For young agro-entrepreneurs, it is important that they are aware of the various opportunities available to them in the sector.
Especially if it is important that they choose a part of agriculture that apart from having passion for, can also be easily done locally by them. However, to choose, they need the understanding of the agricultural product value chain.
The chain denotes a linear sequence of mutually dependent and primary activities related to input delivery, production, processing, and marketing, etc. The word “chain” also emphasises that the different actors involved in the different links of the chain are mutually dependent. These links include farmers, input retailers, the transporter/importer and the producer of inputs such as fertilizers, seeds and those in the marketing end like middle-men, processors, food marts and super markets. A weakness of one link will affect the price or attractiveness of the final product and hence all the actors will suffer. Thus, when thinking about agribusiness, you have to consider the following:
Farmers of one product, who may be grouped/associated formally or informally to jointly produce and/or market their output.
•Suppliers of seed, fertilizer, machinery and other production inputs;’”
•Buyers, transporters and processors.
•Technical services, including research, extension, NGOs etc
•Commercial services with information on markets and marketing, and offering training on business management and administration
•Financial services, including banks, credit associations, informal lending groups, and insurance companies, etc.
•Facilitators of development processes (development projects, NGOs, etc)
To illustrate the above, let us examine the links that exist in cassava production and the various opportunities it offers. Cassava can be used to produce garri, fufu,ethanol, starch, animal feed, flour milling to mention but a few.
A proper analysis shows that youth can get involved in this sector by engaging in any of the following-
i. Become farmers that plant the cassava and produce them fresh
ii. Technicians, craftsmen and engineers to design machines and equipment for processing.
iii. Youths who provide reliable transportation services for farms that need to transport their cassava putting the elimination of perishing as priority.
iv. Individuals who would handle the processing of cassava at its various stages.
v. Others can be involved in the packaging of finished produce
vi. Yet, another set can process to cassava chips and export.
vii. There are also opportunities for carpenters, bricklayers, welders etc that could assist in construction of processing areas and storage facilities.
viii. Another set could provide up to date information for farmers on new planting techniques, storage methods and new varieties available via sms, soil media, videos and word of mouth
ix. Even yet, another group could handle marketing and getting the produce to the industry, distributors and even end users of finished processed products
x. Animals such as pigs need cassava peels , thus a youth could engage in supplying these peels to pig farmers.
These are just a few of the numerous opportunities youth have in the agribusiness. It should be noted that for these to be successful, there has to be networking and partnership that would foster growth in all the major ends of the chains and market.
It is clear from the above that agriculture opens to us a lot of doors. We all don’t have to be on the farm as it were. But a fact remains that there has to be a synergy between the various value chain showing the role of proper information dissemination, capacity building, networking and a win-win attitude by young people.
If you are a youth and you are interested in agriculture, please text your full name and your areas of interest to : 08052069264
Contributed by OJO Olawale of AGROPRENEUR NIGERIA (A Forum to encourage Young people to get involved in agriculture) http://www.facebook/groups.