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Beating the hurdles of agribusiness in these times

World Food Day is celebrated every year on October 16. It marks the founding day of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

This year 2020, the World Food Day under the theme “Growth, Nourish, Sustain, Together” was celebrated as expected even as the world is managing the impact of the global pandemic, Covid-19.

As part of this yearly celebration, YPARD Nigeria South West region was proud to host an enlightening webinar (via Zoom) for agripreneurs tagged "Beating the hurdles of Agribusiness in times like this: Facts from young agripreneurs".

The webinar which had about thirty online participants started around 2:05 pm. The moderator, Mr Farotimi Olaoluwa, opened the webinar with a brief introduction about the event, the vision of YPARD and the speakers followed with their presentations.

Our focus was to ensure young people see agriculture as a sector with a trillion-dollar economy and hence manage the business same way, not just the traditional way we have been used to.

The first speaker, Mr Agbo Chinoso (YPARD Enugu State Rep) spoke extensively on adapting to changing climate: the role of agricultural insurance. He said Africa has extreme exposure and high vulnerability to climate risks, which could bring about reduced crop productivity which would have an impact on food security. He went ahead to explain the reason for agricultural insurance and his major reason is that weather extremes can have long-lasting impacts on smallholder farmers livelihoods, hence there is need to be prepared, this can be done through financial inclusion, which would serve as one of the means of increasing smallholder farmers resilience. Furthermore, he explained the options that farmers have when opting for agric insurance packages. He then gave a brief on the premium rates and percentages associated with various packages.

The second speaker, Miss Tinuke Lebile majored on exploring the strategy of collaboration for real growth in agribusiness. She highlighted the importance of collaboration in agribusiness. One of her professional counsels to the participants was that they need to collaborate with those that have what they need to grow their agribusiness. With respect to this, she mentioned such as machinery, agrochemicals, e-commerce platform. These collaborations would reduce the cost of running a small business and also help the small firms spread the little running capital on production/processing and not just on purchases of machines which they may not as yet be big enough to fully utilize.

She also mentioned that agripreneurs need to be open to learning from those they are collaborating with, that would better prepare them to understand the challenges related to the focus area of the collaboration and also help them work out solutions in preparation for running it personally in future. Finally, she advised that social media, online advertisement are a necessary tool to adopt in 21st-century agribusiness, these would enable small businesses to tell their story and also make it easy to attract firms to partner and collaborate on various areas.

The third Speaker, Mr Majid Toukura discussed Agricultural Services and Digital Inclusion. He laid the foundation of his discussion on the strength of the agric sector in the past, accounting for over 51% of the total GDP of the county. He said it was unfortunate that Nigeria now has to depend on imports to meet local food consumption. He hinted that Digital inclusion helps farmers and service providers to maximize the impact of existing agricultural services. Farmers have the opportunity to use social media for brand exposure, access extension services, increase traffic to their business, generate leads and increase sales.

Finally, he explained that digital tools are a necessity for agricultural transformation.

Some benefits are:

  1. Improved entrepreneurship skills
  2. Access to a wide range of extension information
  3. Access to market and information on market prices.

He finished up by advising young agribusiness enthusiast to share their stories as a way of telling their strength and enabling the public to rank them as authorities in their field.

We had the past coordinator of YPARD, Olawale Ojo encourage the participants, he said and I quote “Hard work, informed decision, learning and patience are needed to change career to farming.”

At the tail end of the webinar questions sent in before and during the webinar were answered by the speakers and Mr. Olawale Ojo. Some of the points to note are:

  • Farmers need to tell their growth stories to encourage others.
  • Young agribusiness owners need to join relevant discussions that can help them.
  • Success and failure stories should be shared.
  • Small scale farmers do not need to invest their money on machineries, what they need is to collaborate with factories that have the type of machine they need.
  • Farmers need to be open to sharing profits and not be selfish with intent to make all the profits thereby refusing to collaborate.
  • Other farmers should not be seen as a competitor as Agriculture cannot be done in isolation. In other words, a farmer needs to collaborate with other farmers.
  • You can fund your agribusiness by collecting grants from the government.
  • Scaling-up in agriculture requires high-value proposition, collaborative effort among your chosen partners and most importantly digital inclusion.
  • Many farmers and agribusiness personnel have failed to scale up because of the inability to access market and absence of value proposition in their plans respectively.
  • You should start up your agribusinesses with a mindset of value proposition for the end consumer.
  • Start small and scale along the way.

The vote of thanks was given by the country rep of YPARD Mr Eric and how participants can become registered members of YPARD which would enable them to access various opportunities and information was shared.

This was documented by Falade Yinka, Isaiah Akindunbi, Akorede Awofeso, Abigail Ijiwande and Akinremi Julian.

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Friday, 19 April 2024

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