agriculture

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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Making the most of opportunity – Tolulope’s brave choice in building her own cassava processing/packaging business venture

 

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Photo credit: Tolulope Aina

Aina Tolulope an undergraduate of the Department of Agricultural Economics at the University of Ibadan and a native of Ogun State is the CEO of Tolulope foods processing and packaging company- which is currently into the processing and packaging of Gari and has a brand known as MyGari aside packaging food items as souvenier for events. She developed the interest in cassava cultivation and processing during the one-year practical year training program while she was in 400 Level.

Despite several challenges, Tolulope chose not to back down!  She believes agriculture has revolutionized in this jet age and with the current state of the country, Nigerians especially the youths, should wake up and be that change they want to see instead of waiting for miracles to happen from the government.

INTRODUCTION

My name is Aina Tolulope, a student of the Department of Agricultural Economics at the University of Ibadan.  I am the CEO of Tolulope foods processing and packaging company, a brand that is currently into the processing and packaging of Gari called MyGari. I was born on the 12th of September!

When and where was the start of your journey into agribusiness?

My interest in agribusiness started during the practical year training program at the University of Ibadan for 400 level students. During this period, I developed the interest in cassava cultivation and processing and I decided from that time to pursue cassava cultivation, processing and packaging as a business venture.

Tolulope's Packaged Garri as souvenir for an event

What is your view about agribusiness?

Agribusiness to me differs from the conventional mentality people especially the youths have about the business enterprise. Agriculture generally has upgraded from the use of crude implements to mechanized farming, to agro- processing which helps to improve the value of agricultural products in the local and foreign market. The packaging also helps in adding value to the product. Oh well in this jet age, so packaging is key.

What part of your agribusiness do you find most satisfying and what part do you find most challenging?

The most challenging part has to do with expansion and capital needed for the business- since agribusiness is generally capital and labour intensive. Against all odds what’s satisfying about agribusiness is identifying problems that spring up from time to time, putting in place combating strategies and actually seeing positive results in respect to that.

What challenges did you face while starting up and what decisions and choices did you make to manage the challenges?

Hmmm… That’s a whole lot you know? but let me share a few of them. Initially, financing the business was the first issue, how to convince was next – how do I convince the identified sources to invest in the business? There was a dramatic incident which could have totally discouraged me from starting but I thank God I didn’t let that pose as a limitation, it was when a supposed expertise in the field who I expected to be a mentor was just after how much he could swindle out of me. Well, lessons were learnt and business had to go on. That’s what challenges are called right? (Laughs)….

Photo credit: Tolulope Aina

I chose not to back down, though challenges kept on popping up. The more they kept popping up, the more combating strategies were put in place. But then the beauty of it all is after much effort in trying to make things work out, you begin to yield positive results and those that looked down on you begin to appreciate you, people begin to acknowledge you as a source of motivation to others, a problem solver and a motivation to both young and old, these to me are priceless.

It’s not just about starting a business and keeping it moving, it is how much lives one can touch on the way up the ladder. Above all, focus, perseverance, hard work (with smart work as an active ingredient) and most importantly God’s grace is what has kept this business going.

How have the choices and decisions you made helped in the success of your business?

Choices like how to process the best quality of ‘Gari’, how to make it available for an affordable price, and what packaging material should be used, the form of packaging, size of the packaging, the target market among others. The decisions made were made based on the most cost-effective options that would benefit both the target market and the business. As an Agricultural Economist, I am concerned about minimizing cost, providing the product at an affordable price and still make the desired profit.

Some of Tolulope's packaged food products as souveniers

Do you attend seminars, mentoring programs for improvement in your business? How do you keep yourself informed for improvement in your business and what steps have you taken to improve?

Lol, why not? If I don’t, how then will I keep myself motivated and develop in the field? One of the essential qualities of an agripreneur is good and upgraded knowledge of the business. To me, knowledge is key!

What’s your view on youth involvement in agro-processing, and packaging?

It’s key, in short, this is the future of this nation’s agribusiness. The bulk of food being consumed in Nigeria come from rural sources, others are from import sources with very little from private owned commercial farms. These rural farmers employ the use of crude implements. This is the 21st century, technology has gone way beyond that, where are the youth, the leaders of tomorrow and what are they doing about this? Even rural youth are coming to the city to ride okada.

Tolulope's Packaged Garri Product

The period of glut is accompanied with abundance of some resources and when these products are off season the nation experiences severe scarcity. What is wrong with our storage facilities? What is happening to mechanized farming? Asides from what we hear in the news about government empowering the youths in Agriculture? How many deserving youths have been empowered? How can a nation like ours that is blessed with a favorable climate for the cultivation of various agricultural produce still be unable to boast of being food secure? What is the problem? Is the government doing less or are the citizens ignoring agriculture? The reality is this, the supply of the labour force is higher that the demand for it. Year in year out we have thousands of youths ploughed into this sphere called labour force yet everyone prays and hopes for a good job, please where are these jobs? Youths let’s sit back and think about how we can help reduce these problems rather than add to it. How can we help ourselves to help others?

