In the last few years, particularly between 2015 and now, there have been increasing talks about the need for Nigerians to return to the farm. From government to private individuals, the campaign for the return to land cultivation has been heightened, especially in the face of the rising cost of food prices, with everyone volunteering views on how a return to agriculture remains the most viable way out of the current economic recession.
But as the recession continues to bite harder, affecting the macro-economy of Nigeria, as well as the economy of individuals, it has become quite expedient to consider the call to return to tilling the land and explore other avenues tied to the agriculture business with a view to leveraging on them to survive the harsh economic conditions. One of such avenues is farm produce sales.
The business of selling farm produce is not a capital-intensive one, though it needs a lot of planning and time investment. With N20,000 upwards, one can successfully begin a farm produce business.
So much has been said by experts and wannabes on how agribusiness can be a money-spinner, but one needs not be an expert or consult a thousand literatures to know the veracity of the claims. All you need do is, visit the nearby market and ask how much food products cost now and how much they cost a few months ago. Taking that step, you would have begun a venture that can change your financial status for good, as that initial research is the first critical step in the business of selling farm produce. You have to do a market survey, know the farm produce that is popular and in high demand in your locale; know the demand for the produce in different periods of the year and know where you can easily get it for relatively lower prices. As part of the survey, you must relate with people who are already in the business of selling farm produce, not necessarily showing yourself as their would-be competitor but as someone who is probably interested in buying what they have in stock. That way, you will be able to know how lucrative the business might be if you eventually venture into it.
After the survey or what you may call initial research, there is the need for you to set your priorities right on which farm produce you want to settle for and if it will be more than one, you must be prepared to handle the complexities.
For instance, depending on what crops you want to trade in, you may need to cultivate a relationship with farmers or a farming location where the produce might be surplus. You also need to make arrangements for the transportation of the produce from the farms/location to where you are and or you may store the produce in the same location until it is in higher demand and sells at a higher cost. In any case, you need a mini-warehouse or storage facility to store the farm produce during a time of plenty, which is the best time to stock the farm produce. For example, the popular peak period for the harvesting of maize, yams, millets and some other food crops are always between July and September of every year in certain areas of the South-West, if your desire is to trade in any of these crops, you must be prepared to travel (or delegate the duty to someone who can) to these areas in order to buy the crops and you must have a storage facility handy.
It is also important to factor in the fact that storing farm produce/food crops needs technical know-how, which is why you must be prepared to hire an expert in the storage of crops, who would know which method is best to store the products in other to prevent them from spoilage, which would culminate in the loss of your investment. If you are going to store maize, millet, sorghum, and other grains, you need to get the people with the know-how on preservation methods.
Some of the popular farm produce that are always in high demand at some period of the years are palm oil, maize, wheat, yam/yam flour, soya bean, and others. With these products and some others, depending on how well you handle them, you can feel safe stocking them in high quantity for a few months till they become scarce and in high demand. And whenever the demand for these produce rises, there is a high probability of getting at least a 50 per cent return on investment, depending on how long you can wait before selling out. For instance, a few months ago, a bag of maize cost between N8,000 and N10,000 in some farming areas in Oke-Ogun area of Oyo State. Today, the same bag costs nothing less than N15,000. Also, every time new yam comes out, several farming communities in the South-West that grow the crop in high quantity would have a high supply of dried yam for yam flour. Ditto for palm oil. Insightful farm produce sellers often stock the two produces until the first quarter of the New Year and afterwards, when the demand and prices for these products often rise sharply.
Do you have the desire for agribusiness but do not want to be involved in full-scale farming? Why not explore the world of farm produce sales?