Youth: Six Things You Should Know about Agro Dealership

Fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, animal care medicines and many others are constantly needed in the farming sector. Not only do farmers need this crop protection products they also need inputs that are of quality and will meet their needs. And this indeed opens quiet a big door of opportunity for youth.

Alhaji Idris Musa, an agro-dealer representative in Karshi , FCT Nigeria

Alhaji Idris Musa, an agro-dealer representative in Karshi , FCT Nigeria

Agro-Dealers

Today, I am going to do a quick dive into what you should know about agro-dealership and areas where as young people we can tap into. First, you need to know who an agro dealer is:

An agro-dealer is someone, business organisation and sometimes cooperative society that engage in the sale and purchase of agricultural input. They usually have a valid registration certificate or license to carry out this activity as required by the law. They are usually also part of a union that governors activities of dealers

The agro dealer can either be a wholesaler or a retailer. The wholesaler buys directly from the manufacturer or sometimes an importer or suppler. They buy in large volume as sell to a retailer. The retailer is the one who buys from the wholesaler and is usually in direct contact with farmers and other consumers. The agro input sold fall into various types like fertilizers, pesticides, seeds and farm implements or equipment.

What Should You Know?
If you are thinking of venturing into agro dealership there are a couple of things you should know.
• There are different types of fertilisers, crop chemicals, farm implement and seed varieties. Thus it is important that you know what is needed and acceptable by your customers and provide them with the very best of quality inputs
• For those that will deal in fertilizers it is paramount you know about the nutrient value of different fertilizers and methods of conversion of nutrients to fertilizer material. It is also good to know the role of plant nutrients in crop production and what symptoms the crop show when the nutrient is deficient.
• An agro-dealer should also have knowledge of how to apply or use the inputs they sell. For example he/she should know the time to use an input, methods of application and quantity to be used
• A sound knowledge of marketing and sales is also important. As many products will come your way and you just have to sell and make profit.
• An agro dealer also needs to have knowledge of the local market and the demand of consumers. This would also involve understanding the farmers practice and noting where there are gaps so as to provide advice and inputs to meet their needs.
• It is a business so ensure to source input at good prices and quality.
Agro dealership requires both technical and business skills and if done properly can be profitable. The livelihood of many farmers also depends on what they get out of their farms. And the starting point for many is the kind of inputs they buy and how they use it. Thus been an agro dealer is a business of trust, integrity and the touching of lives when done properly. You will be on the path of helping farmers meet their needs and producing quality food and agricultural products. So when next you visit an agro dealer shop or you decide to open yours kindly have these in mind.

Watch Out For Part Two Of This Blog Post Where I We Would Learn More About The Functions Of An Agro dealer
RESEARCH SOURCE: MARKETING TRAINING MANUAL BY USAID NIGERIA AND IFDC

 

PHOTO CREDIT :Flicker/ GRM International

Six tips for Nigerian banks to help financing agriculture

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As I sat in the e-conference Hall of the Kenya School of Monetary Studies, the venue for the 2nd African Continental Briefing organized as part of the Fin4Ag Conference: Revolutionising Finance for Agri-value chains, I could not but help listen attentively as Esther Muiruri, the General Manager Marketing and Communications, from Equity Bank gave the presentation on “Banking Agriculture in the Eastern African Region”. As she spoke, all I could say to myself was “These are the things the banks in Nigeria should be doing to finance agriculture”.

Today I am going to share the 6 things done by the Equity Bank in East Africa, that in my view, I believe Nigerian Banks will find helpful if implemented both for them as a business and for the beneficiaries (players in the agric sector).

  1. Understand the client: the risks in agriculture are not perception, they are realities. As a matter of fact, there are some conditions that the farmers absolutely have no control over. Thus, it is important that bank understand the farmers, the peculiarity of their business, be it cropping or animal production. What this does is to enable the banks develop and offer products and services tailored to the need of the client.
  2. Know the kind of value chain the client is into: This helps the banks identify and know the players in the sector the client is. Who are the buyers? What is demand like? How effective are the other players in the chain.
  3. Recruiting Agric based employee: The Equity Bank, according to Esther Muiruri, ensures they employed people with agricultural knowledge base and this helps them to have people on the ground who can relate to the feelings of the farmers, and more importantly, build a relationship with clients (farmers/growers), that in turn, aid to serve as a risk mitigation strategy. These employees are of course trained in money management and finance.
  4. Offering trainings for farmers: these trainings help the banks to understand better the activities of the farmers in terms of their growing cycle and practices. It also help to get feedbacks and monitor the progress of the farmers and other value chain player throughout the season.
  5. Provision of financial training programme: The farmers are given financial education to aid their businesses and also encourage them to save so as to be able to have access to investment money from the bank.
  6. Partnership: To be able to serve their client well, the bank partners with relevant organisations like AGRA, IFAD, input dealers, commodity buyers and this enables them know the acceptable standards, new best practices and technology available.

