Agribusiness in Nigeria has been growing massively over the last decade due to the increased awareness of the need for sustainable food production in the country.
This renewed focus on growing the non-oil sector of the economy by the government has led to the implementation of policies geared towards encouraging farmers and investors.
Basically, Agribusiness is the science and practice of activities with backward and forward linkage related to production, processing, marketing and trade, distribution of raw and processed food, feed, fibre including the supply of inputs and service for these activities.
Agribusiness in Nigeria: Overview & Opportunities
Agribusiness in Nigeria consists of the following four major sectors
- Agricultural input,
- Agricultural production,
- Agricultural processing-manufacturing or agro-processing and,
- Agricultural marketing-distribution sector
These four major sectors act as interrelated parts of a system and the success of each sector depends, to a large extent, on the proper functioning of the other sectors. Simply put, agribusiness is all about how to conduct successful business in the food and agriculture-related sectors. It is a business that has many opportunities and gives room to all players to participate at all levels. Also, you can start this business at the back of your house and you can even start with little or no capital.
With the growth of departmental stores and shopping malls, food processing and packaging has become the order of the day. And with the rise in the number of middle class in the society and the busy nature of the average housewife, there are clearly several opportunities to make money from agribusiness.
In addition, there have been calls from President Muhammadu Buhari via the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, for youths in Nigeria to participate in agribusiness. This is because Agriculture is not just the future; it is also a viable and alternative source of income to the nation.
But beyond the youth and the government, there is also the need to involve corporate organizations and nongovernmental organizations need to be involved to train the needed workforce, which mainly are youths, both in formal and informal education sector. Cooperative collages in Nigeria need to be refashioned in line with government vision to address youth unemployment, food security and economic diversification in Nigeria.
The opportunities are not just in owning a farm but in business enterprises that involve transactions with farmers. The transaction may involve either a product, a commodity or a service and encompasses items such as (a) productive resources e.g. feed, seed, fertilizers equipment, energy, machinery, etc. (b) agricultural commodities e.g. food and fiber, etc. or (c) facilitative services e.g. credit, insurance, agro produce brokering marketing, consultancy, storage, processing, transportation, packing, distribution, etc.
Nevertheless, just like every other businesses, agribusiness has its own challenges. Such challenges range from man-made to natural. In Nigeria, the Land Use Act and financing has been the major challenges facing agribusiness. Unstable government policies also affect those doing international agribusiness. For instance, the bureaucratic constraints at NAFDAC is a major factor affecting agro food processing and packaging companies.
However, it is expected that government policies on Agriculture will be fully implemented in the near future especially in the area of grants and agricultural financing such as the CBN agricultural loan. This loan scheme was set up by the Federal Government to provide low-interest loans to farmers in Nigeria. To achieve this, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has recently approved the disbursement of about 75 billion naira as the loan to farmers and cooperative societies in the 36 state and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). This loan can be accessed directly from the Bank of Agriculture.
The Bank of Agriculture of Nigeria, (BOA), is the main channel that the government uses to provide loans and grants to the public. The bank is owned by the federal government, with the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Federal Ministry of Finance incorporated as shareholders. The bank’s activities are controlled by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
To further buttress our view on the agribusiness opportunities, we have highlighted 20 agribusiness ideas for now and the future below:
1. Drone Services
There’s no denying the ubiquity of drones, they are everywhere and from the looks of things, they are going to be around for a very long time. They’ve found use and applications in film or video making, photography, product delivery etc.
They can also be deployed in agriculture for activities like spraying pesticides on crops, monitoring farmlands from the air so that patterns like irrigation problems, soil variation and pest and fungal infestations that aren’t apparent at eye level can be revealed.
Farmers have to contend with and analyze a lot of data and information as part of their job. They have to make accurate decisions after analyzing a lot of variables like rainfall conditions, underground water concentration, temperature, harvest yields, commodity prices etc.
An analytics software or app that can ease decision making and present data variables in an easy-to-understand format for farming would be of great help to farmers because modern farmers now see data as an integral part of farming.
3. Agricultural Actuary
Agriculture and farming, like any other business, involves a lot of risk. Knowing how to analyze the risks involved in farming and coming up with innovative agricultural insurance products and solutions to mitigate and buffer these risks will be a good agribusiness idea to consider.
4. Vaccine Specialists
Just the same way the bacteria and viruses that cause human diseases are evolving and becoming resistant to known treatments and antibiotics, so are the pathogens that cause animal diseases and illnesses.
The agribusiness sector has a desperate need for biologist, chemists and lab technicians who can correctly diagnose disease-causing pathogens in animals and recommend the right treatment action and vaccines to prevent disease outbreaks.
5. Food Review Source
People are getting more cautious of what they eat and how the food they eat are sourced and prepared. A food review website which helps the concerned and conscious consumers know where their food is coming from and how it is produced, would be a good agribusiness idea for 2019.
