AGROPRENEUR Naija! – What in your opinion can be done to change the mindset of youth towards Agriculture in Nigeria?

Oluyinka Alawode:  They must realise that the sustainable jobs and businesses of the future are in agriculture, whether you are an IT expert, a journalist, a scientist, banker, transporter, builder, marketer, industrialist, an entrepreneur, and so on. In the very near future all people with skills related to agric would be in very high demand.  I can guarantee you that banks for instance would need many staff that have good understanding of agribusiness because most bank products would be designed to fund or support such businesses if the bank wants to survive. But agric is so practical that no matter how much you read about it if you don’t spend quality time in the field you may not become a true expert.

AGROPRENEUR Naija! – With your experience working with farmers, government, private sector players etc. What can you say about the future of agriculture in Nigeria?

Oluyinka Alawode:  Very promising! One of my mentors said and you can mark those words –“Crude oil will soon be like salt, so cheap and easily available worldwide that the price will drop such that no country’s economy can survive on it”. Yet like salt it will still be  very useful  but of little value price-wise But what agribusiness offers is massive employment, food security, raw materials for industries, export base, scientists even private research companies will become very relevant ensuring they constantly come up with researches to minimise or eliminate losses in agric, banks will become more confident to support agribusiness, more professionals will take up agribusiness and do it the proper way, food produced in Nigeria will dominate the shelves in supermarkets, airlines will thrive just doing cargo trips taking agric products out of Nigeria,  farms will become tourist destinations, agric teachers/lecturers with practical experience will be in great demand and so on and so forth

AGROPRENEUR Naija! – What advise do you have for the numerous youth in Nigeria and beyond who are considering venturing into agriculture?

Oluyinka Alawode:  They should go ahead. They have the advantage of going ahead of others. But they must keep on acquiring knowledge that they can apply to their work as agriculturists. They should not make the mistake that the older generations of farmers made, not going to relevant forums to network or attending courses. Farmers or people in related fields to farming should take the issue of networking very seriously. Take note that  good dressing adds to confidence, it does not have to be expensive but let it be neat and sharp, develop communication skills. These are needed to attract high profile customers and investors. Brand your products even if is just fresh produce, what stops you from being the supplier of quality fresh foods to some high networth individuals or organisations  and the remaining can be sold in the open market to  people generally

PHOTO CREDIT- Future Agricultures Flicker Photostream

“At present, the involvement of youth in agriculture is very low and a great source of concern”‘ -FEMI BOLAJI, CEO Wauley Farms

In July  2012 Femi Bolaji the CEO of Wauley Farms in Kogi State granted Agropreneur Nigeria an interview to share his experience so far in Agribusiness and Agriculture. He sheds light on his upbringing, his time at the Lagos Business School(LBS) and what the future is like for upcoming agric entrepreneurs.The farm’s current project is a 300 hectare of tomato and ugwu. ( This Interview has been published in the FOOD AND AGRIC NEWSPAPER in the Youth in Agriculture Page)

Mr Femi Boloji, Wauley Farms

Mr Femi Boloji, Wauley Farms

Agropreneur Naija– For how long have you been into agriculture?

Femi Bolaji-I have been into agriculture since my childhood years when I used to assist my father in both production and sales activities. My father was into production of Ugwu and sugar cane in Ikorodu in the 80s to late 90s. I have been into corporate commercial agriculture since February 2010.

Agropreneur Naija– What Challenges did you face while starting up?

Femi Bolaji-In the early days I had to rely on my experience in project and supply chain management to tackle the teething problems as they surface. However, the greatest challenge I had was human resources. Our youth are not ready to pick up jobs in the agric sector and some that are ready to work are mostly found to be insincere. Stealing and sharp practices are usual occurrence and the impact on the business is disastrous.

Another major challenge is that of funding. The commercial banks are not ready to finance agric business and the ones that show some commitment will ask for discouraging collateral.

Agropreneur Naija– How were these challenges managed?

 Femi Bolaji- For the human resource challenge, I had to poach workers from other farms and motivate them with nice incentives. Also, some farms that were having rough times in my state were laying off staff so I picked up some and offer good incentive to work in our farm. However, we developed and put in place a robust mechanism to control, monitor and discipline erring staffer

For the financial aspect, we had to fall back on our resources including support from angel investors. Of recent probably because of the latest conscious efforts of the federal and state governments to develop the agriculture sector, some back have been talking nicely to us and I want to believe that they mean business.

 

Agropreneur Naija–  How was your Training at LBS as an added advantage?

Femi Bolaji-My reason for going to LBS was for capacity development with focus on Entrepreneurial Management. I discovered early that my passion and past working background were not enough to see me through in the complex business of agricultural value chain. My managerial ability has been greatly impacted having gone through courses in strategy, sales, use of social media, customer service, law and taxation, marketing, human resources management, financial management and use of accounting software, web design and use of the web for marketing, business ethics, operation management, etiquette etc

Agropreneur Naija– what is your Opinion about youth involvement in agriculture?

