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Producing crops or breeding animals is not always the biggest challenge for Nigerian farmers, selling these products after the sweat, toiling, and investments is usually the challenge. Even more important, selling them at competitive prices.
Agrorite, a digital agriculture platform says it is working to solve what is according to it, the biggest challenge confronting farmers in Nigeria; access to market. Formally launched last month, the company started as a food distribution company called The Likers 2years ago. It says Agrorite was created in a bid to further expand its reach by introducing technology in fighting food insecurity.
According to Toyosi Ayodele, founder/CEO of Agrorite, the platform connects smallholder farmers directly to off takers at fair and competitive prices with the aim of tackling food insecurity and increasing participation in Agriculture. Agrorite aligns itself with the SDGs and takes the goal 2, which is Zero Hunger as its focal point.
“We don’t limit farmers’ access to us through crowd funding,” said Ayodele, “rather we encourage as many farmers as possible by helping them with crop yield, financial inclusion, trading and logistics.” Farmers, he said, are empowered in ensuring their independence on determination of pricing and invariably financial freedom.
In Nigeria, post-harvest losses are as high as 40 per cent for some commodities. There are also frequent experiences of gluts in the market for different commodities, leading to price instability, and in cases when prices crash, there is very little income for farmers. Invariably, it is discouraging for potential investors who do not consider the Nigerian sphere viable enough on account of its volatility and uncertainties.
It is worse for smallholder farmers who thread on the brinks of extreme poverty, and easily tip into it whenever they are either unable to sell farm harvests, or prices become unfavourable. Middlemen get the biggest piece of the pie in the value chain, for instance, buying a tuber of yam for less than N100 in Benue, and selling the same for N1000 or more in places like Lagos.
Asked how Agrorite is different from the same system of exploitation farmers are subjected to, Ayodele explained farmers on the platform know the amount off-takers are buying the farm produce and they get regular data from their dashboard on prices around the world. “We are also working on having block chain on our platform to foster transparency and boost the integrity we’ve built over time,” he said.
On Wednesday June 12, the company started a Maize investment round, offering 18 percent returns on 6-month tenured investment of N60,000 per unit. “The goal is to get more people to embrace agriculture as a key driver for economic growth and development,” said Aydoele.