Farming was once the hottest line of business in Nigeria, but several decades later, we have a population that would rather work in an air-conditioned office every day than grow their own food.
Working in an air-conditioned office has its merits, but someone has to grow what we’ll eat, and believe it or not, commercial farming is just as rewarding as most air-conditioned office jobs. However, farming is a business and not a job, and while it can be highly rewarding, there’s a nonzero probability of incurring a loss.
If you’re radical enough to want to attempt farming in 2023, you don’t deserve to incur losses. To help you avoid that, this article will show you how to start a farming business in Nigeria. Before that, however, let’s look at some reasons why you should consider entering the Nigerian farming industry.
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Why You Should Enter the Farming Business in Nigeria
There are plenty of reasons to hate agriculture, especially in a country like Nigeria. However, for each reason you may have to not learn how to start a farming business in Nigeria, there are four reasons why you should. To prove that, here are some reasons why you should enter the farming business in Nigeria:
1. It’s lucrative
Farming can be slightly capital-intensive, but once you establish yourself in the industry, you’ll notice it’s basically a gold mine. Like every gold mine, however, you have to do some digging to get to the good part, and the digging here is caring for a high and, most importantly, quality yield.
2. It’s government-backed
Apart from actual politicking, farming is probably the only business Nigerian politicians care about, and that’s probably because it’s the only profession they’re allowed to have aside from public service. Over the past few years, the Federal Government has offered plenty of loans to farmers, and by all indications, that trend will likely continue.
3. It has a low barrier to entry
You don’t need a bachelor’s degree in any agricultural program to become a farmer in Nigeria; a few months of on-field learning are typically sufficient. I can’t think of many other lines of work where getting a formal education isn’t mandatory, or at least necessary.
Which of the Farming Businesses is More Lucrative in Nigeria?
Farming is a pretty broad term, as there are tons of different agribusinesses that fit under that umbrella. One question budding farmers tend to ask often, however, is which of the farming businesses is the most lucrative in Nigeria, and we just might have an answer for them.
The answer will depend on where you’re planning to situate your farming operations. Pork is not a thing in the northernmost regions of most states in northern Nigeria, so situating a pig farm there wouldn’t be a very good idea, as now you have to cover the cost of transportation of your products to places where it’s in demand.
In short, there’s no one-size-fits-all farming business in Nigeria; it’s your responsibility as an agriculturist to conduct market research before settling on a lucrative farming business idea. Since this is a ‘how to start a farming business in Nigeria for beginners’ tutorial, the following section will include some recommendations for the most lucrative agribusiness ideas in Nigeria.
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How to Start a Farming Business in Nigeria
Now that we’ve established the merits of farming in Nigeria, it’s time to learn how to start a farming business in Nigeria.
1. Come up with a profitable business idea
As with any other business category, the first step to starting a profitable business in Nigeria is coming up with a business idea. We may show you the most profitable agricultural business ideas in a future post, but this section will serve as a mini-guide before the full guide.
Before choosing an agricultural business idea, it’s essential to account for the peculiarities of your locality. For instance, setting up a pig farm in a remote Northern Kaduna village will eventually make you struggle to get your product to customers.
If you’re struggling to come up with a business idea for your Nigerian farming startup, here are some examples that should work in most parts of Nigeria.
- i. Poultry farming
Nigerians simply can’t seem to get enough of poultry and poultry products, making it one of the few farming businesses that seem to never fail. When rearing birds, you can profit from selling eggs or their meat. Also, poultry farming has almost no learning curve, making it the perfect starting point for anyone learning how to start a farming business in Nigeria.
- ii. Fish farming
Operating a fishery isn’t as easy as poultry farming, but there’s almost no competition in the industry. It’s more capital-intensive than the preceding agricultural business idea, and it has a steeper learning curve, but once you get the hang of it, it’s also significantly more profitable than poultry farming.
2. Acquire the requisite knowledge
While you don’t need a formal degree to start most agribusinesses in Nigeria, you also shouldn’t go in without any knowledge. Learning the ins and outs of your chosen farming business is essential to the success of the entire operation.
There are several ways to acquire knowledge about your chosen agricultural field. You can decide to go for a degree or diploma that runs anywhere between two and five years. If you don’t have that much time for learning, however, a boot camp that lasts for a few weeks should be sufficient.
For very simple agribusinesses like poultry farming, you can even start the business first and learn on the fly. You may lose a few chickens to a lack of experience, but you’ll learn more quickly that way; remember, experience is the best teacher.
3. Come up with a business plan
Most agricultural entrepreneurs tend to skip this step, but coming up with a business plan is as critical to an agribusiness as it is to businesses in other categories. If you’re already learning how to start farming business in Nigeria, you might as well create a business plan that details important aspects of your venture.
Your business plan should contain information about your company, your target audience, management details, a capital generation plan, your goals, and your growth projections. It doesn’t have to be the most elaborate business plan in existence, but knowing you have one can enhance the business’s focus.
4. Raise capital
Raising money to fund your business idea is undoubtedly the most difficult step in starting an agribusiness. Thankfully, agriculture is one of the interests of the Nigerian government, opening up several capital-generation opportunities for farmers in the country.
If you’re still stuck on the revenue generation problem, here are possible ways to generate capital to fund a farming business in Nigeria.
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- i. Personal savings
Here’s a secret: nobody will loan you money if you haven’t invested in your business beforehand. The reason is simple: if you don’t show commitment to a business, there’s no reason an investor should trust you to be dedicated to it when they eventually offer you money to grow the business.
In short, every successful agribusiness starts with the entrepreneur’s personal funds, regardless of how small. You don’t need to invest millions of naira in your business before pitching to investors; commit whatever you have, grow it as much as you can, and demonstrate to them that you can replicate that growth consistently.
- ii. Seek loans
The Nigerian government is very open to doling out loans to farmers and other agriculturists, thanks to the country’s need for professionals in the sector. As soon as you hit the ground running with your personal funds, you can start soliciting loans from the government and other external investors.
Examples of loans you can get when learning how to start a farming business in Nigeria include the CBN’s Anchor Borrower’s Program, the Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme Fund, and loans from Nigeria’s agricultural banks. Most of these lenders would want to see a business plan before offering you a loan, so you might want to have that handy.
iii. Explore trading equity
Depending on the scale of your business, you may be able to trade some equity in the firm for cash to fund immediate expenses. However, it’s essential to note that giving up equity is the same as letting go of a percentage of your company, so you might want to proceed with caution and seek the services of a business lawyer.
5. Start or scale up your business
Depending on your business plan, sourcing funds may come before or after launch. If it’s after, here’s the part when you start the farming business with your capital and the wealth of experience you’ve gained over your extensive learning period.
First-time farmers will find this part pretty challenging, as almost everyone eventually discovers that their expectations aren’t always reality. However, the first farming season is usually the hardest, as you also learn the hard lessons associated with the business.
6. Market your products
Marketing shouldn’t start after harvesting; you can start strategizing on how to market the products from your farm even before they start growing. Linking up with individuals and organizations that buy from farmers and exploring the most profitable options for you is also one of your jobs as a farmer.
If marketing your farm’s produce seems incredibly easy, you’re probably doing it wrong. Some items from the farm decrease considerably in price during the harvesting season, so you may want to hold off until they start getting scarcer before selling. You should also entertain numerous offers before selling; some buyers are only after newbie farmers who will sell their stocks too cheaply.
While Nigerian youths are turning away from agriculture in droves, the lucrativeness of farming remains undeniable. If you’ve seen the light, here’s how to start a farming business in Nigeria the right way for maximum profit.
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