Femi Bolaji -At present, the involvement of youth in agriculture is very low and a great source of concern. Not a fault of the youth totally, a larger blame goes to the government with their age long lack of support and  inconsistency policy in the agricultural sector. Youth in agricultural institution of learning are not thought as medical students are being trained with focus on working in the health sector. Agriculture students upon graduation rush to work in other sectors including banks, insurance companies and so many others that have no relevance to the agricultural sector. The negative impact is what we are witnessing today with lack of interest in agriculture by the youth. However, it’s not all bad news as some youth have taken to agribusiness and are doing nicely. Am also proud of hard working guys using social media to boost the sector.

Agropreneur Naija– Advise for upcoming agric-entrepreneur:

Femi Bolaji -Agriculture remains the bedrock of any nation and will always provide numerous source of income including business opportunities. Everybody including the youth should get seriously involved in agriculture and agribusiness in Nigeria for food security as a nation and import substitution.

 

Empowering farmers to expand production

EDITOR’S NOTE- It is important that as young entrepreneurs we learn from older ones and mentors. In this month of July, we kick off with the story of Psaltry International Limited owned by Mrs Oluyemisi Iranloye a biochemist by training but whom has proven to be an agro-preneur. Her farm converts cassava to starch on a large scale. More importantly is the method she has employed in empowering the farmers around her while making profit and providing jobs. Also are practical lessons one can learn as a growing agro-entrepreneur when it comes to training, experience and funding.

More and more of today’s entrepreneurs are taking the opportunities inherent in the agricultural sector to create wealth for themselves, jobs for skilled and unskilled labour, decent incomes for farmers and rural infrastructure. The successes of these businesses depend strongly on the success of the farmers; therefore, such a company’s strategy entails empowering farmers.

These entrepreneurs, the owners of the businesses, are becoming the drivers of rural development, growth for the agricultural sector and the country’s hope of stemming the tide of brain drain as they provide jobs directly and indirectly for even professionals whose qualifications may not be agro-based.

Psaltery International Limited, located in Alayide village near Iseyin in Oyo State, is one of such entrepreneurial firms. The firm, which produces premium quality food grade starch and high quality cassava flour started a few years ago. The most vital raw material is cassava and therefore the business ensures that farmers in the community keep producing.

 Entrepreneur

OluyemisI Iranloye, managing director/CEO, Psaltery International Limited, is a biochemist. Combining her biochemistry skills with her passion for farming, she decided to situate her company in the heart of a village. The production is in the rural area but the market is for industries, most of whom are situated in cities. There is market for these products domestically and internationally. The flour mills buy the high quality cassava flour and mix with wheat flour.

According to Iranloye, many confectioners now buy cassava flour and mix on their own, as cassava flour is now cheaper than wheat flour due to the increase in import tariffs of wheat. Pharmaceutical companies, glue production companies, breweries, and food companies producing spaghetti, noodles and related foods use food grade starch. The domestic demand is still far higher than supply, so starch producers still have their hands full servicing the domestic market. Meanwhile, farmers’ incomes are increasing as a result.

 Farmers

Iranloye says: “Before our company established in this area, the total income about 500 farmers in Alayide village realised from cassava was just about N2 million annually. There are 50 hamlets making up the village, and they have about 5,000 hectares of farmland altogether which were underused. But after we came and started buying from them, they have expanded their production and the total income realised yearly is about N50 million. Yet, these farmers are only able to provide us 20 percent of the total cassava that our company needs for production. So, we also buy from other villages about 50 kilometres radius North, South, East and West of our factory. We have a well laid out out-growers scheme, which is highly successful. We give support to the farmers, our company has agric extension staff that visit the farmers regularly. Our company single-handedly provided the support for the farmers last year.”

 Funding

So this year, First Bank, which funded our company project is also providing backup funding for the farmers to expand their production. We buy the cassava from the farmers and pay through the First Bank account, the bank takes its own money and the farmers take theirs. Meanwhile, we continue to support the farmers with extension services. When our company provided the support last year, we were able to test the loyalty of the farmers to contracts and their response was beautiful. So, for keeping to the terms of the contract, they are now expanding their production with First Bank support. I have been able to prove that Nigerian farmers are not bad. The notion that farmers default in loan repayment is wrong. Many banks do not understand how to fund farmers. They possibly funded ghost farmers; farmers who emerged because they heard the Central Bank of Nigeria is giving money to agriculture through commercial banks or that the government is giving fertilisers free. Those are the ones that do not pay back.

Also, bankers sit in their office and attempt to support agriculture. When farmers apply for loan, the bank may release the money at the end of the planting season, in November or December. Such money could be diverted. Loans have to be given at the beginning or still early during the planting season. If we truly understand their operations, farmers would respond appropriately.

 Infrastructure

The firm has also brought about infrastructure development. Iranloye says, “When our firm started here, we provided bore-hole water, as part of our giving back to the society. They now have water to enhance their farming operations. We also have plans of building a school because there are about 1,000 children of farmers who are not able to go to school, because the nearest school is too far.”

