Tap Into the Riches of Agriculture as a Non-Farmer

I’ve something very important to tell you. It’s something most people may not say often. But it’s the truth. We can’t all be farmers.

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There, I said it.

I think it’s very unfair that we have that notion forced down our throats. I mean, I know agriculture is the “thing”. But, the work of a farmer isn’t for everybody.

If you and I become farmers, who would store our farm products? Who will process or market them? Think about that for a moment. Hmm. Exactly.

Have you ever heard of farm-to-table? It simply is the process a farm product goes through before getting to the table of the consumer.

Basically, we’ve three main parts of the process. The storage and processing, packaging, marketing and distributing.

 All you’ve to do is decide where you want to focus on. Use the information and the tips I’ll share. Be smart, consistent and persistent.

You can easily start making a steady income—I’m talking about very regular cash flow.

Okay, let’s get down to business. Shall we?

The Three Main Areas to Choose from in Agriculture —Aside Being A Farmer 

These five areas make up the agriculture value chain—but we’ll focus on three;

Farmer (Producer)🡪 Storage/ Processing🡪Packaging🡪Marketing/Distributing🡪Consumer (Table)

 

  • Storage and Processing Business 

What’s Your Job? 

In this business, your job is to preserve the quality and quantity of farm products.

You’re the guy who helps everyone enjoy food security. And, you do this by keeping the farm products the right way. 

Basically, you collect and store (or process) harvested farm produce from the farmers.

Why Is Agriculture Products Storage and Processing Important?

In Africa, we export low-value products and import high-value finished products. For example, Nigeria exports crude oil and cocoa. Then import petroleum products and expensive chocolate products.

It seems like we’ve little or no value for our products. At least, not until they leave the shore of our country. And, this should not be. 

Do you want to know the truth? For us to earn more from exportation as a country (continent). We’ve to process our raw materials to a more valuable, finished or semi-finished agriculture products.

We need to stop focusing on increasing crop production only. And, more on how to preserve what is being harvested. To reduce food wastage and boost the rate of exportation.

Also, when we process the farm products we create a source of export and foreign exchange.

3 Main Categories in Crop Storage/ Processing 

  1. Fruits and vegetables
  2. Tubers and Bulbs
  3. Dry grains and seed storage

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10 Things You Need to Know About Agriculture Products Storage and Processing Business 

1) You have to understand how things work for any category you choose. For example, you’ve to know how long the farm products can last before spoilage (shelf life). 

2) You have to find out if you need to change the physical form of a product in order to preserve it. Examples are—making flour from cassava tubers or paste from tomatoes and so on.

3)The way you store seeds is different from that of fruits. You’ve to know the type of storage structure and warehouse to choose. To avoid unnecessary mistakes. 

4)You have to connect with the right people. Find your ideal farmer(s). Let them understand what you want and make sure you understand their needs too. 

5)Make sure you have an active online presence. Your customers should be able to easily reach you. You can join or create an online community for individuals in the business like you.

6)It’s highly important that you know your market. Who’s your ideal customer? Chances are if you’re focusing on seeds and grain storage your customers may not be in your country. 

You may have to export your farm products. 

7)Always ask questions. You aren’t in primary school anymore. No one is going to laugh at you for not knowing a thing (actually, who cares?). Meet and talk to people who have more experiences than you’d.

8)Share what you know. We don’t have enough people in this business. And, we need more people. We’ve to work together to reduce the amount of farm produce that’s wasted yearly in our country.

9)Always employ skilled labor. Or if you want to do it yourself, learn properly. For example, if you want to go into the ginger storage business. You’ve to buy your products at the right time and in the right place.

10) You need to be very aware of the environmental factors that affect your stored agriculture products. The major ones are—temperature, moisture and oxygen content. 

You really have to pay close attention to these factors. Because all risks are at your own personal loss. You can learn more about how these factors can affect your business here

  • Packaging Business 

In packaging, your main job is to prevent the loss of farm produce after harvest and before they reach the consumer. 

Every day the population of the wind increases. So does the demand for food production. This is why we need businesses that focus on the packaging. To prevent food wastage. 

Why is Agriculture Products Packaging Important? 

Packaging of farm products makes it easy to avoid unnecessary waste. That could happen because of post-harvest treatments, production methods or transportation.

