BY AGBAJI CHINEDU
Agribusiness can be seen as a science and practice of activities with backward and forward linkage related to production, processing, marketing and trade, distribution of raw and processed food, feed, fiber including the supply of inputs and service for these activities. In a developing country like Nigeria, agribusiness system with forward and backward linkages consists of the following four major sectors, such as 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 in which the success of each sector depends, to a large extent, on the proper functioning of the other sectors. Thus, 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. It is a business you can start at the back of your house, at home or start without capital.
With the coming of departmental stores and plazas, food processing and packaging has become the order of the day. Also with the increasing number of middle class in the society and the busy nature of the housewife, one is sure of making money once you invest in agribusiness both online and offline.
Youth involvement in agribusiness in a time like this Nigeria is key to the socio-economic development of the nation. It will lead to jobs creation and youths being independent. To embark on agriculture-related activities, one does not need to own a farm to be involved in agribusiness. There are series of activities where youths can get involved despite the fact that they may not have any background in agriculture. In doing this, there will be a development of all communities, the society at large and the national economy. As a result, income will be enhanced, it will as well bring about food security, employment and quality of life will be sustained.
However, President Muhammadu Buhari’s call for youts to participate in agric-related businesses on Monday at Blair House, Washington DC, at a meeting with the chief executive officers of six American agricultural companies and their Nigerian counterparts shows government’s keenness to advance agro-allied business and as well deal with the major challenges facing agro-allied business (herdsmen/farmers crisis) which has discouraged many youths to become agric businessmen in Nigeria.
Agriculture is not just the future or alternative source of income to the nation but for food security, income opportunities to Nigerians and industrialisation of the nation through modern farming, processing, and storage system. The issue of skilled labour in the agro-allied industry is another factor that needs to be addressed.
Both government, cooperate organisations and nongovernmental organisations 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 the following business enterprises that buy from or sell to 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. (c) facilitative services e.g. credit, insurance, agro produce brokering marketing, consultancy, storage, processing, transportation, packing, distribution, etc.
Agbaji Chinedu is an agribusiness opportunities and investment columnist with Independent Newspaper and Friday Leadership.