Amb. Sam Afolabi is an organic farmer, tech ethusiast, brilliant investor, an author, and brand growth strategist with 13 years entrepreneurship experience.
He is the Founder/CEO of Africa’s fastest growing Agrtech company, Eatrich Farms. He is passionate about helping young startups build and grow their brands to generate net breaking profits and compete with top brands globally.
Afolabi, at the Smartpreneur webinar tagged Agribusiness: Understanding the Trends and Opportunities, emphasized that agribusiness can only thrive with zeal, technical partner and financial resources or partner.
Afolabi said: “As much as money is important, a technical partner is also important and above all, the zeal to do it. Because you could also have financial and technical partners but if you do not have the zeal, you’re just going to drop out”
There are no suitable farming sites in the cities. As a farmer or Agribusiness owner, you will find yourself working in unconducive environments or geographical areas with different barriers ranging from language, bad accessibility, no power supply, little to zero infrastructure. Sometimes, you might have to live in such areas for weeks in order to carry out farm operations. So this is where zeal comes in. You can have the financial and technical resources but are you passionate about farming or agribusiness?
According to Afolabi, to succeed in the agricultural space, the first thing you need is zeal. It takes a process to make money from agriculture unlike other buying and selling businesses, it takes time. There is time to plant, time to weed, time to water, time to harvest before you think of sales and profit.
A technical partner is also needed to handle the day-to-day activities on the farm. Farming requires a lot of technical know-how. The success of the farm relies greatly on the farmer knowing the seasons of crops and animal patterns in animal husbandry. Starting out in agriculture, you may not be knowledgeable when it comes to seeds and feeds. This is why it’s advisable to work hand-in-hand with someone experienced in your type of farming.
Finally, finance. This plays a major role in all businesses including agribusiness. You need capiital to start, funds to run daily operations and to sustain the business. Sam menioned various sources of financing for agribusiness. Bank of Industry (BoI) is one of the platforms that helps with funds. “A lot of people think the Bank of Industry is not accessible. Get a consultant who understands their language to help you set up your documents and approach them. Bank of Industry has accredited consultants that it listens to. So it is better to work with these consultants” added Afolabi. Others on the list are Bank of Agriculture, Crowd funding, Personal savings, Commercial banks, Inheritance, Micro finance banks, Venture capitalist, and Angel investors.
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