We can easily avoid any form of food wastage with proper packaging.

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Packaging enhances the look, appeal and the feel of your products.

Common Agriculture Packaging Products 

  • Silo bags
  • Trays
  • Bottles
  • Clam-shells
  • Bulk bag or FIBC

10 Things to Know About Agriculture Products Packaging Business 

1)Your work is to help farmers and processors deliver farm produce in an effective way without any loss.

2)The stability between farmers and consumers. Whether long or short-term depends on you.

3)When you’re packaging the farm products—always think about the mode of transportation.

Is it for bulk shipment or retail packaging? The way you package a product to be sold at a retail store is very different from one meant for bulk shipping.

4) You should avoid exposing your farm products. In order, to avoid contamination. Always, do your packaging in a clean place.

5) You should divide your products into units for sale. What I mean is that—you’ve to be able to measure them. Use the exact scale that will be used at the market.

6) I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “all is packaging”, right? Quality is key. Like a well-written CV—good packaging should attract buyers and sell your products.

I believe this will help you understand packaging more.

7) Always make sure you relate with the middlemen—marketers, storage personnel—and the farmer. So, you can get advice or support on the right ways to package farm products.

8) You can partner with other people in the packaging business. This is to reduce cost and share transport cost.

You could also contribute money to buy filling and sealing equipment together. Especially, if you stay in the same community.

9) Always remember—your package should not just look good. It should also keep your product fresh. Maintain its quality. And, improve shelf-life.

10) The demand for processed agriculture products outside Nigeria is very high. And, in order to meet up—we need more proper packaging. 

 

  • Distributing and Marketing Business 

In this business, you sell and deliver all kinds of farm products. Fresh vegetables. Dried grains. Tubers.

The restaurants, hotels and the people who need the products may not have time to look for a customer. This is why they depend on you to help them find these products.

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In modern distribution, it should be possible for a product to be picked. Cleaned. Processed. Packaged. Loaded. Unloaded to the consumer in less than 24 hours.

 

Why is Agriculture Products Marketing and Distributing Important? 

Marketing and distribution makes it easier for farmers to focus on quality crop production.

It also reduces the stress the buyers go through of having to source for farmers by themselves.

Most times the issue we’ve is location. The grower ’s farm is very far from his ideal customer. As a marketer or distributor you should bridge this gap.

 

10 Things to Know About Agriculture Distributing and Marketing Business 

1) Identify your ideal customers. Where would you find them the local or foreign market? 

2) For easy communication with your customers and the farmers—use your mobile phone.

For this to go on smoothly, you’ve to trust them and vice versa.  Customers rely on you for good quality and quantity. While you’re relying on the farmers to deliver quickly.

3) Don’t take advantage of any of your contacts. Always ensure everyone—farmer and customer—wins. 

4) Consistency is key. You need to make sure everyone delivers at the right time.

 Make the farmers understand that a happy customer is equaled to steady cash flow. 

5) You should agree with the farmers about the time you’ll pay them. Doing so will encourage more farmers to work with you.

6) Word of the mouth. Always ask your customers to refer your service to their connection. 

7) You can get a physical store. Mainly, if you’re selling agriculture products that don’t spoil fast. 

If not, you can always order for the farm products when you need them.

8) You can partner with online grocery stores like supermart, afrimash to sell your products. This will help your ideal customers find you easily.

 Do a little background check to make sure these online stores fit your plans.

9) You can set up an online store. You don’t have to spend a lot of money promoting it. 

Encourage your customers to order for farm products through your online store. As time goes by, new buyers will find your online agriculture products store.

10) You should try to connect with the people in your kind of business. Build a good relationship with them.

So you can share and receive information about the market with them.

Time for a Little Recap

You can do all three—storage/ processing, packaging, distributing/ marketing—just make sure you don’t end up a Jack of all trade

Do some research to know the kind of farm products needed and the location.

Connect with people in your business or interested in it. Meet and plan with them.

I’ll leave you with these words a great man once told me, “opportunities are everywhere. But, you’ve to—expect opportunities, respect opportunities, inspect opportunities and make use of opportunities”.

Are you thinking of starting any of these businesses? Or have you already? Let me know what you’ve to say in the comment section.

I hope you were able to get a thing or two from this! If you did, share it with your friends too! Thank you!

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