I apologize if I have somewhat digressed but then, we have to tell ourselves this truth, with the current state of our economy right now, everyone has to wake up and think of how to help revive our nation, the government cannot do it all, we cannot die of starvation by waiting for miracle to happen from the government, let us wake up and be that change we want to see.

What ideas would you encourage the government to implement to ensure youths involvement in Agribusiness?

Government, please help the youths, create avenues for seminars and training for the youths in Agriculture, there is need to reorientate the youths that there is more to agriculture than the use of hoe and cutlass, in short aside from all these ambiguous empowerment programs with little resultant effect on the economy when evaluated,  Identify interested youth, train them, divide them into teams of professionals in various aspects of agriculture, empower them by giving them substantial amount of hectares to cultivate, provide them with required resources, prompt mentoring and put up a structure that can accommodate sales of their product. When the government has agricultural products to sell, sporadic fluctuation of food items by suppliers will reduce. It is a broader concept which I cannot elaborately explain in this interview, but then trust me- there is a lot to be done especially on the part of the government.

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What is your advice to agropreneurs that have the desire go into agribusiness agro-processing and packaging?

In business, if one looks at all the likely problems to be encountered, no one would really start anything. Like I actually tell people from experience, there will never be a perfect time to take a bold step towards achieving one’s goals. You have to take the time (which is now) and make it perfect. Against all odds, you just have to take the  risk, calculated risk and not just risks without a well thought out plans, do not let anyone or anything weigh you down or deter you from achieving your dreams.

Identify persons that keep you motivated and strive towards being a source of motivation to others, be ye never particular about the profit to be made from a business but be more concerned about how many lives you can impact, a problem solver you can be not just for yourself but for the benefit of the entire human race. But then, you can never be too certain about some outcome, therefore, you should never rule out the God factor, do your best and let him crown your effort.

Exploiting Agribusiness Opportunities in Africa: Food Security, Employment, and Economic growth

Photo credit: esoko.com

In various continents of the world, Agribusiness has been known to be a driver of economic growth. In Africa, it has a positive impact as it accounts for 30% of national income as well as a bulk of export revenues and employment. Kenya for example, is a key producer of tea, accounting for 59.6% of total production in Africa. The country is a leading tea exporter and one of the largest black tea producers in the world. With an estimate of 33 million small holder farms in Africa, a vibrant agriculture driven economy can cause increase in yields, increase in income generation, reduce in post- harvest losses and thereby put an end to food wastage. Agribusiness is capable of initiating the agricultural growth that will positively improve the livelihood of Africa’s increasing population. It can fasten Africa’s progress towards development.

In Nigeria for example, over 78.4 million people are willing, able and actively looking for job, development in agribusiness can have a direct impact on this people because an efficient and effective agribusiness will lead to increased employment in agro industrial activities.

Agribusiness does not only cover farmers it covers input suppliers, agro processors, traders, exporters and retailers. It is a term which indicates farming and all other industries, and services, that constitute the supply chain. The business of agriculture is not to be neglected in development priorities, the focus should not only be on urban industrialization, government need to get their role right on building necessary industrial capability and capacity, strengthening managerial capacity and promoting institutional services.

To successfully achieve desired result in agribusiness, understanding and comprehension of the nature of the business and its untapped opportunities is important. Food importation in African countries has to reduce and promotion of local agricultural products has to be carried out adequately. Although there are challenges as regards climate, policies, governance, laws, infrastructure and basic services, the goals to end poverty, hunger, have improved nutrition and sustainable agriculture should be a focus that will ensure motivation. To reduce the incidence of extreme poverty and unemployment, increase in importation, massive migration of rural peasants into the cities, agribusiness needs to be promoted and financially supported efficiently and effectively.

Africa’s projected population by 2050 is 2 billion; the continent has an estimate of more than one- fourth of the total un-fed people in the world. To guide against starvation, rapid rise in food prices, severe malnutrition, food riots, extreme poverty, higher rate of social vices and diseases; there is indeed a crucial need, to exploit the opportunities in agribusiness and make the business of agriculture more productive and profitable like never before so as to achieve improved social outcomes and solve the problem of poverty and food insecurity.

For a better result, Africa needs to take important decisions concerning agribusiness opportunities and act in a better way.

Written by Idowu T.Owoeye

 

Invest In Snail Farming and Get Huge Returns

Photo credit: Google images

Photo credit: shalisha.com.

Snail is called different names in Africa, like — eju, nwa, ìgbín, katantanwa, wɔba, konokono, slak, mulaca. The snail is a small to medium sized ‘mollusc’ that is generally split into three groups which are land snails, sea snails and freshwater snails. Achatina species is a species of land snails that include Arhatina achatina (Tiger Snails), Archatina marginata (Giant African Land Snails) and Achatina fulica (Garden Snail) -which is the smallest of all.

