AGROPRENEUR

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

 

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.

Follow her on Twitter , Linkedin

 

 

Great stuff! A young Agropreneur’s innovation in soil analysis

Source: Google images, Hands Holding a Seedling and Soil ca. 2000

Source: Google images, Hands Holding a Seedling and Soil ca. 2000

We are inspired to repost an innovation by a young agriculturists doing great stuff. We will be featuring something on his soil Analysis and testing. Majority of Farmers in Nigeria still use indigenous methods to determine when to plant crops, type of soil best for planting. With technologies in place for soil analysis and testing detailed information on soil quality, nutrients are made known to farmers for proper decision in managing the farm/garden.

John bosco’s soil analysis and testing interests us in agricultural value chain in Nigeria. We consider this interesting enough to feature on the blog. I would however additionally define soil test and highlight reasons why we do soil analysis to give you a little understanding about soil analysis and testing. Enjoy!
What is soil test?
A soil test is a process by which elements (phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, sodium, sulfur, manganese, copper and zinc) are chemically removed from the soil and measured for their “plant available” content within the sample. The quantity of available nutrients in the sample determines the amount of fertilizer that is recommended. A soil test also measures soil pH, humic matter and exchangeable acidity. These analyses indicate whether lime is needed and, if so, how much to apply. (Source http://www.ncagr.gov/cyber/kidswrld/plant/soiltest.htm)
Why Do You Need A Soil Test?
Most soil nutrients are readily found in the soil provided that its pH level is within the 6 to 6.5 range. However, when the pH level rises, many nutrients (like phosphorus, iron, etc.) may become less available. When it drops, they may even reach toxic levels, which can adversely affect the plants. Getting a soil test can help take the guesswork out of fixing any of these nutrient issues. There’s no need to spend money on fertilizers that aren’t necessary. There’s no worry of over fertilizing plants either. With a soil test, you’ll have the means for creating a healthy soil environment that will lead to maximum plant growth.
Read more on “Testing Garden Soil – Why Test Soil in a Garden” here
AgroBosco – Agribusiness and consulting offering and solution
Soil analysis? – Analyse your soil now!
* Don’t just add bags/sachets/bottles of fertilizers to your soil because your friend added same quantity of fertilizer to his/her soil or a literature tells you to do so. It is RISKY!
* Don’t add the same formular/composition of fertilizer on your soil because your friend applied same formular/composition on his/her soil or literature tells you so. It is RISKY!
* Even though a study had been previously done on your soil for nutrient analysis, remember it is your turn to plant on same soil and NUTRIENT DEPLETS.
* You can actually determine the nutrient available in your soil, either the nutrient/element needed in large quantity or less quantity which gives you a CLEAR picture of the amount/quantity of fertilizer needed on your soil and ultimately reduces your cost of fertilizer input.
* You can also determine if the soil is suitable for the production of your crop
* Soil Analysis gives you the answer. DON’T RISK YOUR PROJECT…Analyze your soil today!
Soil Routine Analysis:
* pH
* Particle Size Distribution (Sand Silt, Clay)
* Exchangeable Cations (Ca, Mg, Na, K)
* Exchangeable Acidity (Al+ , H+)
* Effective Cation Exchange Capacity
* Base Saturation
* Total Nitrogen
* Total Organic Carbon
* Available Phosphorus
* Micro-Nutrients (Cu, Zn, Fe, Mn)
Forms of Nitrogen
* Ammonium Nitrogen
* Nitrate Nitrogen
* Nitrite Nitrogen
Total Analysis
* Sample Dissolution (Digestion)
* Phosphate
* Sulphate
Metal Analysis
* Sample Dissolution (Digestion)
* Cu, Zn, Fe, Mn, Pb, Cd, Cr, Ni, Co, K, Na, etc
Contact:
Email: boscowjay@yahoo.com
Mobile / Whatsapp: +234 8038626933
Also like our page: http://www.facebook.com/agrobosco
BBM Channel Pin: C00305738

The New Yuppies: How to Build a New Generation of Tech-Savvy Farmers

If the highest calibre of young people become farmers it will improve food security and help solve the unemployment crisis. Can tech make farming cool?