To be able to finance the agriculture value-chain, fund providers must understand what goes on in the agricultural system. Sitting in offices and waiting for client will not help. Activities need to be on the ground. Banks need to be in the shoes of the farmers, growers and agribusiness owners to know and meet their needs. And the only way to achieve this is by building relationships and going all the way out to provide tailored services and products for farmers and relevant value chain players.

Will the Nigerian Banks take up this task and make changes that will help in revolutionising agriculture and agribusiness? Will they contribute in removing so many smallholders out of poverty helping them increase their income and be better player in agribusiness? Only time will tell..

Photo credit: C. Schubert/CCAFS

First Published here

PASSION, CONVICTION AND DRIVE TO MOVE FORWARD – DR NWANZE KANAYO, IFAD PRESIDENT

olawaleojo:

As a fan of the IITA Youth am happy to read this

Originally posted on IITA Youth Agripreneurs:

IFAD PRESIDENT

IFAD President, Dr. Nwanze Kanayo (L), while addressing the IITA Youth Agripreneurs and DG IITA, Dr. Nteranya Sanginga (R)

Dr. Nwanze Kanayo, IFAD president – “Your greatest support will be your passion, conviction and drive to move forward”

After the first visit of the IFAD president, Dr. Nwanze Kanayo to the International Institute of tropical Agriculture (IITA) to consolidate the partnership of the organization and the Institute on the August, 2012, the president again visited 22 months after.

During, his first visit was a significant moment which would ever remain in the history of both IITA and the youth in Agribusiness initiative group, IITA Youth Agripreneurs (IYA); planting of tree to serve as a symbol of initiation of the group and repopulating the Institute.

Dr. Kanayo, during his recent visit (16-17 June, 2014) was intimated with the whole “story” of IYA, including the inception…

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Five ways of engaging the youth in agriculture

BY Yared Mammo
Young peoples’ affinity with ICTs and their ability to innovate is the key to moving mAgriculture forward and attracting the youth to the agricultural sector in ACP countries.

mAgriculture, the use of mobile platforms and applications by agricultural smallholders, has been welcomed in developing countries since its introduction more than a decade ago. As the coverage of mobile networks increases in ACP countries, the discussion on introducing mobile applications in the agricultural sector has moved from ‘whether’ to ‘how’.

Mobile finance and value-added information services are an obvious and promising example of the many new mAgriculture initiatives. Indeed, mobile money has great transformative potential and could change entire economies in the ACP region if introduced broadly across sectors such as agriculture, commerce and health care.

The youth will play a major role in the further growth of mAgriculture as young people have a natural affinity with ICTs. Indeed, to a certain extent mAgriculture is banking on the youth to move it forward. But keeping young people, the next generation of farmers, involved in agriculture is an intricate problem and involves more than merely replacing old farmers with new. It is about rejuvenating smallholder agriculture as a whole, and accepting the youth as today’s partners and tomorrow’s development architects. Providing training and farm inputs is not enough to attract these young people to a career in agriculture. Rather, they should be supported with easy access to information and markets through the use of mobile technology.

Mobilizing the youth     

 
Many young farmers in developing countries are aware that agriculture can be a worthwhile business that could earn them a good livelihood. Still, many of them are leaving their families’ farms for an uncertain future in the city. ICTs are a way of changing this trend, according to Youth, ICTs and Agriculture, a report published in November 2013 by the non-profit foundation IICD (see box).

Efforts to improve ‘access to market information, production techniques, new technologies and financing opportunities’ are a start, but they should be complemented by seizing ‘the youth’s affinity for using ICTs, their capacity to innovate and their propensity for taking higher entrepreneurial risks’.
Another way of changing this trend it to change the perception of agriculture. In Ethiopia, for example, it has been more than half a century since agriculture was introduced as a topic of study at the university level. Yet students are still reluctant to join the agricultural sector.

Five areas of change    

Universities, governments and international partners must give smallholder farmers more recognition and support them by giving them better access to market information, developing tailored mobile applications and training farmers in their use. The youth will only be attracted to agriculture once smallholders tangibly improve their livelihoods and if policy makers, planners and professionals are the drivers of change. There are five main areas of focus.