The snails are hermaphrodites, (i.e. they have male and female parts) the individuals mate with each other before laying eggs. They are also coldblooded and can live for several years while growing to 25cm in some species. They have about 90 calories per 100 grams of weight and provide a low calorie source of protein which helps in building and repairing our muscle. They are also good sources of Iron, Vitamin B12, Magnesium, Selenium, and Omega3 -which is really good for the heart. Snails are environmentally friendly, they are most active during the night and they require low capital investment compared to poultry, pigs, goats, sheep, cattle.

Thinking of starting up?

Snail farming business has a very high rate of return and the best time to start up a snail farm is in the rainy season especially from July to October because that is the time snails normally start to breed. You should also note that prices of snails multiply during scarcity between March and December, in the dry season.  

Which is the most lucrative amongst the Achatina species?

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Photo credit: Flickr

The Tiger Snails and Giant African Land Snails are the most lucrative amongst the Achatina species because they grow so big and lay more eggs. When thinking of getting a snail to start up with – that is the- initial breeding stock, you can decide to go for sexually mature snails, weighing at least 100-125 grams as recommended by Freeman (2013).

Note that each of this 2 species is capable of laying 100- 500 eggs in a year. This means that if you start a snail farm with 5 snails this year, you will probably get about 75,000 snails in one year! This is actually going by the number of eggs laid by the 5 snails, the percentage of eggs that are likely to hatch out, and the percentage that will survive after hatching.

Where can I get the snails?

You can get many snails from the forest, uncultivated lands and in the market.  They can also be picked up in the day time after a rainfall. Also, they can be found under wet boards and surfaces, piles of leaves and sticks, wet stones, walls, the trunk of trees.

The best time to get them from places other than the market is in the night. Don’t forget they are always active in the night. So, you can clear a little portion of land in the evening during the rainy season and place some fruits after which you leave the place. After about 3 – 4 hours you can go back to pick available snails. This process can be repeated till you get the number you want to start up with. When buying snail eggs from the market ensure it has not been exposed to sunlight, as exposure to sun has a negative effect on the fertility of the eggs.

How do I keep them safe?

When selecting an appropriate site for housing the snails, consider –climate, wind speed and direction, soil characteristics and protection of the snails from diseases and predators.

Photo credit: Flickr

Snails need damp, not wet, environments and they derive most of their water requirements from the soil. They love to dig the soil to lay their eggs.

A soil that supports good growth of cocoyam, tomatoes and leafy vegetables, is suitable for snail farming. Ensure to loosen the soil by tilling.

Snails are good at escaping from where they are kept, so, for a rewarding business venture, you should endeavor, to construct escape proof housing. You can use a pen house that will be spacious and accessible with a soil deep of 10inch, and trees around it. Snails can also be reared in boxes made of suitable substances like wire gauze (net), wood, straw etc.

In other to avoid flies and ants, the removal of leftover food and cleaning should be done appropriately, also endeavor to control predators and secure the pen with nets, wire and nylon mesh. Note that changing of the soil once every 3 months and allowing them to grow to reach their proper size and weight is also essential.

What should I feed them with?

They are vegetarians and can be fed with wide varieties of foods.  You can feed them with – leaves of lettuce, cabbage, cassava, okra and pawpaw – also fruits like cucumber, mango, banana, eggplant, pear, tomato and paw- paw. Banana, paw paw and pineapple peels can also be given to them. Snails can also be feed with leftover food like rice, fufu and pap but salt intake can make them sick or even kill them. So any leftover food you give them, should not contain salt!

Who will buy the snails?

The demand for supply of snail is very important; no one wants to run at a loss. People that will constantly need and demand for  your snails include; restaurants, pepper soup joints ,canteens, stores, supermarkets, event planners and caterers, shopping malls, institutions, hotels, friends and your darling family members. You can have an agreement with this people on when, amount and number of snails that should be supplied.

Snail business will definitely not give you quick money but in the long run you will be happy about your investment that will give huge returns. Now is indeed the time to start!

Article written by Idowu T. Owoeye

Improving Agricultural Productivity in Nigeria to Boost the Economy and Create Employment

Photo credit: Flicker

Agriculture is a very important tool for achieving the Millennium Development Goal. Agriculture is considered a catalyst for the overall development of any nation. In sub-Saharan Africa, Agriculture is a very important tool for improving growth, overcoming poverty and improving food security. It is thus a critical sector that drives the economic development and industrialization of the developing nation, and serve as a means of reducing unemployment. Increase in agricultural productivity is important for growth of the Nigerian economy. Nigeria spends close to $10 billion on food importation annually, if invested in agriculture, this amount would have generated a high percentage of employment.

 

Nigeria has huge agricultural potential with an arable land potential of 98 million hectares, out of which 84 million hectares is cultivatable, Nigeria’s agricultural potential remains untapped.  For a nation to grow its economy and provide employment, the government must be able to do massive investment in Agriculture. But the past and the current administration of this country has not been able to invest massively in Agriculture and has also not been able to tap into the contribution to the economy of the nation. There are some countries that have been able to tap into this benefit and this has subsequently created a rapid growth in economy of those countries e.g. China, Mexico, India, Taiwan, Chile, etc.

