Value addition! How sweet for agric products…
Since my childhood days till 25 years, I have been engaged in farming activities. This captivated my interest to the extent of obtaining a degree in agricultural economic and extension from the Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA). Since I was a child, many of my spare time has been used to engage in farming and with farmers. Recently, the agricultural transformation agenda has encourage me to not only to work with farmers but to help more youth get involved in Agriculture and employ the use of social media to promote Agriculture and its benefits.
I have observed that value addition to products increases its prices hence the profit from them. Being a city with one of the largest population in Nigeria and Africa, Lagos would be the target for this business as it is the home of business both commercial and small scale ventures. Based on my observation on lifestyle of the working class, traders and the environment in line with food consumption, adding values such as cleaning and bagging farm products in attractive and handy packs is being proposed. Currently, handling of vegetables and fruits has exposed them to elements of weather and germs and the target population are people on the go with little time to clean vegetables properly. A properly packaged handy vegetable that is ready for eating or cooking with little or no hassles is therefore highly desired.
The project aims to help the farmers of locust beans, leafy vegetables and carrots earn more by reducing their losses through proper post-harvest activities including value addition. This will enable them through mentoring and proper training to target the high end market that possess the means to pay for this service. This apart from increasing farmers profit will also reduce post-harvest losses and quick perishability of these products. The method to be employed will be to buy-off products in large quantities from farmers, this would enable them strictly focus on production. The aggregated products would then packed and marketed. As time goes on, farmers into this will be supported to grow products using improved seeds/seedlings and modern farm technologies to ensure adequate yield and productivity.
The initial products to be targeted will be Locust beans, carrot and leafy vegetables. Locust beans is one of the ingredients that is used to make soup in Nigeria. This makes the product more competitive in the market and it has positive penetration. The beans will be sourced in large quantity and initially sun-dried with the addition of salt for preservation and then packed in sealable packs which will be obtained from supermarkets and also safe to obtain from the open markets.
For carrots, it will be bought in large quantity, wash and scrape to remove the outer layer which mostly discourage people from buying the product from the open market and packed into sealable nylon. Some will be sold whole as snack and the other will be diced and sliced for cooking. The processed carrots will also be packed and supplied to high-end markets. Leafy vegetables are part of basic meals in Nigeria used as main meals, soups or to garnish meals.
The project will source for them, pluck its leaves, wash, cut and pack them in attractive packs of sealable nylon as this will saves the users some cooking time and more family time. Some will also be dried and packed for the export market for Nigerians in the diaspora. Also, an online marketing platform called “BabaAgro”, an agro market hub, will be created for buyers and sellers of these products to interact.
The realistic and sustainability of the project lies in the fact that agriculture will continue to thrives as long as humans exist. More so, the online platform will increase revenue and encourage more sectors such as information technology, telecommunication sectors to support Agriculture. The project will benefit three categories of people – the farmers, especially women who are the major producer of the targeted produce, the consumers that intend to maintain good health condition and consume well packaged food items and finally employ more youth as the business expand its scope of operation. As part of it benefit, the project will provide improved seeds/seedlings and necessary agribusiness training for farmers and youth as the project gets established.
The US $5000 will cover the following fixed and operating cost for period of 2 years: Office space/shop rent (US $502 for 2 years); purchase of agricultural produce from farmers (US $1807 for 1 year); transportation cost – from buyer to location and intra movement within the location of operation (US $1205 for 1 year); equipment, materials and branding (US $652 for 1year); labor cost (US $542 for 1 year); NAFDAC registration for the target product (US $201) and miscellaneous expenses (US $60 for 1year).
The project long vision will ensure a catalytic approach of farmers to the trending scientific innovations in agriculture and youth to agriculture and its agribusiness through training, workshop and seminars on business start-up and management.
Blogpost and picture submitted by John Agboola (Nigeria) – john.agboola.o(at)gmail.com
The content, structure and grammar is at the discretion of the author only.
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