Agriculture is by far the best industry to invest in Nigeria if you have a futuristic mindset. As a country, we’re indeed growing at a mind-blowing pace. With an estimated population of 400 Million (400,000,000) Nigerians by 2030, the agro-industry will worth over 1 trillion Naira.
It’s left for you to decide whether you should leverage on agriculture in this coming year or not, but if you’ve made up your mind to give it a shot, then this post will be of great help to you.
This Saturday I was opportune to attend an agro-hangout event organized by Myfarmbase, a platform bringing stakeholders, new entrants and members of the agriculture value chain together. In attendance were successful farm owners like Dr. Opeyemi Agbato(the Executive Director of Animal Care) and Mrs. Olusola Sowemimo (The CEO of Ope Farms). Also present were industry professionals from Nestle and the Afex Commodities Exchange.
For those that want to start an agro-business, below are some important nuggets that can get you started.
1. Start with the end in mind:
Here you need to identify and focus on your direct customers. Are you selling to industries, market women, or the end-users?
You need to forget everything you have learned on Google and visit the market. That’s the only way you can know what’s up in the market.
Although this initial market research will cost you money upfront, it will surely save your ass from losing a whole lot of capital in the long run.
The CEO of Ope farms even opined that just by meeting with your customers and knowing their price, you may be able to supply them at a cheaper price by finding a cheaper supplier and not necessarily starting a farm.
2. Understand the market:
You must know the market you’re serving. The Nigerian market is more complex than you may think. Most times, the market women, suppliers and farm owners operate a kind of system that you may find difficult to comply with. Therefore, If you don’t have huge capital like companies such as Nestle, Chii, etc, you should look at partnering with other people in the value chain.
3. What you need to meet the demand
There are numerous things needed to meet the market demand such as capital, manpower, partnership, regulations, etc
But based on your market research, you will figure out exactly what you need to meet the demand.,
4. What part you want to play in the value chain.
Yes, this very important. How do you want to position yourself in the agriculture space? You may decide to run a livestock farm or a plant farm. You may also decide to be an investor in the space or help with regulations by working in the government. You just have to find the most suitable spot for you and make sure you leave a landmark there.
5. Focus on your target market:
Knowing your target market is not enough, you’ve got to focus on them. You can’t serve everybody, it will only leave you stressed out. So stay focused.
The growing population of Nigerians is making agriculture one of the major industries to invest in the coming years. If you finally decide to leverage on it, starting with the end in mind, understanding your target market and knowing which part you want to play in the value chain will surely put you on the right foot.
Enough talking/reading! Let the challenge start. So get out there and make things happen.