In China, agriculture led the way to the emergence of this Asian giant as a major force in the world economy. This is especially remarkable when you consider that China, with a population of over 1.3 billion people, is able to produce enough food for her people, and yet has more than enough extra to make her a major exporter of agricultural produce to the world. The importance of Agriculture as a means of generating employment and also contributing to the growth of the nation’s economy cannot be undermined.

One of the ways in which this present government can lift people out of poverty and provide massive employment opportunity for our youth is by the nation’s massive investment in Agriculture. Agriculture alone can provide millions of job opportunity for our teaming youths who are unemployed.

Factors that continues to affect Agricultural productivity which the Nigerian government have done nothing or little about are enumerated as follows;

Lack of price stability: There has not been a stable price for agricultural produce in this country.   The price of agricultural produce continues to rise and fall, price stabilization is necessary and important if farmers would make good profit from their investments. Farmers are usually discouraged, when low returns are gotten after sales of their products. The government should provide a ready market, buying from small scale farmers and selling to the bigger markets. This helps to avoid the role of middleman in the selling of agricultural products and thus helps keep prices stable.

Poor funding of research in Agriculture: One of the major constraint in agricultural productivity is poor funding of research in agriculture. There should also be an increase funding for research in Agriculture. According to research this country is losing about 24.7% of field crops to infestation of agricultural pests and diseases which usually lead to decrease in agricultural output. By providing funds for research in Agriculture, researchers will be able to breed or develop crops that will be resistance to insect, pest and diseases, therefore reducing or eliminating the use of agrochemicals and also reduce crop loses to pest and diseases. They will also be able to develop crops that are high yielding, nutritious and has fast growth rate.

Decline in agricultural extension services: There has been a decline in agricultural extension services and this has affected agricultural productivity in Nigeria. The government should focus on Agricultural extension services. By this the extension workers will be able to transfer the latest agricultural research or innovation to the farmers. They will also be able to train farmers on how to handle modern technological tools and equipment. By this the farmers will be able to put the knowledge gained into use to boost their agricultural output.

Poor funding of Agricultural sector: Poor funding is a major factor that has continued to affect the growth of Agricultural sector in this country. There should be an increase funding of Agricultural sector. The government at all levels must take the development of agriculture as a national priority. The government should dedicate a larger percentage of its annual budget to the development of the agricultural sector. The government should be able to provide loans with low or without interest to the farmers. The government should also be able to provide free and subsidized agricultural inputs like seeds fertilizers, animal feeds, day old chicks, fish fingerlings, agro-chemicals, technological equipment etc.

Lack of modern agricultural tools and equipment: One of the ways in which we have not been able to increase our agricultural production is that we continue to practice subsistence farming. We should be able to shift from subsistence farming to mechanized farming. For agricultural sector to be developed and employment generated there must be a shift from the traditional methods of farming to a more technologically advanced/mechanized method of farming and high yielding methods of planting. The government should be able to lease out new modern technological equipment at a low rate to the farmers who will not be able to afford it also subsidize it for those who will be able to afford it. By doing so the nation will be able to boost her agricultural productivity.

Lack of storage and processing facilities: Many of agricultural crops are being lost to post harvest losses, 20-40% of crops in Nigeria are being lost to post harvest losses. The government should be able to provide good storage and processing facilities to the rural farmers. Storage and processing of agricultural products is one of the major factors affecting the growth of agricultural sector. Losses experienced after harvesting is very discouraging. It is imperative for the government to put in place a system of ensuring adequate storage and processing of harvested produce as this will stand as a sure way of encouraging farmers and thereby increasing production. Storage and processing are critical in ensuring that the commodities produced at a particular period are available for consumption whenever and wherever they are required.

Lack of rural infrastructure: Infrastructure includes roads and railway system, educational and health facilities, social services such as potable water and electricity and communication system. Agricultural productivity in Nigeria has been negatively affected due to low level of development of infrastructure. In the rural areas where majority of the small holders operate, inadequate infrastructure constitutes a major constraint to agricultural investment, production and trade. Many of the youths in the rural areas have left farming and migrated to the urban areas due to lack of good infrastructure in the rural areas. Therefore government should invest heavily in rural infrastructure development that will promote private investment in all areas of agriculture.

Importation of food items: Continued importation of food items has continued to negatively affect local production of agricultural crops. We continue to import food like rice, maize, wheat, processed tomatoes, frozen foods etc. If we are going to be serious about the development of agricultural sector, we should be able to close our doors to the importation of agricultural products that can be produced or grown successfully in this country. By doing so we will be able to encourage and boost local production and processing of agricultural products.

This blog post was written by Abosede Kayode, A graduate of Agricultural Science from the Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta, Ogun state. Nigeria.

