YAP Proposal #16: “Changing the Agro-Input Business” (Baraka Ambindwile Songa, Tanzania)

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I am Baraka Ambindwile Songa, a Tanzanian male, aged 25, graduated from Sokoine University of Agriculture (2014) with bachelor of science in Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness

I am currently employed and working as a field officer for the “Integrated project to increase agricultural productivity” in southern regions of Tanzania assigned the task of strengthening Farmers organization capacities in institutional, managerial and technical aspects to support the needs of their members through Training, Mentoring and Coaching them together with improving smallholder market-led agricultural production by training Agro-dealers in technical and business management aspect together with Agro-hub network development and relationship with partners in business strengthened.

Having experience and opportunity to work with existing agro dealers and SHF’s, I have exposed to the challenges that are faced by both parties: Poor network of agro dealers, adulteration of agro inputs and information flow on extension, new technologies and advisory services to SHF’s.

Hence these challenges opens an opportunity for me to engage in agro-input business (Seeds, Pesticides, Herbicides, Fertilizer and some farm equipment i.e. sprayers and gumboot).

The project will adopt demonstrational method to create demand of its inputs in every ward it operates, where by every input sold will be demonstrated to farmers how it functions and step by step on how to use it, will be availed to farmers prior to the application on their farms.

In additional due to high availability of fake inputs, the project will develop a system where by SHF’s will have to enter into a contract on the genuineness of the inputs and its impact before purchase so that if the sold input is fake then SHF’s will be paid back, terms and condition will be intact.

Since the project will adopt strategies that have never been used by any agro dealer in the region (Contract with SHF’s before purchasing inputs to ensure on genuineness of the inputs) many customers will be fetched and the project will be sustainable due to the fact that the project to be started will be providing and extending extension services through promotional demos to SHF’s also farmers are always striving to increase their productivity with population increase. Hence there is no way that they will stop to demand inputs.

The socio-economic impact of the project to the community. It will help community members to increase their income level through employment opportunities, increased production assured by availability of original and genuine agro inputs together with extension and advisory service.

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Being a stakeholder in agriculture sector and a son of peasant farmers I understand what it feels like when SHF’s applies agro-input to his/her farm in expectation to increase/boost its yield and at the end the day he/she didn’t receive the expected results either due to the failure of following instructions (Lack of advisory and extension service) or fake agro inputs.

Hence my motive to submit this project is to provide SHF’s with a reliable and dependable source of agro –inputs that will work beyond their expectation together with extension and advisory services. This project will be a win-win business, as an owner I’ll make business and expand my operation to reach a large number of poor served SHF’s in rural areas.

The community will gain through reduced price of agro inputs at retail price since inputs will be sourced directly from the input company, increased production and hence having high level of food security (“Zero hunger”).

The following are steps that will be adopted while cultivating to achieve project goal:
First I am planning to rent a building for carrying agro input business in place identified prior. Second I’ll increase my network of agro inputs companies in which I’ll be sourcing agro inputs. Third I’ll register with all authority regulating agro input business in Tanzania (TPRI, TFRA, TRA, TOSCH and Ministry of Agriculture and livestock).
Fourth I’ll offload the first consignment of agro inputs to my shop.
Fifth: launching of agro input shop will be done where by farmers, local government authority representative, NGO’s working in agriculture value chain. Input company representatives will be invited.
Sixth the operation of project will begin officially; where by all wards served by this shop will have an opportunity to be established with various demonstration plots of different agro inputs.

Furthermore the project will establish database where by feedback from every farmer served by the shop will be collected on how the input worked to his/her farm. This action will give the project and input company clear picture on what to recommend and produce to fit farmers need and their environment.

The project is expected after some time to have its own premises whereby it will include store, agro-input shop, conference room (For training of farmers and meetings) and office also its surroundings will have some demonstration plots.

Reaching at this stage we believe project dreams will be realized and farmers will be served with agro inputs in hand and knowledge to boost their production hence increasing food security and their income level.

The following is what have been done so far to get the project started. I have agreed with my business partner to try our best level to raise a total amount $4577 by September, 2016. So every partner has to come with $2288.5 on the table.
Personally I have taken some steps to raise the required amount: first I have invested $320 in crops and I expect to raise $1201 by August. Second every month I save $91.
By September, 2016 in this plan, I expect to have raised about $910.
My business partner is taking some steps too to meet the target.

Somebody will ask “why up to September”? The answer to this is just simply as in the southern highland regions of Tanzania, especially Mbeya Region, the peak season for agro dealership business is September-May.

The actual measurable success factor for this project is sales in monthly basis, number of farmers served per month, number of demonstration plots and farmers reached with new technology or knowledge in every season, Number of cases for fake product and productivity level of farmers. My success will be measured by the number of business contacts established and sustained together with revenue sold per season/year.

