The World of Agribusiness: challenges facing agro-export in Nigeria.
Agribusiness is one of the fastest-rising industries in Nigeria. It involves businesses engaged in all aspects of agriculture, ranging from providing inputs such as seeds and fertiliser to farming, processing, marketing, distribution and retail sales. Agribusiness emphasises the notion that for agriculture to be sustainable, it needs to be viewed as a business.
The agriculture sector presents many great opportunities when treated as a business. The field of agribusiness offers some of the most fulfilling career options, including but not limited to farm and livestock management, agricultural and rural policy, commodity marketing, foreign trade, and economic development. The possibilities are endless.
Agribusiness is also highly relevant and will stay that way as long as the human population continues to grow. Agriculture is the world’s primary food source, and because of this, many nations depend on each other to import and export agro-food. As the population increases, the demand for food, especially high-value crops and livestock products, will continue to grow. Indeed, the rapidly rising demand for food within and outside Africa provides a considerable untapped potential for intra-African and international agricultural trade.
Unlocking the potential of agricultural exports in Nigeria is critical to improving the economy as it will be a key tool in achieving sustainable economic growth. However, despite the huge potential for agro-commodities in foreign markets, the industry is still plagued by several challenges, depriving sector players of inherent opportunities.
In an interview with Businessday, our Managing Director, Ogadinma Mordi, discussed the challenges of exporting agro-products, plans to increase the country’s non-oil profile and opportunities in the agribusiness ecosystem.
Some of the challenges he identified are;
- Smallholder farmers struggle with poor agricultural pricing policies, low access to credit, and limited and uncertain research funding, which affects their ability to meet international food safety and animal and plant health standards.
- Exporters experience poor communication networks, high export costs, and limited logistical and input support access.
- Smallholder farmers use traditional production techniques.
- The road network is inadequate, negatively impacting shipment movement, and transportation cost has increased 300 per cent in the last few months.
Other pressing issues when exporting agricultural products include port traffic congestion, low-quality farm produce, a lack of trust in the value chain, outdated agricultural systems, and the involvement of too many middlemen in the agricultural value chain.
Recently, a renewed focus has been on growing the economy’s non-oil sector and improving agro-export. One significant way of improving agro-export is using our proprietary technology, Osisi. Osisi is the first blockchain-enabled platform that brings together different players in the agricultural supply chain. This platform help buyers access and import agricultural products efficiently by providing seamless sourcing, supply and purchase processes while taking care of everything from production to shipment.
Another way of improving Nigeria’s agro-export is to reinforce trade and land tenure policies. It is also crucial to improve port administration and resolve the operating environmental issue, such as encouraging more customs cooperation both in the regional customers’ interaction and World Customs Organization.
In addition, there is a need to establish an agency that will head quality control of agro produce so that products for export will be in line with global best practices and standards. This agency can create standard operating procedures for farm produce and establish a quality system for domestic and international markets to improve trade opportunities. This will push Nigeria’s agro commodity to the world.
Through better policies, stronger institutions, and, most importantly, the development and empowerment of the smallholder farmers can, Nigeria’s agro-export thrive as it should.