He can be contacted via email at kayudex124@gmail.com

Why our stereotypes of African agriculture are all wrong

Image REUTERSMike Hutchings Why our stereotypes of African agriculture are all wrong

Photo credit: REUTERS Mike Hutchings

From newspaper editors to TV anchors to bloggers, the default symbol of African agriculture is an African woman holding a hand hoe. This imagery highlights the drudgery African women face in farming. But it also conflates family farming with the broader agricultural enterprise.

As I argue in The New Harvest: Agricultural Innovation in Africa, farming is only a small but important part of the agribusiness value chain. The value chain includes resource data processing, input provision, production, aggregating (covering bulking, cleaning and grading), processing and packaging, retailing and recycling. Making the value chain work efficiently involves connecting farmers to markets.

As noted in a recent report by the Tony Elumelu FoundationUnleashing Africa’s Agricultural Entrepreneurs, the sector “accounts for 32% of Africa’s gross domestic product, and employs over 65% of its labour force.”

Taking the value chain approach, the World Bank has estimated that Africa’s agribusiness market will reach $1 trillion in 2030. This estimate does not include auxiliary industries that will arise from the expansion of the sector.

For example, efficient markets rely on effective information flow. New firms such as Gro Intelligence are emerging to fill the data gap. Similarly, the expansion of rural energy, transport, irrigation and telecommunications infrastructure will also spur the rise of support industries.

From newspaper editors to TV anchors to bloggers, the default symbol of African agriculture is an African woman holding a hand hoe. This imagery highlights the drudgery African women face in farming. But it also conflates family farming with the broader agricultural enterprise.

As I argue in The New Harvest: Agricultural Innovation in Africa, farming is only a small but important part of the agribusiness value chain. The value chain includes resource data processing, input provision, production, aggregating (covering bulking, cleaning and grading), processing and packaging, retailing and recycling. Making the value chain work efficiently involves connecting farmers to markets.

As noted in a recent report by the Tony Elumelu FoundationUnleashing Africa’s Agricultural Entrepreneurs, the sector “accounts for 32% of Africa’s gross domestic product, and employs over 65% of its labour force.”

Taking the value chain approach, the World Bank has estimated that Africa’s agribusiness market will reach $1 trillion in 2030. This estimate does not include auxiliary industries that will arise from the expansion of the sector.

For example, efficient markets rely on effective information flow. New firms such as Gro Intelligence are emerging to fill the data gap. Similarly, the expansion of rural energy, transport, irrigation and telecommunications infrastructure will also spur the rise of support industries.

Too much focus on farming

This is one of the ways the long value chain of agribusiness serves as a driver for industrial transformation. Few other sectors offer Africa such a broad range of opportunities for technological innovation and entrepreneurial development. There are templates for business models that can be readily adopted. The key is to define agribusinesses as learning opportunities from the outset, as demonstrated by the work of the Africa Atlantic Holdings.

Past efforts to promote agribusiness were not successful partly because of the narrow focus on farming. This approach also failed to appreciate the importance of investing in basic rural infrastructure without which neither production nor markets can function. In addition, the focus on farming precluded consideration of the role of higher technical training in agribusiness.

The general policy prescription was that farmers did not need more than primary education to function. In many cases, agriculture is more complex that manufacturing, where many functions can be automated and products can be generated just in time. The complex process of plant or animal growth demands more versatile knowledge sources and husbandry that cannot be readily automated.

The focus on farming also created biases in the provision of incentives such as credit, insurance and technical support to farmers. Urban enterprises, especially those involved in manufacturing, have access to a wide range of enabling incentives. The same is not true of agriculture, especially where it is perceived narrowly as farming. Agribusiness needs to be supported like other ventures. Farmers need to be viewed as entrepreneurs and innovators, not simply as producers for downstream operations.

A bright future for agribusiness in Africa

The good news is that young people in many parts of Africa see great potential in agribusiness. But it needs to be put on par with other sectors. Because of a long history of neglect, young people venturing in to agribusiness lack access to capital. But even more critical is the lack of mentors who can guide them through the early phases of their start-ups.

In addition to mentorship, young agripreneurs could also benefit from investment in adequate infrastructure. They already know the power of mobile technology. But what they might need most is access to broadband, which also helps link them to knowledge centres given the absence of extension services. Today, the cost of broadband is prohibitively expensive, despite the fact that it is essential for dynamic business operations.

One possible way to resolve this could be to provide “broadband grants” in the same way the US government provided “land grants”. Private enterprises can also purchase broadband and donate it to selected agribusiness start-ups as part of their corporate social responsibility.

There are many opportunities for leveraging the growing interest in agribusiness to expand the sector. These opportunities are diverse and lie not only along the full value chain, but also in farms of all sizes – small, medium-sized and large. The starting point should not be driven by opportunity or ideology or dogma about farm size. There are many enterprises that do engage in agribusiness but if given an opportunity they could diversify into the sector. This could be enterprises that are seeking new opportunities.

