Hi everyone, I am Richard Chinedu Agetu, a graduate of Fisheries Management from the University of Ibadan. I am a Nigerian from the Niger Delta Region and I am 24 years old. I am an agriprenuer and I have an undying passion for agriculture and related issues.
The G2 project aims at providing food to everyone across Nigeria at an affordable price to end hunger, achieve food security, improved nutrition and sustainable Agriculture. I intend to contribute to the achievement of Goal 2 of the Sustainable Development Goals with this project in my region and Nigeria as a whole.
This would be achieved by bridging the gap between the prices and supply of high quality food in the rural and urban areas, thus making food abundant and affordable for everyone irrespective of their social class in urban areas and increase the incomes and market accessibility of rural farmers who are majorly smallholders. For this project, Benue State (The food Basket of the Nation) has been selected as the focal point
Over 80% of Nigerian farmers are smallholders. As smallholders, they farm on less than 1 hectare of land, they lack access to basic social amenities such as electricity and water and do not have access to storage and processing facilities. This forces them to live in extreme poverty and in terrible conditions. They sell their produce for way less than the recommended market prices and even go as far as giving these produce for free just to prevent losing all to spoilage.
In the Horticulture value chain, over 750,000 MT of 1,500,000MT of tomatoes goes to waste annually. Furthermore, Over 50% of the citrus harvest goes to waste annually. Yet, we go as far as importing tomato paste to supply the urban areas despite the abundance of tomatoes in rural areas; we also import over 150 million USD worth of orange concentrates in the Juice making industry annually. The most heartbreaking is the rate of wastage of mangoes.
Apart from the unbelievable level of wastage experienced in these food producing communities, the difference in price is alarming and really unfair to the ever hardworking farmers and the teeming urban populace. Middlemen buy food at very cheap prices and make as high as 1000% profit when they sell them in open urban markets.
I am not entirely against the profit they make, but I am strongly against the effects of their actions which includes, depriving smallholders of their livelihoods, the inability of urban consumers to buy as much food as they would love to, and making food an expensive commodity in the midst of plenty.
A basket of tomatoes goes for as low as $0.25 in the farming villages and for $25 at the same time in urban centers. A bag of citrus costs $3.5 in the farming villages and goes for $30- $35 at the same time in urban areas. A basket of mangoes sells for as low as $0.5 in rural farms and for $25 in urban areas at the same time.
It would shock you to know that the aforementioned produces do not undergo any form of value addition before the prices sky rocket. This drove me to launch this project on the 22nd of January, 2016.
With this project, post-harvest losses would reduce to the bearest minimum, food security would be achieved, incomes of smallholders would increase, small holder farmers would be granted access and included in the agri-markets, jobs would be created for youths and I would have the honor to effect this desired change in the agricultural sector in Benue and Nigeria as a whole.
The G2 Project would achieve its objectives by buying agricultural produces at prices above the prevailing market price and sell to end users at prices below the prevailing market prices. This way, the farmers, distributors, processors, users and I all smile to the bank J. For an easy and sustainable execution of this project, I would liaise with farmers’ associations, traditional and district rulers to ease my access to farmers for capacity building, awareness campaigns to broaden my reach.
With the help of my friends, I have raised some cash to start this project. I have employed 2 youths who are locals of the producing communities and would employ more in the nearest future to encourage inclusion in the value chains and reduce thuggery to the bearest minimum. I have also established relationships with truck drivers who ensure the swift and timely delivery of these produce to their designated destinations to reduce post-harvest losses.
To determine the success of this project, we will measure the quantity of produce sold, the frequency of trips per week, the socio-economic changes experienced by farmers and the reduction in quantity of post-harvest losses.
The $5,000 would help in the purchase and set up of:
Collection and Sorting Point $1,500
Capacity Building on Improved Harvesting Techniques and advocacy visits to farmers’ Associations, district and traditional rulers $500
Purchase of Food Crops $1,500
Purchase of utility tricycle $1,000
Online Campaign and Advertisement $500.
I would be honored to be a part of the revolution in the Agricultural Sector in my country through this project. Let’s get farmers out of poverty and make food very affordable.
Blogpost and picture submitted by Richard Chinedu Agetu (Nigeria) – rcagetu[at]gmail.com
Illustration courtesy: tomatojos
The content, structure and grammar is at the discretion of the author only.
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