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HOW TO START AS AN AGROPRENEUR



Starting off a business is one of the major challenges most aspiring entrepreneurs face. Some these young and aspiring entrepreneurs have good business plan and strategy but the fear of starting has prevented their business ideas from coming out of box. Often times, this fear is risk-related. Fear is a common phenomenon associated with most Startups, but what makes you an entrepreneur is the ability to summon up courage and face anything that might crop up during business idea implementation.
Businesses have different level of risk. Entrepreneurs take risk that is calculated and it is expected of aspiring entrepreneurs to follow suit. Most Startups fail because they didn’t put certain things into consideration which are necessary for business survival and scalability. Some of those things are; doing a thorough feasibility study with market research; getting to know your target market and customers; going to market with a Minimum Viable Product (MVP); good marketing strategy and tough optimism among others.
During Agropreneur Zone forum discussion, Mr. Alade Sunmisola narrated how he started as an agropreneur and marketing strategies he adopted for his farm produces. Mr. Alade is a graduate of plant science (Crop Production) from Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, he majors in Cassava, Maize and Cowpea production in Oshimili North L.G.A, Delta state.
“How did you start?”, “Well, it happened, when I was posted to Delta state for my National Youth Service in 2011. I partnered and worked with an ex-youth leader in  Oshimilo North LG during my National service as farm support staff. At the end of my service year, the ex-youth leader gave me land to start farming. This inspired me to go fully into agriculture, besides, the whole economy and livelihood of the town and neighbouring towns revolves around agriculture”.
This young Agropreneur started his farming business on half of acre and expanding gradually. He also explained how he did the marketing of his produce.
“We do direct on farm sales (i.e. buyers coming to the farm to buy and transport their produces) and also take the produces to the markets depending on how profitable the transaction will be”. He explained.
Furthermore, Mr. Alade revealed how he was able to manage and scale up his profit margin. “Well, profit margin is manageable if the contentment and fulfillment ideology is to be followed but on a business scale, I believe there’s a lot more that can be added to the profit.”
The following tips were given for scaling up crop production business and they; Improving on daily management practices right from site selection and preparation until harvesting. (Good management practice should also look into labour, work schedule and transportation.); improving market value for produces; getting committed clientele for continuous patronage.
“Most importantly, I think production, transportation and marketing lines have to be well aligned to the current modern practice to achieve more profit both in yield and income. Also storage and processing units comes in handy for unsold/left over produces because there’s never a waste on farm”. Alade concluded.