In China, for example, coal-mining firms are starting to diversify into agribusiness in light of new restrictions imposed on the sector to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. In Africa, some oil companies might also explore moving into agribusiness given the uncertainties in the sector.

Agribusiness in Africa needs to be nudged towards a tipping point from which it can take off. The push will need to come from a collaboration between government, business, academia and civil society. It will require a collective effort.

Modernizing African agriculture

One additional way to promote agribusiness is to recognize individuals or organizations that have made outstanding contributions to different sections of the value chain. Many of the existing prizes tend to focus on production, thereby reinforcing the narrow farming image. The newly established Africa Food Prize, with a judging panel chaired by former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, could serve as a role model in emphasizing the agribusiness approach in its awardees.

The good news is that African governments, as illustrated by the case of Nigeria, are starting to appreciate the importance of agribusiness in long-term economic transformation. But appreciation is not enough. We not only need heads of state and government to serve as champions, we also need policy consistency. The two are important because of the long-term nature of agricultural transformation.

In one of her signature appeals for the modernization of African agriculture, the chairperson of the African Union, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, said that hand-held hoe should be in the museum, not in the hands of African farmers. The quickest way to consign this symbol of drudgery to the history books is to shift our thinking from traditional farming to agribusiness. That is the root of Africa’s coming prosperity.

Originally published here http://bit.ly/1TYa2i2

HOW MUCH ASSISTANCE ARE FARMERS REALLY GETTING FOR THEIR AGRO-STARTUP

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We are all saying poverty and hunger can be eradicated in Africa, to be particular in Nigeria, but little had been done to help the farmers that are actually going to make this ambition come true.

Are farmers really getting the desired help that will make this goal achievable or are farmers ignorant of what they should have done to get help?

It is saddening to see that almost 95% of these farmers are peasant farmers (trying to feed their immediate family). They use traditional farming method to work so that they can have something to eat and sometimes sell in order to feed their families and to pay some bills.

Taking a deeper look, if social entrepreneurs, agricultural supporting agencies, NGO’S and government ministry in charge of Agriculture are actually fulfilling their promises – relating to supporting these rural farmers financially and educationally while offering advice to these farmers – then things would be much more better.

Imagine a farmer who owns very large hectares of land, with only cutlass and hoes to work with, the inputted effort will be less and eventually his energy will not attain much. Compare a farmer who has farm equipment available to him for farming and wealth of information regarding what he has to do, the input will be encouraging, directly or indirectly he will make positive impact in his immediately environment, his family will have food to eat, proceeds gotten from what had been sold will be used to pay bills.

Remember also these individual farmers represent their families and the resulting effect will be obvious because each family will have food to eat and poverty will be reduced. Now imagine these 95% peasant farmers being supported and monitored to make sure the funds and support provided are meeting the target, poverty will be reduced to the minimal level. Through government and farmers cooperatives, information are disseminated to these farmers.

More so, the organization in charge of this fund must liaise with local government of each state to register farmers that are going to appropriately use support that they receive when these funds are disbursed, making sure the funds are used for what it is meant for.

If farmers are actually ignorant, then they can get help – that will be a serious issue speaking from their perspective. I will suggest organizations and NGO’s rendering help to farmers should always make their presence known in each local government, encouraging them to get list of camps (villages where farmers have their farms) so that they can have their sign post and also once in a while organize outreach and seminars for farmers in those enlisted camps.

Thus, if this can be done the goal to reduce poverty and to wipe out hunger is not out of reach. Organizations must do more and farmers should always ask questions, they must be proactive in their work and also be passionate about making the goal to feed Africa achievable because wiping out hunger starts from them.

Written by Oladapo Emmanuel

Oladapo Emmanuel is an information Technology Professional, a web 2.0 and social media expert, a blogger, writer, multi-talented individual and a social activist keen to social development for a better society. He is currently a student of Adekunle Ajasin University, Ondo state.

SIMPLE STRATEGIES FOR PROFITABILITY IN YOUR AGRIBUSINESS

Agriculture should be viewed as “agri-profit” since business is all about making profit. Once you have a chosen agribusiness venture, your key profit drivers need prioritized strategies to ensure growth. In making your business more profitable that is increasing sales and revenue as well as decreasing cost and having savings, you should choose and focus on effective agribusiness growth strategies.

Agribusiness strategies transform subsistence activities of low productivity and low value addition to commercially oriented, innovative and modern agribusiness. It will enable you invest your resources technically to trigger profit and growth, and change your thought of just producing to producing to solve  problems and meeting market needs. When you choose to implement agribusiness strategies, it means you choose to allow your produce/product find a positionand meet competitive demands in the market.

Core values that will drive these strategies include:-

  • Efficiency which will be driven by the aim to reach higher competitiveness.
  • Innovation which will be driven by the aim to be impactful.
  • Positivity which will be driven by the aim to sustain performance.

