By Chika Okeke
Most people coming into Agrobusiness especially youths in Nigeria view Agriculture and Agrobusiness as a get rich quick investment or a sure short cut to fantasy riches and wealth Eldorado.
For most of the newbie into Agrobusiness that share the above mindset, they are quick to jump into one or the other perceived Agrobusiness opportunity without first taking time to articulate, conceive, plan and put into writing what it is they are expected to face; output, input, profitability, return on investment etc.
For some prospective Agrobusiness investors they think that all that is needed to be a successful Agrobusiness entrepreneur is capital, while for others expertise and knowledge is all is needed to make it big in their desired Agrobusiness venture.
However, in Agrobusiness just as it is with every other business that would be successful, a major foundation upon which success is built and achieved is a clear vision, planning – well articulated expected inputs, outputs, challenges expected, opportunities, marketability, profitability, return on investment etc.
The above constitutes what is known as a Business plan.
A business plan in my layman definition is simply a document that shows an investor or prospective investor how much he is expected to fund the start up of his or her business, where to spend it, when to spend, how much to earn, when to earn, challenges to expect, opportunities and other details essential to operations and success.
Therefore, it is after a critical evaluation of a business plan and conviction of opportunities and feasibility that a prospective investor decides to proceed with the plan – Business Plan implementation.
However, this is not what is obtainable with most prospective investors especially youths investing in Agriculture and Agrobusiness in Nigeria.
Most Nigerian youths and Agrobusiness investors wake up and decide that because the festive season is 3 months away, they should jump in and invest in chicken or poultry farming. For others, because a lot of investors are taking shots at catfish farming, it is the next millionaire fantasy project every youth should explore – irrespective of market challenges unknown in each.
For others just because they read on the profitability of oil palm plantation and its value chain and the good news of how they will harvest an improved variety in just 18 months – they set out to develop a 10 hectare oil palm or cashew plantation.
Investing in Agrobusiness by relying solely on the fundamentals of instinct, assumption, feeling and passion alone is a sure road to failure, disappointment and loss of investment capital in Agrobusiness.
An Agrobusiness or farming business plan is a plan that sets out your proposed Agrobusiness (Livestock, crop, Agro Commodities Export, Processing etc), proffers opportunities that you seek to explore, gaps that you intend to fill, capital needed, needed structure, your expected expenses, at what point to expect them, expected challenges, your expected returns, marketing opportunities, when to be profitable, future prospects, funding opportunities to mention but a few.
Let me also say at this point that a business plan is not a exclusive reserve of large businesses or those with millions of naira or hundred of millions of naira in capital base. No! A business plan is required for every prospective business; how be it small or largely funded.
Your Agribusiness plan should see you finishing your project even before you start. By looking at it you should be able to see visualize and see key milestones in your project, results, inputs and outputs even before you start.
The plan should set out strategies and avenues to explore to market your produce and end products even before you start production (Farming) or processing. This is a very important area where new Agro business investors and farmers have continued to get it wrong.
Further more, your plan should set out knowledge gaps that should be filled an invested upon to ensure success of the proposed Agrobusiness venture.
There is no doubt that Agrobusiness investment in Nigeria is and remains highly profitable and provides the highest return on investment comparable to any other place in the world – with the amazing prospect of a high and growing population but the key to becoming successful and profitable lies in planning and equipping yourself with the right knowledge and investment education.
Are you passionate about farming? Interested and considering investment in any Agro business Value chain in Nigeria? The first way to begin is to get a business plan.
Remember the popular saying that “Failing to plan is planning to fail”
Also, to underscore the importance of planning with a business plan even the holy scripture places an emphasis with YAHUSHA (Jesus Christ) saying in Luke 14;28 (CEB) “If one of you wanted to build a tower, wouldn’t you first sit down and calculate the cost, to determine whether you have enough money to complete it?
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Chika Okeke is the CEO of Agro News Nigeria and can be reached at; firstname.lastname@example.org
For assistance in getting a business plan in any of your proposed Agrobusiness value chain; contact Agro News Nigeria (Agro News & Investments Nig Ltd)