By Dailypost.ng (Wale Odunsi)
Farmagric is a subscriber focused Agricultural company that empowers farmers by providing them with the required capital and inputs using funds raised from the investing public. Farmagric is making ground breaking moves in the Agri-tech world by building capacity of rural farmers, providing funds for smallholder farmers and also creating investment opportunities for the public.
Farmagric was founded in 2018. The company started out as EME Fertilizers and Chemicals (which has existed since 2016) – supplying fertilizers, chemicals and other crop/soil enhancing solutions to Governments and Commercial farms. In the course of providing this service, they observed that one of the prevalent issues in commercial farming is finance and the application of the right technology.
Africa and Nigeria is a farm lover’s dream; abundant uncultivated arable land which is roughly over half the global total, tropical climates that permit long growing seasons, a young labor force and an expanding population that provides a readily available market for produce consumption. We as a country are yet to harness these opportunities to ensure sustainable food security and food production.
The average age of farmers is about 60 years, in a continent where 60% of the population is under 24 years of age. Farmers are also less educated, with younger and more educated Africans leaving rural areas where farms are located and moving to cities. It is common knowledge that small holder farmers in Nigeria are inundated with a myriad of challenges, some of which include high costs of doing business, difficulties in accessing credit, and so on, access to finance still remains the biggest of these issues. Reason being – people see these farmers but feel they are not bankable, therefore, they remain wary of this business group due to the difficulty in assessing and managing the risks associated with credit.
At Farmagric, it was found that there exists a large number of farmers who have vast arable land but lack the financial strength to cultivate the lands and on the other hand, there exists a lot of Nigerians who are looking out for legitimate investment opportunities with good returns. Therefore, they decided to be a bridge between the two by making it easy and safe for investors to put in their funds into agriculture. These funds are then made available to train farmers and equip them with the right tools and inputs. The funds are raised to carry out the farming. After the farming cycle, the produce is then sold to off-takers and the profits are shared with their Investors.
With Farmagric, investors can earn as much as 30% return on investments per cycle which typically run for 6 – 10 months depending on crop/livestock type. Their model has a two-pronged effect as it avails farmers access to the much needed funding and offers investors good returns. It is understood by the Company that subscribers may be hesitant to invest because they may need their funds before the maturation of their investments, to address this, Farmagric forged a strategic alliance with FINT, a peer-to-peer loan market place, to offer their Subscribers access to loans up to 50% of the amount invested without collateral.
In order to educate farmers who may otherwise not have access to such, Farmagric organized a training for farmers from different locations in Abuja through the Agricultural Development Programme (ADP) office. The training was focused on exposing them to modern ways of farming maize and soybean in order to attain maximum yield starting from land preparation, seed selection, seed dressing, herbicide and fertilizer application, pest control, harvesting and storage. After this training, some farmers who previously only farmed rice decided to try out soybean using the new method learned.
Farmagric is set to also launch its Foundation Programme for agriculture soon, this Foundation will be used for Trainings. Youths interested in agriculture are discouraged by the difficulties in accessing funds or land, reliance on manual technology in smallholder agriculture, all compounded by the low and volatile profits. Focused on encouraging youth participation in agriculture, Farmagric is set to launch their Youth Incubation Programme through the Farmagric Foundation in partnership with an international organization.
The Agricultural Skills Acquisition Programme (ASAP) aims to empower about 500 Nigerian youths aged 18 – 35 through theoretical and practical agricultural trainings in order to create income while generating employment opportunities and ventures.
Farmagric has a team of experienced Agronomists, Researchers, Consultants and Tech developers, who combine their efforts to see that the objectives of the company are achieved. They continuously conduct researches on different agricultural products and liaise with farmers to determine the right crops and seasons to farm. Farmagric is also interested in and are working on partnerships with people in the different sectors of the Agribusiness value chain in order to achieve the set out goal – to sustain agriculture profitably.
Farmagric has affected over 2000 farmers positively, with over 500 farm investors and over 7000 followers on social media. With continuous growth in the agricultural sector of the country, Farmagric is working hand in hand with investors and farmers to improve the food production capacity in the country and achieving sustainable growth in agriculture, which will in turn improve the Nigerian economy.