The prioritized strategies include:

Putting Markets at the Center of all Production, Processing, Product Development and Packaging

  • Collate, update and provide relevant, timely and accurate market information to your customers and potential customers.
  • Be specific about your target market and the agribusiness you are into, so as to ensure optimum use of your resources in a particular direction.
  • Promote your produce and products by value addition, for example increase the quantity of your produce or products and still sell at the same price. This definitely doesn’t mean your business will run at a loss. Don’t forget I said agribusiness means agri-profit.
  • Be informed on agribusiness marketing, you can do that by using the internet appropriately and attending organized seminars and programs on agribusiness marketing.

Joining Vibrant Agribusiness Organizations and Forums

  • Connect, network, collaborate and share ideas with people of like minds.
  • Be part of a collective action that will lead to increased bargaining power.
  • Be active in the organization, dialogue and share information that will establish favorable business relationships with other agribusiness managers. This act can spur a member to refer you for business or link you with people that need your services.
  • Be part of organized seminars and programs by the organization or forum. There will be an opportunity for you to market and promote your agribusiness.

Improving on Quality Service to all Customers and Potential Customers

  • Treat all your customers well, definitely loyal customers should be well recognized but all customers deserve a great treat.
  • Satisfy your customers beyond their expectation, they will be motivated to continually patronize and refer you to other people.
  • Motivate steady customers by acknowledging their loyalty and by rewarding them; this can be with a discount, extra produce/ product or gift item. They can also be appreciated with a thank you message or call.
  • Provide concise information of your agribusiness services to all customers and potential customers.
  • Issue receipt to your customers, even if your agribusiness is small. Look at your agribusiness as a dressing that needs to be addressed appropriately. So step up and start issuing receipt.
  • Promote your business on different media (facebook, whatsapp, bbm, twitter,instagram). You can read on digital marketing for more information.
  • Be informed on climate, diseases, market trends to guide against low quality of produce/products and loss, through various means like paying attention to agribusiness news, joining interactive groups and platforms on social media.
  • Be informed about credit services, be part of a mentorship scheme and have a model farmer.

Read And Apply These Strategies To Your Agribusiness And Make Your New Profit Level A Reality. SUCCESS!

This blog post was written by Idowu T. Owoeye

email; idowuowoeye6@gmail.com

FG releases 2 hybrid yams, 7 other crop varieties

The Federal Government has approved the registration and release of nine hybrid crops varieties developed by scientists for Nigerian farmers to boost agricultural production in the country. Dr Sunday Aladele, Registrar, National Centre for Genetic Resources and Biotechnology (NACGRAB) made this known in a statement issued on Tuesday and made available to newsmen in Ibadan.

NACGRAB is a parastatal under Federal Ministry of Science and Technology. He said the release of the crops was announced by the chairman, National Varieties Release Committee (NVRC), Chief Awoyemi Oladosu at the 24th NVRC meeting held at NACGRAB. He listed the nine successful varieties as two hybrid white yam (UMUDr/020) and (UMUDr/021), two maize hybrids (SAMMAZ 49) and (SAMMAZ 51), and one maize variety (SAMMAZ 52). Others were two cowpea varieties (FUAMPEA 1 and FUAMPEA 2), one amaranthus or leaf vegetable hybrid (NHAMAR 1) and one okra hybrid (NHOKRA 1). According to him, the yam varieties were developed by National Root Crops Research Institute, Umudike, and International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) Ibadan. “The maize varieties were developed by Institute for Agricultural Research (IAR), Zaria and IITA while the cowpeas were from Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi, IAR, and IITA. “The two vegetable varieties, amaranthus and okra were from National Horticultural Research Institute, Ibadan,” he said. The registrar thanked the Minister of Science and Technology for facilitating the funding for the meeting. Aladele also thanked the West Africa Agricultural Programme for the financial support received so far. The Registrar announced that 166 crop varieties from Nigeria had been entered into ECOWAS catalogue. They included 59 maize, 18 sorghum, 14 rice, five pearl millet, 18 cowpea, three groundnut, 24 cassava, 19 yam, three potato and three tomato varieties. Also, Prof. Olusoji Olufajo, chairman Technical Sub Committee (Crops) said the committee had adopted the recommendation of the ad-hoc committee set up by NVRC on funding. He said the committee recommended that anybody submitting publicly bred material should be charged N50,000 and privately bred material should be charged N200,000 application fees for registration per crop variety/hybrid. According to him, 24th NVRC meeting held at NACGRAB was attended by crop scientists, breeders, seed companies and agriculture experts from all over the country.

Originally posted here:http://bit.ly/2ep3zOf

A lifestyle of Passion and Hardwork – Atinuke’s story on her Agribusiness and challenges

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Atinuke on the farm

This month we introduce you to Atinuke Lebile a young agro-entrepreneur without a family farming background but has grown for herself a lifestyle in Agriculture that is inspired by passion and hardwork. Atinuke started her agribusiness year 2014, today she has sole income from her 10 acre farm where she plants plantain, cassava, rice and vegetables while also processing some of her farm products.