  • First, the focus must shift away from the affordability and accessibility of mobile phones, networks and applications. The agricultural sector’s biggest problem is not a lack of resources. What it lacks, and what farmers need, are better ways of accessing markets to sell produce. And there are too few applications around that target farmers’ specific needs.
  • Second, a substantial part of the national budgets in African countries is spent on developing agricultural sectors, mostly by supplying farmers with improved seeds, fertilizers and information on how to use them. However, budgets are rarely allocated to the development of mobile applications that promote inclusive agricultural value chains.
  • Realistic budgets targeted at developing and rolling out mobile applications would transform smallholder agriculture by empowering farmers with knowledge related to their produce and putting them in better bargaining positions.
  • Third, even if smallholder farmers are given better seeds, fertilizers and other farm inputs, and even if they are given access to information on how to improve productivity, they can still only improve their livelihoods and contribute to global food security if they are able to sell their produce. Providing market information to farmers and securing their access to national and international markets should be a top priority in any mAgriculture government policy.
  • Fourth, farmers across the world have one thing in common: their information needs fluctuate according to the agricultural calendar, and according to global developments in agriculture. Understanding that these kinds of factors determine smallholders’ needs for knowledge and information is half the battle in developing mobile applications for agricultural information services. So to understand exactly how mAgriculture can work most effectively in given circumstances it is important to carefully analyse the information needs of all those in the agricultural value chain.
  • Take India, for example. For the past 30 years, the focus there has been on increasing farm productivity. Today, India’s agriculture has entered a post-green revolution stage and farmers’ demands for agricultural information have been changing and diversifying. Their main concern has shifted from higher farm production to higher and better returns on their investments. As a result, their interest has moved from technical information to market prices and information that could add value to their produce.
  • And fifth, resources need to be pooled so people can experiment with new support structures and different forms of partnership, such as public–private, public–private–NGO and private–private at the local, national, regional and international levels. For example, value-added applications can be developed by private individuals, students, university researchers, NGO staff and software solution firms.
  • These developers need to team up with traditional government services, such as extension services, marketing boards and the telecom companies, all of which have the capacity to scale-up the use of mobile applications, in particular in remote rural areas. These kinds of partnerships will ensure that we get the best of both worlds.

ICTs and young farmers in western Kenya   

Youth, ICTs and Agriculture based its findings on research in western Kenya. It examined how the use of ICTs in farming there affected the interest of youth in agriculture. The farmers interviewed were between 24 and 38 years old, 80% male and 20% female. Of these, 65% had completed secondary education and 15% had completed a degree at a college or university.

As many as 90% of those interviewed used ICTs on their farms. The ICT tools used most often were Excel and Word; the internet (computer and mobile); FrontlineSMS; video, radio and TV; and online newspapers, magazines and brochures.

One of the report’s most interesting discoveries was a difference in attitude towards ICTs and agriculture among single farmers and farmers who are married and have children. Single farmers initially view ICTs as a gateway to better jobs and employment outside farming, according to the report. Young farmers with families, on the other hand, immediately focus on using ICTs to improve productivity and profitability.

The report’s complete findings and recommendations can be found on  http://goo.gl/6bvWZy .

This article was first published in the May 2014 issue of  ICT UPDATE BY CTA

MD Farmcentre Africa Assists Young People in Poultry Management

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The Managing Director Farmcentre Africa Omonfuegbe Odianosen is assisting young people willing to go into poultry farming in the technicalities of the poultry farm management
He said this in an interview with Agropreneur Naija recently
He said that its important that young people learn how they can feed the nation and Africa as a whole

Odianosen said he made the right decision when he decided to go into agribusiness during his youth service

IMG-20140430-00164He said “In 2008, during my NYSC in the military barracks in Bauchi state, I fell in love with a Major’s wife’s poultry farm and she gave me some firsthand information I needed to get before setting up one. But I started full farming in 2010.Although my dad was working with the Ministry of Agriculture. But the passion growing up for livestock farming wasn’t there until 2008 in Bauchi state”

He continued by saying that he started his farm with 100k. “I was able to buy 200 birds with the 100k and my farm has grown to 1,650birds and we’re expecting close to 1,000 DOC at the moment.

He also said there have been challenges especially as banks don’t encourage agribusiness and the young people should not relent in their efforts to achieve their aims

The geography and regional planning graduate said youths should also avail and keep abreast of trainings and workshops both national and international as well as buying books and surfing the internet as that is some of the resources he uses to grow his farm

 

Read the full interview here

 

 

 

Increased agricultural investments in Africa, an absolute necessity

 

Ten years ago, African leaders peered into the future and decided to plan ahead. They agreed to invest at least 10% of their national budgets into Agriculture in what is called the Maputo Declaration. Unfortunately, so far, only a handful of countries have lived up to that promise.

