Happy Christmas and New Year in advance! I am sure you are looking forward to a more purposeful and prosperous New Year. It is customary for many at this time of the year to plan, restrategise and make new resolutions, all in a bid to a ensure a more secure 2018 in terms of socio-economic status. There is no doubt that this outgoing year had been very tough. But what guarantee do we have that the coming year would be better? That is why you should put on your thinking cap. This is because, if you keep on pressing the same button as you did in 2017, you will definitely get the same result.Â May this not happen. It is not our portion, right?
Well, let me suggest to you one area that holds great potentials both for us as individuals and as a nation. This is irrespective of whether you are employed, unemployed, underemployed or retired. Even if you have investible fund or not, it holds a great promise. And what is it? It is nothing but Agribusiness.
Agribusiness is the business of agricultural production covering agro-chemicals, breeding, crop production, distribution, farm machinery, processing, seed supply, marketing and retail sales. There are diverse agribusiness opportunities from farm to table, that is, from the planting of the seed and nurturing it to maturity, from harvesting, storage and packaging until it is sold as food and served on the table.
Investment Friendly Environment
Nigeria has a worthwhile investment opportunity in agriculture. The countryâs population is approximately 167 million and the agriculture sector contributes over 40 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).Â This large market represents a high and fast growing market for agricultural goods and services.
Nigeria is blessed with abundant labour and vast natural resources that offer production advantage for a wide range of products.Â These products offer vast opportunities for enterprise development along their value chains. Every part of the country is endowed with potentials for quality products that offer vast opportunities for investment.
Agribusiness gives you an opportunity to be an entrepreneur, building your own business and creating financial freedom which you may have desired all this while. You become a master, reporting to no one and taking responsibility for your company.
Many people work for food to the extent that greater part of their earnings is spent on food items.Â Agribusiness guarantees food security and consequently healthy living, especially when one engages in food production. When many civil servants would be crying of hunger over non-payment of backlog of salaries, you would not bother because you have food to eat.
Start Up Capital
There are agribusinesses that provide ample opportunities to start with little or no capital and has the potential to grow into a large concern. For instance, it takes little or nothing to start snail farming, rabbit farming, grass cutter farming, poultry farming, vegetable production, maize production, or trading in agricultural produce.
Land used to be a limiting factor in agriculture but with the development of agricultural value chains agribusiness can be done anywhere.Â For instance, one can start snail rearing, grass-cutter rearing, poultry, processing and packaging business from the backyard.
Agribusiness is therefore a commercially viable and market-oriented sector with the potential to create jobs along the value chains. Since the economy has changed, white-collar jobs are no longer easy to come by. Agribusiness holds the potential for employment and job creation.Â Instead of roaming the streets in search of non-existent jobs, one can engage in any aspect of agriculture from food production, processing to marketing and distribution. And before long, one starts employing others. That is the beauty of agric ventures.
Processing is the secondary stage of agricultural value chain. It has to do with adding value to raw materials for either industrial purposes or consumption.Â This is where the money is.Â Farmers who graduate from primary production of agricultural produce to processing and marketing create enormous wealth.Â An agro-processor can take advantage of the cheap and often wasted agro-produce due to spoilages in the farms to make a lot of money.
By adding value to agric produce, you will not only earn a lot of money but also encourage the farmers to produce more since they are assured that their produce would be purchased by the agro-processors. Thus, one can go into cassava flour production, fish and poultry processing and packaging, tomato paste production, packaging and production of fish and poultry feeds. You can process cassava into garri, flour, glucose, maize into pap and animal feeds. There are vast opportunities in processing.
Agribusiness is very lucrative. The return on investment is high. If you engage in agribusiness, you get the opportunity of earning more money from your efforts and become self-confident, have high self-esteem and transform into a better person.
Check it out, many rich Nigerians are farmers, the likes of Audu Ogbe, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development; Alhaji Aliko Dangote, President, Aliko Dangote Group; General Abdulsalami Abubakar, former Head of State; Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, former President; Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, former Vice President; Mr. Emmanuel Ijewere and a host of others.
You can add your name to the list. It is up to you. You only need courage to take action. Remember that fortune favours the bold. Right on, brace up to the challenge and you will succeed! Let me hear from you.
BY CELESTINE AMOKE (Originally Published in Daily Independent)