Seed fund of $5000 will be used as follows:
– $687 will be used for renting a space for agro input shop (May)
– $275 will be used for registration with appropriate authorities regulating agro input business in Tanzania (May)
– $275: Office equipment (May)
– $138: Establishment of agro business networks (May-June)
– $3350 purchasing and acquisition of agro inputs (June-July)
– $275 Launching of agro input shop (July)

Blogpost and pictures submitted by Baraka Ambindwile Songa (Tanzania) – songabaraka(at)yahoo.com

The content, structure and grammar is at the discretion of the author only.


This post is published as proposal #16 of “YAP” – our “Youth Agripreneur Project”.

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273 thoughts on “YAP Proposal #16: “Changing the Agro-Input Business” (Baraka Ambindwile Songa, Tanzania)

  1. If u fail to make up that amount of money what is your back up plan? How will you still help the peasants to get and use genuine agricultural products?

    1. Thanks Azole for your questions;
      -My back plan in case i fail to make up on seed fund,I have already started with some steps to have the project started;$320 have been invested in paddy crop with expectation of making $1201 after value addition by August together with saving $91 per month with expectation of having $910 by september;This plans will help me to realise and materialize the proposed project
      -I’ll still help farmers on having genuine product through advisory services and linking them to the reliable and trusted source of agro inputs though it’ll will not be in large scale as compared to the proposed project

      1. Congratulation brother for your good idea,I am appreciate your proposal on Changing the Agro business inputs,
        Best of luck and may God bless you abundantly

      2. Regerding that agriulture run the world this is more than excellent proposal. Intellectually now your matured brother much congraturation to you and keep it up..

    1. Mechanism that will be adopted to differentiate fake and genuine products;It’ll will be first by looking and assessing all labels of what is said to be original product should have together with its bar codes though dependable and reliable means to have genuine products is through sourcing agro inputs from authorized agent/Input company directly

  2. GOOD PROJECT, BUT THE MAJOR CHALLENGES ARE DIFFICULTIES TO DIFFERENTIATE GENUINE AND FAKE AGRICULTURAL INPUTS DUE TO FREE AND LOW REGULATED MARKET AND ANOTHER IS TIMELY DELIVERY OF INPUTS.

    1. Thanks Mr.Mselle for your comment and exposing us to the major challenges facing agro inputs business;
      -The issue of differentiating genuine and fake product the project will partner with experts on tracebility of agro inputs on its genuinely before selling them to farmers together with working with inputs companies so as to source genuine products.
      -Untimely delivery of inputs,will be solved through pressing order early before peak season and having contractual arrangement with agents/inputs companies to keep their promises to deliver inputs in timely agreed,so as to utilize business windows targeted

  3. Good idea Baraka but what model will you put into practice since the impact will need to be measured interm of innovativeness

    1. hi..!!
      Thanks Gamba for your appreciation..!!!
      Model that am planning to adopt for measuring the impact of the innovation and intervention is through tracking records(Yield assessment/Price variability/Time taken to have inputs/Extension services delivered/Adoption rate of new technologies) from SHF’s that will be served by the project before project start vs After project start;

  4. good idea and that is suppose to be to all scholars of different university but why your budget expenditure analysis you used dollar currency why you didn’t use our currency so that it can be easy for others to understand

    1. Good evening..!!Asifiwe
      Thanks for appreciating the proposed idea
      I used dollar currency in the budget breakdown due to the fact that the expected seed fund is quoted in dollar currency and that is why i used the same currency

    1. Hi..!Tekla
      The project will help marginalized people through extending input credit during planting season(They will pay half of the total cost for the inputs purchased)the rest amount will be cleared after harvest season;,Apart from that the project will provide an opportunity as a market outlet by buying produce from SHF’s

      1. BRAVO Mr Baraka. I am much impressed with your proposal. My take in here is advising you as you said that the Beneficiaries will be credited the input half way,i am doubted with the way you will track back the farmer for paying you as they are in different localities and of different economic status. Let me advice something.
        1. for easy tracking debtors you will have to form groups of farmers,say of 10 ppo
        2. the farmer will have to support each other to stop SIDE SELLING among themselves
        3.You will have to find market of their produce and stand as middle men, this will make easy collecting their sales and pay them after deduction.

  5. My opinion is as today many farmers are frustrated by the Agro inputs due to the responsiveness to the farm.. Most of these are fake. So I advise to encounter the fact in a broad way by encouraging the government to pay more attention on these imported inputs.