These include Ghana, Ethiopia, Malawi, Mali and Burkina-Faso. Others, in contrast, are yet to fulfill this agreement. Nigeria, for example, has reduced its allocation annually, with a mere 1.47% allocated to agriculture in the year 2014. The question, therefore, is what needs to be done?

Poverty, hunger, food insecurity and wastage are sadly characteristics that African countries – like Nigeria my country – all have in common. This is indeed sad because Africa is blessed with all we require to feed ourselves and the rest of the world. Aside this is the increasing youth unemployment that is becoming an increasing burden to our economies. All these are issues we all know and have many times discussed. But of course we cannot keep dwelling on problems.

Less talk, more action

So let’s talk about solutions. In my opinion, the examples of successful African countries need to be studied carefully and, if possible, copied. The viable policies, implementation plans, programs and projects underpinning these successes should be replicated especially among countries in the same region with similar socioeconomic conditions. There is also a need to move from paying lip service to actions that show a true sense of commitment to agricultural investment. As a young person I must mention the need for viable empowerment programmes for the youth in agriculture.

Solutions driven policies

Governments need to pay attention to the next generation of farmers who are highly energetic and also interestingly trying to find a path in the sector. This will also help dispel some of the negative impressions around agriculture. Our leaders need to develop solution driven policies that will create an enabling environment for these young people looking to create a future through farming.

They also need to develop partnerships and collaborations with the private sector for the capacity-building of youth and women in agriculture, develop the value chain, improve access to market locally, regionally and globally. Governments also need to be proactive in providing infrastructure that make rural economies beneficial for agri-producers and other rural dwellers. Of course a better ICT-driven extension service that will let all players in the sector have prompt access to needed information is also of high importance.

In investing in agriculture, African countries have a lot to benefit. Poverty alleviation, massive employment generation, women empowerment, foreign exchange and trade, quality nutrition for citizens and of course the ability to not only feed themselves but others. Doing agriculture by increasing investment in the sector should not be an option; it is indeed a necessity that must be paid attention to more than ever before. Our leaders need to move on from just admitting agriculture is important but also take all required action to increase investment and transform the sector. They just have to DO AGRIC.

This blog post by the author was first published on the ONE Campaign website

ONE is campaigning for African leaders to keep their promises to invest in Agriculture. Join the campaign and sign our DO Agric petition now.

Agric Engineer uses ICT to provide support services to farmers

Yet again, BusinessDay Nigeria, sheds some light into my activities as a youth in Agriculture in the Wednesday 24th April 2014 edition of the newspaper. Spare a  few minutes and read below this piece by Yinka Alawode of Businessday

A young Chief Executive of Agropreneur Nigeria runs his family piggery farm and combines it with his knowledge of Agriculture and ICT to provide business support services to farmers.

Olawale Ojo has a degree in Agricultural Engineering from the Federal University of Technology Akure and a Diploma in Integrated Farming Systems from the Songhai Centre for Production, Training, and Research, Port Novo, Benin Republic.

His inspiration came after his course at the Songhai Centre, which served as an eye opener to him as he worked with other youths planning to launch agribusinesses.

He started Agropreneur Nigeria April 2012. The business provides business support services to farmers, especially young agriculturists. The firm also does advocacy and capacity building for young people. “We believe the future of the agricultural sector is in the hands of the youths when they take it as a business. So, we work on changing the mindset of young people and in turn provide information and business support to help them grow,” says Ojo.

To achieve this, Agropreneur Nigeria profiles successful young farmers called agropreneurs on the internet and share their stories so that others can learn. “That also serves as an incentive to these hardworking young people. We have also worked on agricultural research and share the information via social media to enable a proper understanding of what is happening in the sector,” Ojo says.

He explains that this business is targeted at the youths and it focuses on making agriculture attractive while at the same time introducing modern technology like ICT for agriculture and social media as a tool for knowledge and information sharing in agribusiness.

Agropreneur plans to have a considerable expanse of land separate from the family farm he runs, where youths can be trained in farming and can establish their own businesses. “We also want to engage rural areas by creating access to market for them and providing qualitative extension service for them, especially with the internet. I must say that a lot of youths are beginning to see that the agriculture sector is a gold mine,” according to Ojo.

 

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