In Nigeria, Agriculture has always and would continue to be a major contributor to the country’s GDP after crude oil. According to Statista, between January and March 2021, agriculture contributed to 22.35% of the total Nigeria GDP, an increase by almost one percentage point compared to the same period of 2020. Asides the GDP, agriculture provides employment and a source of livelihood for millions of Nigerians homes. Notwithstanding, awareness on the need for global food security and sustainable food production has created a boom in the agricultural space giving rise to tech enabled agricultural companies that are striving to contribute to combating global food crises .
While Agribusiness is all encompassing, agro commodity trading offers promising prospects for foreign revenue generation and food circulation. However, a decent number of crops cultivated locally in Nigeria make the list of agro commodity crops for export. These crops are but not limited to Cashew, Sesame, Cocoa, Ginger etc and the demand for these produce internationally makes them economically viable products. For instance, Nigeria is rated as the fourth-largest producer of cashew nuts in Africa and sixth in the world, with 160,000 metric tons per annum, and is expected to reach 500,000 metric tons by 2025. Data from the National Bureau of Statistics equally shows that sesame was the most exported agricultural commodity in the first quarter of 2021 with N42 billion worth of the crop exported and Nigeria ranked third producer of sesame, topped by China, and followed by India. These two crops primarily account for over 60% of the entire agricultural export in Nigeria.
Impact on Smallholder Farmers
Smallholder farmers are at the heart of food security, but sadly their contribution is not commensurate with their pay and livelihood, as most smallholder farmers live below the poverty line. This is why Agrorite is committed to working mainly with smallholder farmers; providing them with access to funds, training and ensuring that their produce are purchased at competitive prices. The success stories of our farmer’s network starting from Mr Ule, a smallholder farmer in Benue state is the driving force of what Agrorite is doing and continues to do; working with smallholder farmers and increasing their capacity for production.
Tech Enabled Production
Agrorite, being a premium agritech company is positioned as a major player in the agric sector and has contributed immensely to global food circulation leveraging on technology to facilitate its operations. Through Agrorite Bookie, a digital farm management system over 130,000 network of farmers can remotely monitor progress on their farms without having to physically be present in the farm. Furthermore, seeing the potential and importance of food circulation, Agrorite is not just limiting their activities to Nigeria as it has expanded its operation to Guinea Bissau, Ghana, Republic of Benin and the United Kingdom as part of expanding her footprint. This move would see to job creation, particularly for smallholder farmers. In addition we hope to double our over 350,000MT of exported produce before the end of first quarter 2022.
Storage and Preservation
Preservation and storage are a huge part of the commodity trading business. In Nigeria, most farmers experience post-harvest losses due to inadequate storage capacity and poor preservation practices. This eventually reduces the quality and value of the produce and price point. Improving and maintaining good quality of crops for export means that farmers need to be trained and well equipped with modern storage and preservation techniques. Farmers training is not limited to storage but producing the best quality of produce with the required moisture content. With over 40,000MT capacity, Agrorite warehouses are strategically positioned across the nation to address obvious storage challenges of smallholder farmers.
Access to Market
Being able to sell their produce is one hurdle every smallholder farmer has to cross in ensuring that their produce gets to the consumer and avoids post-harvest losses. This is an area where Agrorite has been able to leverage on her network of offtakers to provide farmers with premium buyers both locally and internationally that buy their produce at competitive rate.
Enabling Environment for Trade
For every business and economy to thrive, governmental policies need to be favorable. Good market penetration and access to international markets could be challenging due to a variety of political, economic regulations between domestic and international markets. Challenges in accessing funds also hinders small and medium scale enterprises who might have interest in the sector due to capital requirement for the trade. This is where the government can set up initiatives to drive export and easy accessibility to chambers of commences. Furthermore, companies operating in this space are operating with limited capacity; expanding capacity will require more funds and expanded networks. Private investors can take full advantage of this as key financial partners to drive scalability.
It is fair to say that these are exciting times in the agribusiness space in Nigeria and Agrorite is ever ready for opportunities to explore and join forces with other stakeholders in driving positive impact in the sector through partnership with both local and international processing companies, cooperate bodies and even government agencies for collaboration. We are positive that together we can achieve more.