President of Agriculturists for All Nations International Society, Deola-Tayo Lord Banjou, in this interview, shares how entrepreneurs can earn N10 billion from agric tour investments and his plans to organise a week-long West African tour for young people to explore opportunities in agricultural investment and practice.
Your NGO is organising a week-long agriculture tour of West Africa. Could you share what the tour is about and why you’re organising it, please?
The Agricultural Business Investment Opportunities Tour of West Africa that we are packaging is meant to draw the public elite into farming. We, the Agriculturists for All Nations International Society, want to ensure food for all and hunger for none. Also, we are making the tour easiest ways to making your millions through Agricultural investments and we can be contacted on www.afanis.org. What we have mainly in Nigeria is what we call subsistence farming where people cultivate small plots of land for sustenance, we don’t have more of agriculture as a business in Nigeria, and so the tour is to expose people to the business side of agriculture, taking agriculture as a business.
For example, if you want to grow cassava, we will encourage you to have minimum of 20-30 hectares of land, if you want to go into poultry production, about 15,000-18,000 layers of birds; plantain production, about 10-20 hectares, the essence is to let people know that agriculture is a business that can bring miilions to your pocket and also mop up unemployed, jobless youths in the country. It’s a business where you can invest your money and be rest assured that your return will not be less than 100 per annum.
As a business man who is investing heavily in agriculture, which areas of practice and investment are you looking at with the agribusiness tour?
We are targeting production, processing and marketing. The new thing is what we call value addition because we have observed that after production, we lose about 40 per cent of what we produce, from the production to processing and storage. In other words, if you produce 1000 tons of tomatoes within three days, you would have lost almost 400 tons due to non-availability of processing option and storage. We are looking at production, processing and marketing and enterprise. For crops, we are looking at cassava, rice, maize and others.
For animal, we will be looking at poultry, piggery, sheep and goats, we will also be looking at mini-livestock such as snails and grass cutters, even for exports. We will also be looking at fish for example. We are only able to meet 30 per cent national fish demand, 70 per cent of national fish consumption is imported.
So, we have enough market for fish production, and on the issue of processing, we are going to look at processing options of all these enterprises we are talking about, even snails, fish and grass cutters, we will look at their processing to give them a better shelf life and for exports. It is important for us to also look at processing since we are also targeting international market, because Ghana that has a population of 20 million is controlling about 80 per cent of agricultural exports overseas in West Africa, what are we doing? So, we are ready looking at production, processing are rend marketing for all the enterprises that I have mentioned.
How do you hope to source resource persons for this programme that you are pursuing?
Nigeria has the best resource persons in agriculture in Africa, talk about University of Ibadan, the first and the most equipped university in terms of Agriculture in this country.
We are picking some of our resource persons from University of Ibadan, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), National Horticultural Research Institute (NIHORT) that has mandate on cassava and fruits. Institute of Agriculture Research and Training (IAR&T) that has mandate on livestock and some arable crops. We will also go to Lagos to have resource persons from Federal Institute of Industrial Research (FIIRO) which has mandate for processing of agricultural produce.
We will also go to Institute of Marine and Oceanography where we will pick experts that will lecture us on the best production and processing methods for fishery. Apart from the experts from those areas, we will visit these institutes to be able to see firsthand what we talk about. It will be theory and real practice. Beyond that, we will go to Republic of Benin where we will further expose the participants to the production, processing and marketing. We will start from Ibadan on the 26th March, 2017 at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) where we will look at cassava production, processing and marketing.
What are the benefits participants stand to gain from the tour?
The tour deliverables include understanding the best principles and practices of production of most profitable agricultural commodities and understanding the economics of production and marketing of the selected commodities. Other benefits include better appreciation of the concept, principles and practice of agricultural business planning, development and management and exposure to funding opportunities available to commercial farming, among others.
How do those who are interested in going for the tour reach you?
Those interested in the tour can reach us through our website. Also, detailed information on the tour is in the small box below.