model farmer

Agribusiness Incubation: A Young Agropreneur’s Story, Post Incubation

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Johnbosco on the farm

This month we bring you a model youth of the IITA youth Agripreneur who was mentored to see Agriculture as a business. Today he has moved on to make for himself a growing and thriving business in plantain, banana and pineapple sucker production and multiplication among others, he distributes his suckers to various locations across Nigeria while he also helps farm setups both in Nigeria and diaspora with their farm management and setup. He also gives training on the production and business aspect of his mandate crops.

JohnBosco has since realized that picking agriculture as a business is the only work of life that is capable of giving massive percentage return on investment with eye-catching cost benefit ratio and higher curve of income, only if seen as a business. He thanks IITA for taking the lead to walk the talk on Youth in Agribusiness in Africa and encourages the Private and Public sectors and the world to rise up and walk the talk with proactive measures to help Youth see Agriculture as a business.

JohnBosco advices young people who have failed before in their agribusiness not to see it as a setback as every time invested in business has an impact and enables us see ways doing business in a particular way would’nt work.

In this piece he reveals how he started and projects he is currently working on in the value chain and discusses challenges faced as it relates to youth engagement in Nigeria.

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

Answer: My name is Ezemenaka Johnbosco, preferably called Bosco by fans. I come from Anambra state, born and brought up in Ibadan. I grew up as a normal child with passion for business and development, but with no formal foresight of what sector of business I wanted as a child. Now, I’m the C.E.O of AgroBosco – Agribusiness and Consulting, Founder – International Forum for Youth in Agribusiness ‘IFYA’ (a virtual non-formalized platform), Agribusiness Analyst for Aroms Farms Nigeria Limited and Program Manager for McPennin Nigeria Limited.

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

Answer: I have an Agricultural background in Soil Science and Land Management, Agricultural Extension and Rural Development. There’s no doubt I had the background from a Federal Agricultural University, still I had no clue of what aspect of life I was going to make that money from, even as at my fourth year as an undergraduate. I eventually graduated and as luck would play its role, I found myself in International Institute of Tropical Agriculture as my place of primary assignment as a Youth Corper serving my nation.

I was mentored and spawned to see Agriculture as a business. From there, I gained momentum with a crystal clear vision and goal to my independence and self-sustainability, so I decided to scramble for professional experience in Agribusiness Development, Business and Entrepreneurship, Civic Leadership, Public Management and Leadership.

Picking up Agribusiness as my part of life is simply because Agriculture is the ONLY work of life that is capable of giving you massive Percentage Return on Investment with eye-catching Cost Benefit Ratio and higher Curve of Income, only if seen as a business.

John bosco working on the farm

Q3. What aspect or nature of work in Agriculture do you practise? Briefly, Tell us about your work?

Answer: With practical experience in maize seed production, soybean seed production, cassava production / stem multiplication, plantain / banana fruit production and rapid sucker multiplication using macro-propagation technique and pineapple production / rapid sucker multiplication, this has helped me setup my own company. I give trainings on the aforementioned crops, help clients near and in diaspora set up farms and management, help develop Agribusiness companies in line with their business strategies to meet their business goals, help develop business plans, project plans and proposals with groovy and keen attention in Agri-start-ups for Youths.

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

Johnbosco facilitating Macro-propagation of Hybrid Plantain

Answer: I have been giving trainings on the production and business aspect of my mandate crops to Youths and Farmers for self dependence, sustainability and enhanced income. Since commercial banks hardly finance Youths to start their venture, I’m working on providing Agri-finance with the Co-Founder of International Forum for Youths in Agribusiness – IFYA through ‘crowd-funding’ (micro fund raising through our members on the IFYA virtual platform) to set up Agri start-ups (maximum of $26,000 USD with an approved business plan).

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

Answer: Youth participation is Agriculture is just the tool-box for significantly increasing food security, reducing world poverty and unemployment to ALARP level. Statistically, Youth make up the highest percentage of world’s population density with significant physiological and morphological capacity capable of deactivating the world time bomb. There’s no two ways about using Youth as a veritable tool.

Q6. What are the challenges of youth engagement in agribusiness as it relates to what you do, How do you think it is affecting Agricultural Entrepreneurship in Nigeria?

Answer: There are numerous challenges faced by Youth engaged in Agribusiness. The primary and number one challenge is ‘change of mindset’, others are secondary. Youths should have their mindset changed about Agriculture, the Private and Public sectors should help Youth see Agriculture as a business. A proactive concept and programs with strong Monitoring and Evaluation should be developed in all continents to tackle this and not just financing start-ups for Youths. Special regards to the IITA’s concept of Youth in Agribusiness, as a model in Africa. I tell you this; if you give a Youth $1 billion for an Agribusiness venture without having his/her mindset changed about seeing Agriculture as a business and the prospects attached to it, then you just poured water into a basket. I know there are so many programs and concepts about changing the mindset of Youths towards seeing Agriculture as a business, but the world has to rise and walk the talk with proactive measures. More regards to IITA for taking the lead to walk the talk on Youth in Agribusiness in Africa.

Johnbosco at the IITA youth Agripreneur incubation plot

In Nigeria, this has greatly affected negatively, considering the teeming Youth population moving into Nigerian labour market quarterly, and then you can figure out how devastating this is in Africa, having Nigeria as the most populous country in Africa. Just figure it out! Example: My friend ‘A’ is comfortable working as a freelancer with a bank and receiving a limited token as salary, while my friend ‘B’ quitted his freelancing ICT job for just a commodity in Agribusiness and now making fortune with unlimited revenue and profit generation.

Q7. What advice do you have for young people engaged in agriculture?

Answer: My advice for young people engaged in Agriculture is to see it as a business. Only then will they realise the fortune that awaits them. In business, every time invested has an impact. Failing is normal in life, but they should NEVER see ‘fail’ as a setback in any of the value-chains of Agribusiness they are into, but rather see ‘fail’ as a finding of ways that don’t work.

Q8. What do you think government should put in place to improve the agric sector in Nigeria? Suggest Advice

Answer: Nigeria government should; 1. Take Youth as a tool-box for development of the Agricultural sector. 2. Work on changing the mind-set of the Youths through Non-Governmental Organizations and private sectors who are walking the talk and proactive, and embracing these organizations with resources needed. 3. Significantly reduce the interest rates on loan and to make it easily accessible to the common Youth. Government should be proactive about the aforementioned using aggressive and diplomatic Monitoring and Evaluation framework base approach.

Here is a Youtube video of Johnbosco talking about Plantain Macropropagation in Nigeria.

Contact him via boscowjay@yahoo.com or Blog

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