6. Animal Pest Control
Animal pests like rodents, beetles and bats cause a lot of damage to farm produce and affect yields. Developing innovative solutions to combat the menace of animal pests on food produce and harvest yield without tainting the farm produce would be a big hit!
7. Digital Information Center for Farmers
Farmers need information all the time. They want to know where to get the best seeds, where to buy the best feed ingredients and so much more. While this information can be gotten from Google, it also comes with a lot of irrelevant search results. Farmers would love to have their own dedicated information center where all their farming and agribusiness queries can be answered.
8. Seed Specialist
The quality of food or farm produce grown is directly proportional to the quality of seed used in its planting. Also with the outcry against GMO farm produce, a center or business committed to producing quality seedlings which are resistant to disease and safe for human consumption would be a good agribusiness idea to consider.
9. Organic Fertilizer
The use of chemical fertilizer on crops has been known to cause groundwater contamination and leave traces of toxic chemicals in food that aren’t safe for human consumption. Organic fertilizers which are well-packaged and free of harmful chemicals would be well received by farmers and food enthusiasts.
10. Recruiting agency for Farmers
Most farmers suffer from a shortage of literate, low-level farm labor on their farms. An agency which helps farmers to easily and quickly recruit young, intelligent and literate labor for middle to long-term positions on their farms would be a huge hit.
11. Water Conservation
Farming and agriculture involve the use of large quantity of water. With the shortage of quality drinking water caused by climate change, many farms don’t have the luxury of wasting water on their farms. A business that can help farmers get good harvest and animal yield while using minimum amount of water would be in high demand.
12. Water Purification
A lot of water waste occurs on farms. Most of the waste water could be treated and purified for further usage on the farm. A business which manufactures and sells compact water purification units would be a very good agribusiness idea.
13. Food Brand Manager
There are a lot local companies producing quality and safe food products which can rival some of the big-name food brands in the supermarkets. However, consumers don’t know about these products because the local companies don’t have big marketing budgets to play with and they also lack technical marketing expertise. Good food marketing and brand managers who know how to use new media to market and sell products are therefore in high demand by local companies who have good products for the market.
14. Telemedicine for Animals
Most of the animal farms like piggery and poultry farms are located far from high-density population areas (also known as cities) because of the odor generated from their operation and the space required by their operations. As a result of this, farms are located in remote areas and villages where access to quality veterinary medicine and doctors is limited.
Telemedicine (also referred to as “telehealth” or “e-health”) allows health care professionals to evaluate, diagnose and treat patients in remote locations using telecommunications technology. Telemedicine allows patients in remote locations to access medical expertise quickly, efficiently and without travel. This concept can also be applied to animals too. A telemedicine app or platform which helps bridge the gap and connects farmers to experienced veterinary doctors from all over the world is a very good agribusiness idea.
15. Fruit Drinks
The juice and beverage market in Nigeria is very large and it’s growing. We’ve lots of different fruits and crops growing in Nigeria but very limited amount of drinks and beverages made from these fruits.
The juice market is open to receiving new drinks and beverages manufactured from the untapped fruits grown in Nigeria. Some crops worth producing a drink from are cucumbers and bananas.
16. Animal Feed Protein Source
In animal feeds, protein is one of the major ingredients needed for good and rapid growth. Over the last few years, there has been a 100% increase in animal feed protein prices! The animal feed industry is open to a disruptive animal protein source that is cheap, nutritious and readily available.
17. Enzymes and Microbes Culture
The atmosphere has a lot of nutrients in gaseous form (Nitrogen, Hydrogen etc.) which are very useful for plant and animal life and production. However, many of the methods used to deliver these useful nutrients to animals and plants involve chemical-based fertilizers and supplements which can be harmful to consumers.
Instead of using chemical-based fertilizers, we can harness these naturally-occurring nutrients in the atmosphere and deploy them for agriculture purposes safely and ethically. Enzymes and microbes exists which can take these gases and convert them to a form that plants and animals can use. Businesses which know how to commercialize these processes would be a very good inclusion to the agriculture sector.
Automation is a trend that’s here to stay and it would improve productivity in businesses and industries albeit with the loss of many jobs, by offering new robotics jobs. Many processes that occur in the farms such as manual feeding, manual drinkers, etc. can be automated by robots in order to improve farm productivity and profitability
19. Disease Nutritionist
It has been said that food is the best medicine. With the right type of diet, our usage of drugs and visits to the hospitals would be greatly reduced. However, most people don’t eat right and therefore suffer many types of ailment which a proper and good diet could easily resolve. A business which provides information on the right type of food to eat based on the ailments/disease or illness people are dealing with will be a very good agribusiness idea to pursue in 2019.
20. Battery Power for Farms
Regular power supply is still a challenge for farmers in Nigeria. Many farm operations require the use of electricity which isn’t always available. An inverter system or rechargeable power battery bank specifically designed to power dedicated farming operation like pumping water, illuminating the animal pen etc. would be a very good product/ agribusiness idea.
Utilise abundant natural resources like jute or coir