  6. Good proposal, but which alternative way you will apply to educated backward peasants about the uses of that machines and which machines you can apply to maintain climatical condition in order to escape underproduction which can become the big obstacle to achieve your vision or goals

    1. Hi.!!Rosemary
      Thanks for your comment and question..!!
      To respond your qn;The project will adopt the easiest way to educate farmers through demonstration of every inputs(Machines or pesticides)on how to use/apply on recommended basis which does not conflict with environment with the aim of promoting incremental on productivity

  7. Good proposal, but which alternative way you will apply to educated backward peasants about the uses of that machines and which machines you can apply to maintain climatical condition in order to reduce underproduction which can become the big obstacle to achieve your vision or goals

  8. Its good idea, but I would like to know how Will you be able to deal with large number of farmers that are not have reliable income to purchase inputs and also from what I know most of farmers challenges goes beyond inputs facilities what about storage facilities and ready available market for their produce?

    further more you should indicate your plan on insurance to farmers.

    1. Hi.!
      Happy
      Thanks for your suggestion and questions..!Responding to your first qn:Understanding the fact aired out(Limited income to SHF’s) the project will enter into contracts with SHF’s where by they will pay half of the total cost for the input purchased during the season and finalize the remaining balance after harvest;Second qn:The project will provide market to SHF’s soon after harvest,hence the problem of storage facilities will be solved to some extent.

  9. It is good one Baraka. It is exciting especially your consideration on input price coz your work can be caught up with low purchasing due to price since most of farmers fail on that. Hope you will succeed and farmers will enjoy benefit of it.

  10. Wooooow it’s real good idea sure congratulations, But I need to know how can you help poor farmers to get good market for them to sell their product??

    1. Hi..!!
      Thanks Juliana
      The project will act as market outlet through purchasing produce from farmers though it won’t be all amount produced;Hence it will serve as a linkage with other buyers,SHF’s will be given with the marketing information and linked to lucrative market/business deals

    1. Thanks Mr.Amon for appreciation
      Responding to your qn;Procurement of inputs will be on cash and credit depending on the nature of relationship with input company/agent inline with signed MoU’s;Methods that will be used for production by SHF’s will be GAP(Conservation agriculture and Integrated Soil Fertility Management will be in place)

  11. Well done Baraka your the change that we believe to make the SHF’s sustain their lives and increase more production using the genuine inputs

  12. thanks mr songa for your good idea toward agricultural development,I think you should be supported for this

  13. am sure this is what most us tanzanian peasants and local famers we dream to have it! in addition that i think some of the cash which you have to collect from farmers by selling your service make it after havest period because most of us we do in very small scale way but after some time i have confidence you will boost our output by very large amount which we will be able to afforde all cost before haverst period. Please if possible make this project before that 2016

  14. Its gud and i suggest all scholars from various universities should do this in order to help socities and increase their knowledge baraka songa this is more than good keep it up bro.

  15. Thanks much for your nice proposal since peasants are willing to increase their productivity but due to the fact of purchasing fake inputs they fail, Am sure for your nice project they will be served.

  16. Hi ! its a good proposal bro…the plan should incorporate local suppliers for reliable delivery. wish you all the best, baraka

  17. If the proposal will be accepted I can see the changes, and If we decide to impliment those ideas honestly then we will witness tha advancement in the back bone of dwarf Africa.

  18. My suggestion are mentioned below
    .Its nice project may God help you to start your project as you have planned

    .You should conduct SWOT Analysis Of your project.
    .Employ people with good customer care it will enable to have large number of customers
    .You should consider criteria for sustainable project.

    Questions;
    .How you will be able to differentiate between orginal and fake agricultural inputs
    . I would like to know my brother how you will win your competitors in your project

    1. Thanks Amenye for your suggestions;
      To respond your questions;
      -Differentiation between fake and original agricultural inputs will rely more on technical know how obtain from inputs companies on how their genuine products are packed/labelled/and their bar-codes for verification of their genuinely
      -I have plans in hand to win over competitors 1)I’ll be offering service in steady of selling the inputs to SHF’s 2).Building relationship with SHF’s through contractual arrangement on assurance of product sold are genuinely 3).Providing marketing information and linking farmers to output market(Forward linkage) 4)Purchasing produce from SHF’s;To mention a few of strategies

  19. Its a nice idea Baraka.!knowing you from the university with your passion in agribusiness hope this will act as a bridge to take you further on reaching your goals.Wish you all the best of luck

  20. Good proposal but wish to know which experience gives you confidence to take agro input business in a new way that will give more benefits to farmers

    1. Being an implementer of Agra Funded project on agro dealers and FO’s,I have a lot of insight on agro dealership business(Opportunities and its constrains) hence all these gives me a chance to undertake a business in new style to address the gaps and challenges that are with in this sub-sector.

    1. Strategies on marketing the produced product;1)I’ll provide an opportunity to farmers through buying what is produced in reasonable prices 2).I’ll provide marketing information to farmers on their produce together with linking them with lucrative markets for selling their produce

  21. Questions:
    .How you will differentiate between fake and non fake agricultural inputs.
    .what are the techniques you will use so as to set price of your products

    Suggestion
    .congratulation brother it is a good project
    may God help you in the achievement of your plan
    .You must conduct SWOT Analysis for your project
    .Employ people who are good in customer care and management
    .You should consider criteria for sustainable project .