Agropreneur Naija had an interview with her where she tells us about herself, how she started her agribusiness enterprise, challenges she faced when she first started up and how she was able to hold on despite the challenges faced.

Q1: Agropreneur, can we meet you?

Answer:  My name is Atinuke Lebile a native of Ondo State, Nigeria. I live in Ibadan, Nigeria. I am a rising young female, social agro-entrepreneur with apt interest in societal and human capital development. I manage La’Luce Foods and Integrated Services. I’m a Strategic Officer at Ogunmod Farms & Farmers and Farmers’ Academy and a Production Manager at Cato Foods and Agro- allied Global Concepts. I have a passion for feeding the nation and I’m so overly excited about agriculture. I was born in December!

Q2: How do you view Agribusiness?

Answer: Agriculture is a lifestyle borne out of passion. In this way I’m able to face challenges and head on when they arise.

Q3: Did you grow up on an Agricultural farm?

Answer:  No, I don’t have a farming family background.

Q4: So, what brought you into Agribusiness?

Answer: Passion and business. In spite of me being a graduate of Agriculture from the University of Ilorin, my venture into agribusiness was largely of passion and the need to do agriculture in a more attractive way like a real profitable business. The need to reduce postharvest losses experienced by farmers and develop the value chain of primary agricultural products also motivated me to go into agribusiness. I still strongly believe agriculture needs to become attractive especially to young people like me; we are the future of Africa.

Q5: When did you venture into Agribusiness?

Answer:  I started agribusiness in the year 2014.

Q6: What Agribusiness do you manage?

Answer:  I am into cultivation of vegetables, plantain, cassava and rice. I package ofada rice, fruits, chips, plantain flour, garri, catfish in various sizes (100g – 50kg), and I’m also involved in agro-processing.

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Atinuke harvesting her corn from the farm.

Q7:  How many acres is your farm?

Answer: 10acres

Q8: Is farming your only source of income?

Answer: YES

Q9: What time does your day start and end?

Answer: My day starts at 4am and ends at 11pm

Q10: Does your family have an influence on your Agribusiness?

Answer: Yes, they do. They respect my choice and provide guidance where and when necessary. Even though while starting my dad was not happy seeing his only daughter going into farming. He has    been a great support, just like every member of my family. Financial and moral support from my family has really been encouraging.

Q11: Did you face any challenge while starting up?

Answer: YES!

Q12: What challenge did you face, and how did you deal with it?

Answer: Funding is a major challenge for startups and I wasn’t exempted in the funding issue. I also faced the challenge of standardization and certification by NAFDAC. I chose to start small to achieve my big dreams in terms of finance. I also learnt a lot from mentors.

Q13: What part of Agribusiness do you find hard?

Answer:  Primary Production

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Atinuke performing irrigation on the soil

Q15: What part of Agribusiness do you find most satisfying?

Answer: The part of having to create products through postharvest processing and cultivate to feed people

Q16: What is the difference in your Agribusiness now and when you started?

Answer: I am still operating at a small scale compared to where I would love to be, but I am not where I used to be. No matter how small progress is, it is still progress anyway.

Q17: Have you ever considered getting out of agriculture for a more lucrative career? Answer: Agriculture is the only sector that has the capacity to create many jobs. My passion has always kept me going. However, there are times that one just feels overwhelmed.

Q18:  How do you see your role in your community?

Answer:  My role in my community is a very crucial one because I provide food on people’s table.

Q19: How do you think the government should implement the change in the agricultural sector?

Answer: There should be strong input from the youths on policy formulations that can drive the agricultural sector in the direction of commercialization and business development. Agricultural inputs should be subsidized and marketing board should be developed.

Q20: Have you seen any change in the present government involvement with agriculture in Nigeria?

Answers:  I believe there will be a change. But I would suggest that they should improve on the achievements of the last administration

Q21: Do you think Nigerians are aware or care about mechanized farming?

Answer: Sure, Nigerians care about mechanized farming

Q22: What changes do you predict the agricultural sector in Nigeria will see over the next 3 years?

Answer: There is going to be more youth involvement. Agriculture will create a lot of jobs and it will benefit from diversified funds.

Q23: Do you have any neighbor, family or friend that have given up Agribusiness?

Answer: YES, a lot.

Q24: What made them choose to give up?

Answer: It was mostly due to the enormous challenges of finance, marketing, climate change, most importantly impatience.

Q25: Do you plan to extend your Agribusiness?

Answer: YES

Q26: What is your plan?

Answer:  To expand postharvest production and create more jobs. I intend to expand production to reach out to more markets.

Q27: What advice would you give a friend that is also an Agropreneur?

Answer: Take Agriculture as a business. It is viable when you give your best to it. Don’t seek overnight success. Agric will not give you sudden wealth but it will build you sustainable wealth. More females need to come into agriculture because females do things with more precision, care and passion.

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