About five months ago, I started what I thought will be an easy project. I was with a friend on this project and our intention was to have a sneak peep into the possibilities in agriculture like it has always been bandied around in several formal and informal quarters. It turned out that they had all been one sided. They all seem to say – Agriculture is profitable. What they leave out is the most important component; the fact that it is perhaps one of the toughest ventures out there.
I am not giving up anytime soon though. Mistakes have been made. Contacts have increased. I have had to dine with the locals in several locations. I have been in several middle of nowheres. Often, I ask myself – what in God’s name are you doing here? A bee stung me on one of those occasions. It comes with the search of a goldmine in the heart of the bush.
We are getting closer by the day but it is amazing the volume of plans that has to go into not getting it wrong. Agriculture will never be attractive to our young people if it is the model they see is that presently being practised by our fathers. Theirs is to a large extent just for sustenance purpose and not business. The figures for now look good but the process is daunting. Having to arrange for labour from neighbouring countries is annoying especially when the unemployment figure for unskilled labour in the country is still high. Needing to provide almost all infrastructure without assistance is also saddening. More disheartening is the absence of any organised information about agribusiness in Nigeria. There are no figures about market prices throughout the year; there is no information about soil type and weather in organised form. You wonder exactly what the website of the Ministry of Agriculture is meant to archive especially when you compare it with this.
If you are not ready to fail, fail and then succeed, do not waste your time trying to get into the agribusiness space. One of the most profound thoughts I have read on agriculture put it aptly – If you want to fail in Agriculture start big, but if you want to succeed, start small. Nevertheless, it is an interesting time to be alive.