 Farmers in rural Kenya can use an app on their phones to check crop prices in Nairobi Photograph: Sven Torfinn/Panos

Farmers in rural Kenya can use an app on their phones to check crop prices in Nairobi Photograph: Sven Torfinn/Panos

As farmers age around the globe – I estimate that the average age is 55 – we need to make sure that young people see the food system as a viable career option. These farmers are the future of food. They can help to mitigate and potentially reverse climate change, curb unemployment and provide more nutrient-dense crops to the world.

Unfortunately, farming is usually seen as a last-resort profession. Rural youth migrate to cities in search of employment, and lack of infrastructure and education leads to poverty and malnutrition. But investing in young agricultural leaders has the power to transform the entire food system. Government leaders, businesses, and farmers groups need to make agriculture something youth want to do, not something they feel forced to do.

Climate change presents complex challenges for farmers of all ages, but youth are eager to use technology to access community-driven networks that harness knowledge to help. The Agroecological Intensification Exchange, for example, connects online users to innovations all over the world. Agroecological intensification aims at improving productivity and efficiency through better farm management, improved stability and diversity of yields and enhanced use of local resources. The site’s database, with case studies and research on topics from crop ecology to disease management, is a resource for practitioners and researchers in developing countries seeking to improve agricultural systems and adapt to the changing climate.

Networks with an explicit focus on youth are also crucial. The Global Forum on Agricultural Research and the Young Professionals for Agricultural Development (Ypard) are focusing on cultivating the next generation of farmers, researchers, scientists, agronomists and policymakers. Ypard has grown into a network of more than 4,500 members in 117 countries and young professionals share innovations and learn from farmers and researchers in other parts of the world. Ypard involves youth in critical conversations about agricultural research and policy including the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) negotiations and other important meetings where youth typically don’t have a voice.

Youth unemployment rates are on the rise in many developing countries – today, some 4.5 million youth around the globe are unemployed. But increasing the appeal of professions in agriculture can help solve this economic problem – creating social stability and food security. For farming to attract youth, it must become more profitable.

Luckily, the development of agriculture-focused cell phone applications is transforming the way people run their farms: sub-Saharan Africa has more 650 million cell phone subscribers, and the number is growing. Tigo Kilimo in Tanzania and Mobile Agribiz in the Democratic Republic of Congo provide small-scale farmers with crucial weather information and agricultural tips. And SokoniSMS64 in Kenya sends farmers texts with accurate market prices from around the country, helping them negotiate with traders and connect to markets. Access to this information can help farmers make the right decisions about what to plant and who to sell to – decisions that make a big difference about whether a harvest is profitable.

Achieving food security and combating malnutrition in the developing world also depends on improving the nutrient density of the crops. The International Fund for Agricultural Development (Ifad) emphasizes that while increasing productivity and profitability are important, improving nutrition requires more attention. This can be achieved, in part, through changes in practices – including better storage, preservation and processing.

And instead of growing starchy staples, young farmers are diversifying crop production to increase nutrition and incomes. Developing Innovations in School Cultivation, or Project Disc, in Uganda, is working with nursery school to high school students to develop a better appreciation – and taste – for indigenous foods. Edie Mukiibi, the project’s co-founder and now vice president of Slow Food International, says that “if a person doesn’t know how to grow food, they don’t know how to eat”. By working with schools to get students excited about indigenous plants, cooking, and preserving foods, Project Disc is instilling a positive perception of farming and lifelong knowledge about nutrition.

Empowering youth in developing countries to bring their energy to the agricultural sector is an ongoing effort. This effort must begin again with each new generation to help nourish both people and the planet. And it requires the support of policymakers, consumers, and innovators worldwide – the future of food depends on it.

Danielle Nierenberg is president of Food Tank. Follow @DaniNierenberg on Twitter.

Originally posted here

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

Nigeria: Applicants Wanted for Agriculture Youth Empowerment Scheme (Agric YES), Lagos

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The Lagos State Government in continuation of the 10 Point Agenda to create wealth, ensure food security and alleviate poverty through entrepreneurial training in modern agriculture is seeking applications from suitably qualified candidates for placement in the third phase of the six months intensive training course, the Agriculture Youth Empowerment Scheme (Agric Yes).

The Agric-Yes programme is a 3 phased programme which includes a six month intensive hands-on practical based training in aquaculture, poultry, vegetable farming and bee keeping.

Other highlights of the programme are a six month exposure to agriculture best practices in aquaculture, poultry, vegetable farming and bee keeping in a commercial farm as well as a permanent settlement in Farm estates in various locations in the State.

