With the current drive by the Federal Government to diversify the economy and shift its major source of revenue away from oil, there has been a rapidly increasing interest by the government in Agriculture, this has led to the creation of several incentives to boost investment in agriculture at all levels. This is eminent if one visits farms across the country especially in the Northern parts, records so far can show that there will be a boom in agricultural production this year as a lot of people got involved in agriculture for the first time this year and those already in it boosted their production this year by more than 60%. In as much as this is a very good and welcomed development for our country as a whole, a lot of individuals and firms will have so many regrets going into direct crop farming.
This article focuses on the buying and selling of agricultural produce in Nigeria, it will also explain the reasons why trading in agricultural produce in Nigeria is more profitable than direct crop farming. some of these crops are; Melon/Egusi, Maize/Corn, Sesame/Beniseed, Groundnut, Beans, Locust beans, Soya Beans.
Buying and selling of agricultural produce is an age long business which can be traced back to the very existence of Nigeria, most people who did this business were very successful, over time, the business which has made a very good record for itself especially if done with wisdom. In this article, buying and selling of agricultural produce refers to buying agricultural crops during harvest season when prices are lowest, storing them and then selling when prices have gone up during the planting season.
The following market facts and figures can testify that there is both a local and international demand for these crops on large scales, this means that trading in them will be very profitable.
Crop farming in Nigeria
Based on a 27 years’ personal experience and research in crop farming, it was found out that in Nigeria, for person’s going into direct crop farming for economic gains (business), it is important to make sure that it is a major source or only source of income. This is because if such persons have other sources of income, there may not be enough required attention focused on running the farm business and may most likely lead to diverting money gotten from other sources to fund the farm business, this eventually may not yield any positive returns on investment.
Melon for example takes about 3-4 months from planting to harvest, farming it generally involves:
- Getting the appropriate arable land which is mostly found in the North Central states of Nigeria (Nasarawa, FCT, Niger, Benue, and Plateau States) and Kaduna State, predominantly Nasarawa state.
- Waiting patiently for the appropriate farming season.
- Preparing and ploughing the land.
- Planting the seeds.
- Weeding the farm.
- Gathering the melon pods, cutting and allowing to decay.
- Scooping and washing after decaying for about 2 weeks
- Consistent drying in the sun.
- Bagging for storage.
On an economic scale, this is a very rigorous process that requires mechanization, due to the low level or practically unavailable mechanized farming in Nigeria, farm owners have to resort to hiring of labor. Most of the labor if not all comes from the locals/indigenes of such areas where the lands are located, this poses the major threat to the business of crop farming. This threats can be:
- Spending too much on paying for labor.
- Theft of farm implements and farm produce by the laborers.
Because most of these laborers are criminal minded and the fact that they know the terrain/area very well, they go to the farms at specific times of the day to steal the crops just as they mature for harvest. In the case of melons, they inform the farm owner that the melons would be ready for scooping in two weeks, then they go to the farm in about 9 days without permission from the owner, scoop a large amount of the melons and take away. In the case of maize, they go to the middle of the farm where the farm owner can not easily reach or observe and then harvest the mature cobs. In the case of beniseed, after the stems have been cut and allowed to dry, they go at moon light to flip the stems upside down, shake them a little and all the seed fall off onto a canopy which is taken away before dawn. In the case of beans, now this is a very interesting and dramatic one, they pluck a few bean pods and leave the bulk of the rest on the farm unharvested, they come and tell the farm owner that they have finished harvesting the mature ones but the want a favor from the farmer. Then they ask for permission to go for “ro ro” a Hausa word meaning ‘scouting for the remnants’. Unsuspectingly the farm owner gives the permission to go ahead, but experience from investigation showed that what they pick for themselves eventually turns out to be more than what they picked for the farm owner. Surprised yet?
Some other problems associated with crop farming include:
- Taking money from other sources of income or borrowing to fund the farm.
- Pest attack.
- Bad seeds.
- Unavailability of mechanized farm implements.
- No access to fertilizers.
With all these and so many unforeseen occurrences, in Nigeria, it is better for one to leave crop farming to the subsistence farmers and focus on buying and selling the harvested crops. Alternatively one can be a full scale farmer and be fully involved in the whole farming process, improve on farm security and mechanize most of the farming activities.
How to go about Buying and Selling Farm Produce and make Money.
From experience and research in the business of trading in agricultural produce over a period of 10 years, here are the detailed steps on how to go about it.
This business in summary is all about buying, storing and selling of farm produce. A trader buys the produce during the harvesting period when supply is high and prices are low, make’s arrangements in the market to store them or transport them a choice area of storage, then sell’s during the dry season or shortly before the planting period when supply is low, demand is high and prices have shot up. Basic steps for carryout the business are:
- Making inquiries on what to trade in. This is dependent on the amount of money the trader is willing to invest in the business and the crop that is currently most lucrative in the market. This is carried out by visiting the market and making necessary inquiries.
- Making inquiries to ensure appropriate timing on when to buy and sell.
- Making available sufficient capital because the sellers don’t sell on credit. It is cash and carry.
- Traveling to the town where the market is located.
- Visiting the Market Chief for, familiarity, security arrangements and further inquiries.
- Making arrangements for storing the goods either in the market or transporting it to a storage area of choice.
- Scouting for quality and cheap produce to buy.
- Making payments.
- Transportation to storage area.
- Waiting while monitoring market prices and trends.
- Time to time visit to check and ensure safety conditions of the produce.
- Selling the produce when prices have gone up or when market trends don’t look favorable.
Who can do this business?
Government workers, Students, Youths, School Leavers, Bankers, Investors, Supply-Chain Managers, Agro-Investors, people in paid employment, Retirees, Entrepreneurs, anyone interested in achieving financial break through by establishing a lucrative business.
