Thursday, 10 April 2014

Do AGRIC! AgroPreneurship Is The Future.

According to the history books, Agriculture was the first occupation on earth. If you read the Bible regularly, I am sure you must have stumbled upon several verses that made reference to farming and animal rearing. Well, if you haven't - then cultivate the habbit of studying the Bible more often. I am beginning to strike you as a pastor, right? Never planned that the first paragraph of this article would have a religious theme or divine direction. Perhaps, it's the Lord's doing. Going with the flow.

What if Agriculture is the Alpha and Omega of our economy? It has been prominent since the beginning of time, and will probably be so until the end of time. Some day in Nigeria, there will be a paradigm shift from oil and gas to the Agricultural sector. My dear country should brace herself, because crude oil will most likely get exhausted in the nearest future.

Robots need electricity to charge the batteries that make them function. Ask Robocop! So also do humans need Agriculture in order to provide food for mankind. If you stop eating, you'll definitely stop existing. And I am not talking about fasting. I mean the aftermath effect of starvation. I believe it's now clear and evident that the importance of Agriculture cannot be overemphasized. If I start listing and explaining each and every merit of Agric, I would end up penning down so many words enough to publish an encyclopedia.

Therefore, when I say AgroPreneurship is the future, it's not a bluff. It's real talk! Some of you might be wondering what the heck is AgroPreneurship? This term refers to the ability of applying one's entrepreneurial skill into the field of Agriculture with the aim of making profit.

International Nigerian entertainer, D'Banj, is a worthy mention in the aspect of those taking the lead in AgroPreneurship. A while back the Kokomaster introduced his Koko Garri to the commercial world. As a young person juggling music with school presently, I found this move by D'Banj quite inspiring, perhaps because I am studying Agricultural Technology. I discovered that I can actually marry showbiz and agriculture together. First and foremost, I have to graduate from the University and then concentrate on building a big brand as an artiste or public figure and later invest in Agriculture. Well, that is just my own opinion. My fellow course mates also expressed their own reactions towards D'Banj and his Do AGRIC movement.

"I concur, Agric definitely pays, but what about the capital? Most farms are closed because the farmer has no other source of living. I am talking from experience, believe me." - Isheyemi Funmi

"Everything is not about capital, what you need is the idea first. There after, the original you inside you will channel your mind to how you can get capital. All these great and successful entrrpreneurs in Nigeria today didn't put capital first. My point is that the idea should come first" - Aboluwade James

"There is a saying that when rich people are talking of money, a poor man is saying he has an idea. Or don't you know before D'Banj could invent this, many have gotten the idea but there is no money. I rest my case." - Omotayo Tumise

"Dbanj should concentrate on singing, because all I know is that koko garri aint gonna be cheap, and let's put packaging aside, garri is garri. Money will always be the key word here, if not I would have started a small broiler flock this whole time I have been home doing nothing due to the strike. Ideas are many, capital is scarce. If D'banj wanted my recognition, instead of doing all these, he should have paid into an agric student's dream, I think koko eggs would make an ideal statement." - Chima Nkiru

"For me I only see effectiveness in everything D'banj had done, is doing and will still be doing. Probably as regards the 'Koko Garri' only GOD knows what the future holds, it is backed up with 'capital' so no matter what you want to do as an entrepreneur capital must set in either on a large scale or small scale. Though the idea is also needed but it must be backed up with capital. I won't be surprised when i get to see 'Fecko's Rice' in a 25 litre keg. LOL" - Smith Ademola

Well, from the above correspondence you will notice that the key word is 'Capital'. Yes, capital is very important when starting an enterprise. However, borrowing the words of Zig Zigglar, we must learn to 'think big, start small and start now.' May I also add that packaging is what would attract more customers to your product. It's what will make a tush kid in Shoprite say "Mummy please add Koko Garri to our cart". Packaging is what makes your product standout, it also adds more value to it, hence more profit.

The Lagos State Government has spent N1billion to support some 400 graduate farmers trained under the state’s Agricultural Youths Empowerment Scheme (AGRIC-YES). These lucky ones now have a headstart in the agric business. What about millions of other Agric graduates out there in search of capital? Truth of the matter is, we need more hands on deck and more investors in the agric sector. Notwithstanding, we have to still acknowledge those taking the lead.
On a final note, every agric student, farmer and stakeholder in this noble profession should endeavor to awaken people's consciousness about the benefits of Agriculture. African musicians such as Diamond, Omawumi, Victoria Kimani, D'Banj and co recently teamed up to record and release a song called 'Cocoa Na Chocolate'. Rachid Taha's Arabic verse on that track seemed quite funny to me. Wish I understood what he was saying. All the same, music is universal. There are no barriers. Well, just like these artists I am also trying to create an awareness about Agriculture in my own little way. Hence, this article.

Do AGRIC! It pays!

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