Requirements for admission into the six months programme includes;

  • a passion for agriculture,
  • possession of a recognized degree and diplomas from universities and polytechnics,
  • minimum of senior secondary school certificates and satisfactory physical and health conditions.

Read more here

WECA: Creating Wealth through Agribusiness in Ondo State, Nigeria

Cross-section of Agropreneurs at the WECA Programme

Cross-section of Agropreneurs at the WECA Programme

The involvement of youths in Agriculture and Food security programmes cannot be over emphasized. Youths being the most important target group for human resources development constitute the foundation of sustainable development. For sustainable food production and viable agricultural development, youths need to occupy a very central stage.

In my capacity as a youth, i made a visit to the Ondo State Wealth Creation (WECA) programme after hearing about the program from my interactions with some very passionate young agriculturists in Akure, Ondo state Nigeria. I was astonished about how such program exists for teeming youths with interests in Agricultural entrepreneurship and majority of them not knowing about the existence of such program made available for them. This inspired me to write this blogpost on the “WECA” programme as such information could be valuable to young agropreneurs or should i say now “nagropreneurs” who complain of general access challenges such as capital, farm inputs, access to machineries, improved seeds availability, requisite training and experiences e.t.c such information could come in handy for them.

WECA

The Ondo State Wealth Creation Agency was established in 2009, the program understands the importance of agriculture in improving and increasing household food security and hence provides raw materials that can drive the industrialization and employment opportunities for youths in Ondo state, Nigeria.

The WECA program focuses on creating wealth by introducing young men and women to modern agricultural best practices and agribusiness while exposing them to the entire value chain of agriculture which includes supply of inputs, production, preservation, processing, services, marketing and distribution and agric. financing, etc. The WECA programs objective involves the implementation of programs that act as catalysts to the systematic evolution of a new crop of professional farmers and agricultural entrepreneurs and also designs and develops efficient integrated value chain mechanism that focuses on production, processing, preservation, marketing and distribution and non-agricultural products thereby developing viable indigenous technology as a means to wealth creation.

Read more here

Nigeria Targets Youths in New YEAP/FAFIN Agriculture Initiative

Representatives of IITA Youth Agripreneurs with Dapo Oyebanjo (D’Banj), the Ambassador for the Nagroprenuers Initiative

Representatives of IITA Youth Agripreneurs with Dapo Oyebanjo (D’Banj), the Ambassador for the Nagroprenuers Initiative

The Nigerian government has launched two initiatives to encourage young people to become more involved in agriculture, and stem the rising unemployment in the country.

The two initiatives which were inaugurated by President Goodluck Jonathan in December are Youth Employment in Agriculture Program (YEAP) and the Fund for Agricultural Finance in Nigeria (FAFIN).

The YEAP which is similar to the IITA Youth Agripreneur (IYA) model is designed to reposition the agricultural sector by involving, developing and raising 760,000 youths in agribusiness within the next five years.

FAFIN on the other hand is a financing vehicle targeting Nigeria’s small and medium enterprises in agriculture.

Read more here

Me and the ‘wonder crop’

DCF 1.0

 

Nigeria cultivates a large array of food and cash crops among which rice has emerged as the fastest growing sub-sector and a popular staple food, especially for urban dwellers. Rice is cultivated in virtually all of Nigeria’s agro-ecological zones. These versatile attributes make it a unique crop with various potentials for enhancing productivity, thus this had made rice to be specially named the ‘wonder crop’.

Enhancing rice productivity through modern knowledge

I recently participated in a 5-day Capacity building workshop on Best Practices for Rice Production in Nigeria by the National Cereals Research Institute (NCRI), Badeggi, Niger State, in partnership with CORAF/ WECARD with funding from USAID.

The main objective of the event was to equip participants with modern knowledge in order to enhance rice productivity and profitability. Promoting the uptake of improved rice production technologies, agronomic practices, new varieties, enhance institutional and organizational capacities of farmer’s organizations leads to improved access to services to its members, and increased access to profitable markets for small holder rice farmers in Nigeria.

During the workshop, several agricultural professionals trained us on vital areas of modern rice production covering some like: rice growing environment, field establishment and methods of planting, growth phases and physiology of plant, integrated nutrient management for increased rice yields and production in Nigeria, amongst many others.