When to do this business
Anytime of the year but preferably buying during the harvest time (towards the end of the raining season, July – February) and selling during the dry season or shortly before plating time (beginning of the raining season, March – May).
Where to do this business
Any major market in these states Nasarawa, Benue, FCT, Kogi, Niger, Kaduna and Plateau States.
Who to know
The “Sarkin Kasua” or Market Chief, the seller of the produce and the owner of the warehouse where produce bought will be stored, that is in the case where the produce will be stored in the market.
A trader can go further to sign agreements if he/she wishes to. In this case, a lawyer and witnesses will be added to the earlier listed people to know.
Just locate the market and ask for the Market Chief, other things will be sorted out from there. The trader should make sure he/she is being introduced to the genuine people by asking more than five (5) different people and from the office environment.
Where to stay
You can stay in a hotel around the market. Check out hotel directories on http://nigeriaheartbeat.com/hotels-and-tourism/ for affordable hotels around your choice destination.
Business skills required
No major one is required except the ability to go on business trips and take calculated risk. Read more on business http://nigeriaheartbeat.com/2016/06/09/return-on-investment/
Business registration/company name
Not required for this business but you can learn more about registering a company at http://nigeriaheartbeat.com/2016/06/06/registering-your-business/
N 50,000 – N10, 000, 000.
You can start up at any financial level you are currently.
If you don’t have the capital, you can get information on how to obtain Agriculture related loans @ www.nigeriaheartbeat.com
Crops to trade in
All the listed crops; Melon/Egusi, Maize/Corn, Sesame/Beniseed, Groundnut, Beans, Locust beans, Soya Beans/Soybeans are lucrative to trade in but the best is Sesame/Beniseed because of the following reasons:
- Unlike beans it does not need any special preservation and storage other than bagging.
- It does not need the application of pesticides during preservation as it is not easily attacked by pest.
- It does not compress when stored in bags so its volume doesn’t change during buying and selling unlike Melon which reduces in volume over time and can be compressed by hand during re-bagging for sale.
- It has a very high economic value which appreciates rapidly over time unlike maize which has a very low economic value and sometimes depreciates with time. This is very important in making a choice on directing resources.
bagged locust bean
Returns on Investment
10%-400% (Depending on the produce, mode and time of selling)
My earliest experience: I bought 5 bags of beniseed in January 2016 at N 20, 000 each and sold it in March 2016 (3 Months) for N 38, 000. This shows how much it appreciates within a very short period of time.
Demand and Selling the Produce
The demand for the produce is always very high all year round especially during the planting season making selling the produce very easy. Many big companies send their representatives come and source for them from the market, individuals and small companies also come to buy for their local use or exportation.
There are already built stores in the market where the produce can be safely and securely stored with all guarantees assured after all necessary legal steps have been taken.
Alternatively the trader can transport the produce to any designated location of choice.
Price negotiations can be reached depending on current market price and the buyer’s bargaining power. There are no imposed fixed prices.
Transaction completion period
Buying: this can take about 2-4 days, depending on the trader’s buying price limit and proximity to the market. If he/she traveled from a far distance, he/she may not want to stay for too long where he/she is putting up, so it all depends to a large extent on buyer. It is advisable to find out the market days of such markets so as to plan well.
Selling: takes about 1-2 days depending on the Trader’s market price target.
Pricing of beniseed and most other crops are usually dictated by market forces of demand and supply which in turn is a function of time, level of production, distance from the point of delivery, quality and the quantity demanded.
Any market size is appropriate.
Where best to buy/Location of Market
Nasarawa market in Nasarawa town or Keffi town of Nasarawa state or visit http://nigeriaheartbeat.com/agriculture/
Contact Addresses Buyers and Sellers
See more on http://nigeriaheartbeat.com/agriculture/
Business is a risk they say, all businesses have risk but the ability to identify them am avoid the ones that need to be avoided or take calculated risks makes one successful. Here are some identified risks:
- Be careful not to be scammed in any way.
- Make sure the produce are bagged in your presence. There have been cases where traders have bought produce only to realize when it was time to sell that sand was bagged in the middle of the bag or that the produce was mixed with older ones that have either gone bad or lost value.
- Please don’t make any transactions over the internet or phone, simply visit the market to make your purchase.
- Make a little investigation about the owner of the warehouse where you will be buying a space for storing your produce, alternatively you can hire a store for your produce and lock it up. Certified people to help you in all these arrangements are on ground in these markets.
Opportunities and Threats to the Business
The opportunities to these business is very high as the demands for these produce never end. Also at a time like this when the government is turning its focus to agriculture, a lot of opportunities and government incentives are available for the agricultural sector.
So far, threats to the business is centered on monopoly, where a very rich and influential individual or company may like to be the only one in the business therefore using every means possible to buy every available produce. They could also be willing to pay the farmers a higher amount of money thereby making prices go out of the reach of small scale traders.
English is majorly understood but an understanding of Hausa language is also an advantage. You can always see volunteer interpreters around if the need arises.
Security and safety tips.
- Avoid traveling at night as much as possible.
- Don’t travel with cash other than that for your feeding, transportation and accommodation.
- These days, hotels are available almost everywhere in the country. See list of hotels on http://nigeriaheartbeat.com/hotels-and-tourism/
- Make sure deals with the seller and every other person in the market are sealed before going to withdraw money from the bank for payment.
- Where possible, try to make payments inside the banking hall.
- There are banks almost everywhere checkout a directory of banks in Nigeria http://nigeriaheartbeat.com/banks/ .
Thanks as you enjoy trading successfully.
Research By: Samuel K. B. @ firstname.lastname@example.org
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