Starting a farm business with little or no capital

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I decided to write this article because of the recent conversation I had with a friend. He asked me a question; “Dotun, how did you get the capital to start your farming business?

I smiled and told him “I raised the money myself.” He was amazed at how I was able to acquire and set up a 1.5million worth of Farm business.

The reasons are straightforward; I started small, and I also ventured into what I know; Basic fact!

However, is no more news that sourcing of capital to start a farm business in Nigeria is not always easy.  Moreover, it is one of the most infuriating and challenging issues that need to be addressed.

Over the years, our government has launched various funding schemes that are mandated to cater for the youth in agribusiness and farmers.

However, most of the schemes have failed to live up to expectations.

Why?

Poor implementation process, attitudinal problem, corruption and so on

Please, stop wasting your time on irrelevant programmes or application forms which at the end you may be told that you did not make it or qualify. Don’t let capital limits you from starting something.

If you are starting your farm business, I would advise you to venture into what you know. Never make the mistake of starting what you do not know or what you have limited or no knowledge about, I strongly advise you make proper and extensive research about what you want to invest in. This will also save you some extra cost or expenses you ought to pay a consultant. Aside from this, when you invest in what you know, it will improve your chances of success when you eventually kick-start the business. In today’s agribusiness, skills, knowledge, and experience are required to guarantee the success of the business.

Another thing I often tell my friends, young graduates and serving corp members; ‘Why not start small?.’ They are always fond of complaining “No Capital, No Family, No Money, No Helper.”

Don’t borrow a loan to start an Agribusiness (Crop Production to be precise); it is only advisable to borrow loan for business expansion.

You may think the argument is wrong, but that is the bitter truth.

When you start small, you will be able to gather little money, experience, and knowledge. You start small, grow steadily and naturally. Our company is a living testimony of this, we started from raising and selling of oil palm and cocoa seedlings; but now, we are expanding our tent. So, start small, and within some time, you will look back and smile, thanking God for giving you the patience and wisdom of starting small.

Another thing you must also put into consideration is that you advertise yourself to friends, family, and colleagues (both past and current).

Why does this matter?

The illustration below would give you an idea of the message I am trying to pass across.

When you hear the name ‘Lionel Messi, Ronaldo, Neymar,’ the first thing that comes to your mind is ‘Football.’

When you hear the name ‘Wizkid, Davido, Olamide’; the first thought the popup is ‘Hip pop Music’.

My message is that “Start a brand and let people know you for something.”

This makes marketing more comfortable for you.

For instance,  when anybody approaches my friends or lecturers for anything related to farming or consultation, they often refer such people to me.

Therefore, spread the word about your new agribusiness venture to your family, friends, business contacts and past colleagues.

Take your new business globally by using the social- media platform. Also, mind the kind of post or comment you make online. As earlier mentioned “Branding yourself ”; and don’t underestimate the power of friends and family because they can introduce your new agribusiness venture to their professional contacts. This is of great importance when your produces is ready for harvest because when a family member or a friend hears of someone looking for cassava, maize or fresh vegetables, they will forward your name to them.

Starting a farm business in Nigeria requires much money, but you can always avoid some of the expenses. For instance, you can consider using a tractor to plough the land, because of the cost. Ploughing a hectare of land cost 15,000 Naira in my area while the casual labour charges 25,000 Naira for a hectare. These are ways to save unnecessary costs. Being prudent at the beginning can be the difference between a successful and a failed agribusiness.

Lastly, if you eventually succeed in starting your farming business, you should get ready for the real hustle. The real hustle because when you are starting an agribusiness in Nigeria, it requires a lot of dedication and commitment. Since you do not have enough money to employ people who could help you carry out some basic farm operations,  you will be responsible for the following task; taking care of the crops yourself, handling marketing, dealing with billing and accounting, and every other working part of your business. All this will require your time and energy, but you will smile at the end. However, operations like weeding, harvesting, and spraying should be given to cheap labours around.

Once again, don‘t let limited capital prevent you from empowering yourself in agribusiness.

 

Don’t hesitate to contact us if you need professional advice on how you can set up a farm

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