My journey as a young agriculturist

After the technical sessions, we went to NCRI Rice research and production fields as well as farmers’ fields in order to get on-farm knowledge and practices through the research scientists, superintendents and farmers. This properly equipped me with the knowledge and skills to contribute my quota meaningfully towards achieving the ambitious goal of rice sufficiency by the end of 2015.

My journey as a young agriculturist has been very fulfilling and though challenging, the opportunities that lie at the end of every milestone have kept me going due to my strong passion for agriculture. My first field experience as an agriculturist was in 2011 at the Teaching and Research Farm, University of Agriculture Makurdi during my six months Industrial Training. We were involved in the production of rice, maize, cowpea, soybean and cassava. I recorded the highest yields from my rice plot and made good sales from them. I also worked with rice farmers during the extension work. Since then I have developed keen interest due to the potentials of this ‘wonder crop’.

Nigeria – an arising Agriculture Power House

I am a corps member serving with NCRI Badeggi currently under the rice research program. Hence, I work with senior colleagues and rice farmers to ensure the research we carry out is relevant and applicable to solving the current challenges rice farmers are experiencing. We are conducting field trials on new accessions that have just been breed. There are a lot of boundless opportunities across the rice value chains ranging from production through processing and storage to marketing and so forth.

When rice farmers have access to viable and high yielding seeds from research institutes, reputable seed companies, National Agricultural Seed Council, ADPs and Ministries of Agriculture as well as other inputs such as adequate fertilizers, effective agro pesticides, credit and loans, modern production and processing technologies such as mobile soil testing kits, Sawah eco-technology and enabling infrastructure are provided. When these are provided through government assistance, then Nigeria can once again be on the path to rice sufficiency which will mark the end of rice importation. This is a sure path to wealth, job creation and food security.

For as we do, I have every faith not only that we shall succeed, but that, through our passion and efforts, our Nation will once again be able to hold up its head high within the community of nations and be a food basket for Africa and the world. Together, we can be great again! Today our future lies before us. I can see Nigeria arising as an Agriculture Power House. Nigeria will arise, my friends. Agriculture was Nigeria’s past and agriculture is Nigeria’s great future!

Picture credit: Rice fields, by Jose A. Warletta.

 

First published on Ypard website

BOI CAP FUND – Revitalizing the Agric cottage industry

 The Agro-Processing industry received a major boost as the Bank of Industry (BOI) launched the Cottage Agro-processing Fund to stakeholders and operators in the Agricultural sector on Thursday September 18, 2014 at a media briefing in Lagos. The BOI Managing director Rasheed Olaoluwa in his speech said the Cottage Agro-processing (CAP) Fund was a new dedicated Fund, the first of its kind by the Bank of Industry (BOI) and is designed to enable BOI being Nigeria’s leading development finance institution play its catalytic role of paving the way for other financial institutions to take up the task of financing agriculture and make changes that will help in revolutionizing the sector in the process demonstrate to other financial institution how to lend to small and medium industries in the perceived high risk sectors of the economy. The fund is targeted at small-and medium-scale industries at the low-technology, labour-intensive end of the spectrum and is expected to finance about 1000 projects at nine percent interest charges, with total management fees of 1%,a tenor of five (5) years with a moratorium of six (6) months. The Fund will also help in creating a total of 20,000 direct and indirect jobs.

“The Fund size of N5billion for the Cottage Agro Processing (CAP) Fund is only a starting point, as we intend to deploy a 2nd Phase after the full utilization of this initial Fund. We want to encourage all SMEs to take full advantage of this Fund.  But as they say, nothing good comes easy.  Loan applicants must come prepared with viable business plans.  We expect them to utilize the loans judiciously, add value and create jobs. “Full and timely repayment of loans granted under this Fund will provide the entrepreneurs with clear paths to bigger project loans from BOI and therefore greater wealth creation opportunities for their companies.” The BOI boss said. Olaoluwa disclosed that applicants for the fund could become beneficiaries within two to four weeks, if they have the appropriate and suitable business plan.

Mr. Rasheed Olaoluwa further stated, “The Cottage Agro Processing (CAP) Fund will provide loans to beneficiaries to establish small scale plants or mini mills to process Nigeria’s agricultural products such as cassava, oil palm, paddy rice, groundnut, yam, maize, sorghum, cocoa, sheanut, plantain, cashew, hides and skin, meat, chicken and fish. These products are grown all over the country and have been selected to ensure an even distribution across Nigeria’s 36 States.”  Mr. Olaoluwa said priority products for each state have been identified and a number of partners have been assembled for the effective operation of this Fund. He said further said the projects financed will be located very close to the source of the agricultural products to be processed and the business plan must address both the primary and secondary sources of energy to power the plant.