    1. Thanks Amenye..!!For your suggestion
      Responding to your questions..!
      -I’ll use mark-up pricing method and going-rate pricing method,all this method will consider to come up with the lowest price possible to offer more relief to farmers while purchasing agricultural inputs

  22. Thats among of the best idea, regarding what you have just written I just want to ask what is the sustainability of the project in long run???

    1. Sustainability of the project in the long run will depend on the quality of the service and inputs offered to farmers but also number of business contacts established and retained in every year of operation

  23. why you will envest only southern regions?welcome Tabora region cz peasants are still ignorant about Agriculture

    1. The only reason to invest in southern region is due to its potentiality in agriculture as compared to other regions of Tanzania;But in future i’ll expand the operations outside southern region

  24. I have come across with your project Mr Songa. I have read it and understand but i would like to ask u some.
    It seems to be most of the people you’re dealing with are Illiterate, that’s very hard for them to understand what has being written especially on the Inputs that you’re going to supply it to them. Its very hard to deal with such kind of people. I would it to know from you how would you be able to combat such a challenge?

    1. Thanks Mr.Kauga know that challenge in mind;Am planning to use additional instructions that are simple and translated in kiswahili without misleading the key instruction to SHF’S but also i’ll use the promotional demos to show and teach SHF’s on how to use inputs sold;Its my hope that learning by doing will be of great impact

    1. Through keeping records of SHF’s on their production capacity per acre before project intervention and after project intervention;Then comparison will be made

  25. waooh!it’s aware some proposal:hope small holders farmers will benefit a lot from your initiative that you wish to undertake. all the best

    1. There are strategies in place to compete with other dealers;First i’ll assure SHF’s that i’ll provide them with genuine inputs,Second i’ll offer competitive price that is below market level but ensures small margin of profit and third i’ll use demostrational plots to attract more customers ;to mention a few of them

  26. All the best Baraka: hope to see you realizing your goals through this proposal by serving poor farmers who travel long distance in such agro input

    1. I see myself as a hub agro dealer who command a network of more than 200 small scale agro dealer in rural areas;But also i see myself as an agro dealer offering more services to SHF’s for example free training,Analysing soil at a lowest cost possible and advising farmers which fertilizers to apply on their farms

    1. Prices will be set below market price but that price will allow me to make small margin of profit,hence more SHF’s will be attracted to purchase from my shop

  27. it’s innovative ideas to extend extension services to farmers while selling your product hope this move will help more farmers to realize robust and bumper harvest,wishing u all the best

    1. Advertisement will be through promotional demos/Inputs fairs/Farmers field days and social media;But i plan to offer a quality service and word of mouth advertisement will be my weapon

  28. Interesting project Mr Songa, but how will you solve the problem of unpredicted weather fractuation..?

    1. Thanks Mr.Fadhili,I’ll rely more on weather predictions from the responsible authority in our Country and respond appropriately to any forecasted weather by giving advice to SHF’s on what steps should be adhered while farming in each season

  29. Great idea brother.. I hope lot of Tanzanian are going to benefit through that projec… On my side the project is so fantastic.

  30. Congratulation Mr Songa for this fantastic proposal i hope u’ll achieve your goals “I appreciate you as a hub agro dealer”

  31. You real make your education in use, what you are planning show the meaning of the gorvenment to give you among many others the education opportunity for the benefit of the whole society.

  32. @Baraka Songa.
    Having taken some time to pass via your proposal, I would rather congratulate you for such good idea.
    Wishing you the very best in all you do..
    “Commitment will make you achieve whatsoever you dream to get”
    Regards,
    Aidan Nyamweru.

  33. Well done guy, is my hope the project will nourish the industry especially to the goroups you are interested with.

  34. You are real interested to nourish the industry through your knowledge. work hard and I apreciate it, well done guy.

  35. nice idea brother aiming to improve the agro input sector which is really the hub for the agro performance fake inputs i e seeds and agrochemicals is now a great disaster to farmers over their produce hope you really think also of having a proper ways of receiving feedback from farmers at evrry stage of their crops and also try to help thrm identify the fake inputs so that at sometime when thry coukd not buy from you still they buy thr genuine ones

  36. nice idea brother aiming to improve the agro input sector which is really the hub for the agro performance fake inputs i e seeds and agrochemicals is now a great disaster to farmers over their produce hope you really think also of having a proper ways of receiving feedback from farmers at evrry stage of their crops and also try to help them identify the fake inputs so that at sometime when they coukd not buy from you still they buy the genuine ones!!

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