 Other linkages

We buy palm kernel shells and also charcoal from producers, we use these to generate our power in the factory. We have transporters, vulcanisers, tractor operators and so on, that benefit from our business. Psaltery International also has a backup farm where we train farmers and grow cassava stems to distribute to the farmers.

Employees

We have engineers, biochemists, agric extension officers, managers, scientists, farm hands, a total of 140 staff. The skilled staff came from Lagos and some of the unskilled staff are from the community. We currently house our 140 staff on this farm.

Future prospects

In the next two years, we are going to expand production because demand is still very much higher than supply.

 Inspiration

I was working in a glucose syrup company as a chemist, and I am passionate about agriculture. So, it was easy for me to combine both.

Policies

I got funding at 9 percent, but even that is high because in Thailand and other agro-based countries, lending to agro businesses is at 3 percent. So, internationally it would be difficult for Nigeria’s agro-based products to compete.

Supply of fertilisers to peasant farmers through the e-wallet system is good but what about the big companies engaged in farming. Fertiliser companies should be supported by the government and allowed to have their own distribution channels so that anybody that needs more than the two bags of fertiliser the government subsidises for farmers yearly can easily go and buy.

Challenges

Due to inflation, one may write a proposal to a bank and the funds come out six months later and the prices of things needed have increased. The bank will not give one the difference.

Also, government infrastructure support for industries is still very small. We run generators, we sank bore-hole, we constructed the road to the factory. No bank will give a manufacturer funds to construct roads. So, there are infrastructure expenses that a company has to bear that is not included in the credit given by the banks.

Government

The solution is for government to give grants to companies that take the bold step of establishing businesses in the rural areas and invest in infrastructure development. The road my company built to its factory is now serving thousands of people, the water is not only used by farmers but the entire village. These are things that can be easily verified and to encourage businesses to invest in the rural areas, grants should be given, it could just be a percentage of the entire money the company has spent on infrastructure. I must commend the Oyo State ministry of agriculture that has been supportive of our business.

Photo- http://www.psaltryinternational.com

“You can start off with small capital of 10-20000 Naira” – Audu Ogbeh

Audu-OGBE

Audu-OGBE

Audu Ogbeh has many accolades attached to his name but i respect him most for the passion he has for agriculture. As CEO of Efugo Farms, he has amassed a tremendous amount of agricultural knowledge. Not only he is knowledgeable, but he is always ready to share his knowledge to the younger generation at a moment’s notice. I sat down with him to get a few tips for young people on a budget who is considering starting small farms of their own

What are some other opportunities that young people can take advantage of?

You can make a significant profit if you rear livestock during festive periods as the market price is always higher during these times. For instance, if you have 20000 naira, you can buy day old broilers for roughly 150 naira each; feed them for two months at a cost of 100 each, and during the festive season they can sell for roughly 1000-15000 naira. Rabbits are also a good opportunity because they multiply fast and you can grow them in your garden. You can start off with small capital of 10-20000 naira. For those with a little more capital, you can buy one or two cows from Maiduguri for roughly 40k, transport them to your location for about 6-7k, feed them for 90 days and sell them for double the buying price. The risk is that you are not assured of which cows will survive that period.

What about Fish? There are a lot of young people interested in fish farming these days.

Fish farming can be profitable but beginners must be careful to not buy fingerlings from the wrong source. These days, hatcheries give tadpoles of all sorts and if there has been inbreeding your fish will not grow. You will need initial start up capital of 15-20k. You can buy each tadpole for about 30 naira, you will spend about 200-300 naira feeding to maturity and you can sell for a price of 500 naira each.  To cut costs, you can make the hatcheries yo

They say that you can grow anything in Nigeria, what states are most conducive for some of our key crops?

I would recommend growing plantains in the southwest, especially coastal areas.

Benue state is very suitable for oranges and mangoes. With 5000 naira and some land you can plant oranges for an initial planting cost of 120 naira per seed.

Mangoes and oranges will also grow well in Northern Oyo and Ondo state because these states typically do not exhibit too much rainfall and the soil is well drained. The disadvantage of these crops is that it takes 4 years for you to realize any returns so is most suitable for those who are willing to make a long term investment. So if you have a bit of money to put aside, instead of putting it in the bank, it is best to invest it in orange, mango or guava farming.

Rice grows best in Southwest areas such as Ondo, Ekiti, Ogun and Oyo while Yam can flourish in parts of Ondo, Ekiti and northern Oyo and Osun but not Ogun because the rainfall is too heavy. Osun is also conducive to cassava farming.

I think the beauty of farming is that you can add value to a crop and increase your profit margins substantially. Where do you see opportunities for value addition?

Yes that’s true. Well, a plantain farm is a great place to grow snails, so that is one way to add value. If your land is not too wet, you can breed goats in conjunction with plantains and yams because goat manure is good fertilizer for these crops. If you own a fishery, you can breed chickens close by because their droppings produce algae in fishponds, which the fish are fond of.

Culled From HARAMBE Farmland