The BOI MD/CEO said the bank was going into this in realization that industrialization is a prerequisite for sustainable economic growth and development, adding that funds accruable from the sale of oil cannot bring about the desired growth and generate employment, except the nation embraces technology and industrialise.

Why BOI CAP Fund?

  • Agriculture is the mainstay of the Nigerian economy
  • The sector enjoys the support of the federal government
  • Create jobs and ensure wealth distribution
  • The intervention aligns with the federal government’s Agricultural Transformation Agenda, as well as other industrial sector interventions of the federal government.

Who is the Fund for?

The fund is designed to benefit Limited Liability Companies, enterprises and Coorperative societies engaged in the processing of Agricultural produce into food products and/or raw materials, either for industry use or for export.

Capacity Building/Business Support for the CAD Fund

The Bank of industry (BOI), understanding the need for entrepreneurship know-how for the agropreneurs mandates that all applicants to the CAD fund must undergo entrepreneurial training at any of the existing accredited enterprise Development Centres (EDCs) as part of the loan application process.

Agro Processing as a National Imperative

According to UNIDO, IFAD and FAO (2008), Agro-processing is the processing, preservation and preparation of agricultural production for intermediate and final consumption. Under Nigeria’s Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP), Agro-processing is one of the four (4) key sectors that have been identified as strategic and in which Nigeria has a comparative advantage. The Nigerian agro-processing industry plays a vital role in the national economic development so therefore it is imperative to explore alternative income generating opportunities to support small holder farmers in agro-processing. The Agriculture sector needs to grow to such a point where we become self-sufficient in food and are net food exporters. It is important to note that agro-processing has multiplier effects in job creation, reduction of post-harvest losses and generating better rural incomes.

Because of the market forces of supply/demand, there are periods of glut and scarcity of food supplies, this could be rectified through the development of an agro-processing industry as agricultural produce are perishable and cannot be stored for long period during periods of glut. Consequently, large amounts of fruit and vegetables are wasted during periods of glut which result in great losses to farmers as well as to our economy.  Unfortunately, our agro-processing industry remains largely underdeveloped because of a lack of investments in this respect.

Agro-processing has backward linkages with the primary agricultural sector (smallholder farms, forestry, livestock, fisheries, etc.) and forward linkages to downstream industries.  For instance, a High Quality Cassava Flour Processing Plant uses cassava as raw materials and supplies its product to Flour Milling Plants. It ranges from upstream/minimally processed activities (e.g. oil processing, saw milling, etc.) to downstream/technology intensive activities (e.g. rubber manufacturing, paper production, etc.).

Checklist of Document Required for Loan Application

  1. Formal Application
  2. Photocopy of Certificate of Registration (Form CAC/BN/A1).
  3. Business Plan
  4. Valuation report on existing assets prepared by an accredited BOI valuer.
  5. Value of equipment to be purchased from a BOI accredited supplier (including invoices).
  6. Source(s) and value of raw materials to be purchased expressed in units.
  7. Two (2) passport photographs of the Promoter (business owner)
  8. Photocopy of the Current Tax Clearance Certificate of the Proprietor.
  9. Means of Identification (i.e. International Passport or Driver’s License or National Identity Card) of the Proprietor.
  10. Bank Statement of the Business Enterprise for six (6) months.
  11. Declaration of Outstanding Liabilities to other Banks and Individuals.
  12. Reference letter from a recognized traditional ruler or authorized Local Government Official.
  13. Provision of a minimum of two (2) External Guarantors to guarantee the loan. The Guarantors must belong to any of the following categories:
    1. Senior Civil Servant (not below the rank of Assistant Director).
    2. Bankers (not below the level of Branch Manager), with minimum of 5 years in service with the Bank (current employer).
    3. Lawyers (SAN).

Individual Guarantor’s Requirements

  1. Letter of Intent to guarantee
  2. Profile/CV of the guarantor.
  3. Means of Identification (i.e. International Passport or Driver’s License or National Identity Card).
  4. Notarized Statement of Net-Worth with affixed passport photographs (Standard Form will be issued by BOI).

The CAP Fund Application Form and requirements to access the fund can be obtained on the Bank of Industry Website: http://www.boinigeria.com/CAPFund/