Huge post-harvest losses of farm produce remain a daunting challenge to farmers in Nigeria due to inadequate storage and processing facilities. This problem has far reaching implications for food security in Africa’s largest economy.
A peasant farmer in say Plateau State would struggle through the cropping season to tend to his cucumber farm. His expectation which would be to make reasonable returns would be met during the harvest season but due to lack of access to the right market and adequate storage facilities, the farmer loses a huge fortune.
Millions of Nigerian smallholder farmers work very hard to plant all sorts of crops and harvest them, but often can’t guarantee that the harvest will make it to the market, if eventually the crops make it to the market they can’t guarantee sales as well.
AGROLINKA is an agricultural online trading platform which facilitates trade between smallholder farmers and/or large scale farmers and consumers or buyers.
It is a mobile market place for agricultural goods such as fresh farm produce (cassava, tomatoes, yam, maize etc), seeds, and equipment. It brings together consumers, dealers, and producers allowing farmers to find best deals.
On Agrolinka, farmers can showcase all their products to buyers from the comfort of their homes, this platform will serve as a social network between farmers, buyers, service provider and input providers. This is the right step in reducing post harvest losses as farmers can connect to buyers from all over the country and beyond.
The COVID-19 seemed to break out in most countries late January 2020. A month later, Nigeria recorded its first case. From increase in cases, to citizens having panic, to lockdown in most states; all these have led to shortage or scarcity of food items especially fresh food supplies and food prices in the open markets have been hiked.
A typical example would be madam CD34 trying to sell off the produce from her garden at the main market in Ogun state. The lockdown would be a reason, for not being able to sell her goods.
The average age of a nigerian farmer is put at 55. Data from other countries suggest that covid-19 has a much higher level of severity amongst the older population. This might result to these farmers staying indoors to avoid contracting the virus which in turn results in decrease in farm outputs.
The good news is, awareness has been created. Before the lockdown, some market sellers have taken some precautions such as; providing disposable nylon gloves for customers before they (customers) touch their products and practicing social distancing (six feet or one hundred and eighty-three centimeters away from the next person). In some cases, the use of sanitizers is advised.
Health is wealth! Let us keep staying safe and eating healthy.
Remember, you can upload your produce on the AGROLINKA app and also buy from it, from the comfort of your homes.
A nursery tray or a seed tray is a cultivating apparatus explicitly intended to hold numerous seeds, beginning from the germination stage, until the seedlings are prepared for transplantation. It is usually made of plastic with small ‘cups’ or cells that have tiny holes underneath. Nursery trays are mostly reusable. Some have a dome to help increase humidity levels or steaming pads that accelerate germination pace.
Studies show that nursery trays progressively help in effective utilization of lands and increased productivity. Other benefits include effective utilization of hybrid seeds, a continuing precise forecast of harvest, crop uniformity and generally making farming easier.
They can be used to sow legumes, veggies, leafy salads and the likes of it but not long-rooted crops like carrots. It is advised to avoid over crowding a cell with seeds, one or two is fine.
Nursery trays are definitely a blessing to the agricultural sector!
Let’s know what you think and if you need help finding someone who sells nursery trays.
Remember that Health is wealth! Let us keep staying safe and eating healthy.
Don’t forget you can upload your produce on the AGROLINKA app and also buy from it, from the comfort of your homes.
Our CEO, Linda Ekweogu was live on instagram with talkwithnaya (Chigbufue Anastasia) on the 16th of May 2020. She briefly explained what AGROLINKA is all about and went into detail about some challenges facing marketing in the agricultural sector in Nigeria. They are as follows;
1. Logistics. An example was given where a 45-ton truck was required to transport farm produce to another state. Unfortunately, there was no standby truck.
Suggested solution: For Government or interested individuals to create an app(s), companies that mobilize trucks to transport farm produce. The issue of bad roads(network) and hoodlums needs to be tackled too.
2. Agricultural Marketing
She made us understand that marketing starts as early as the awareness created for the farm produce (planting, assembling, grading, storing, etc.) till when it gets to the end user.
Here, an irrigation example was used. Apps could be created to monitor when a farm in whichever location needs such services (yes, you heard right).
3. Infiltration of fraudsters on apps. AGROLINKA manages this by disbursing funds to seller only when a buyer confirms product is received.
4. Gaining the trust of potential customers.
5. Fluctuation of prices. Government should create bodies to regulate prices of food produce.
6. Reinvesting into existing platforms. Agricultural blogging was mentioned as a deficit to the Agric sector. As other sectors such as lifestyle blossom, enthusiasts of agriculture are beckoned to use social media platforms to enlighten this sector.
Remember that there is a cluster feature on the app that enables off takers order in massive quantity. He creates a cluster of product A and every farmer of A receives this information and joins. Isn’t it great?
Don’t forget you can also upload your farm produce on the AGROLINKA app and buy from it, from the comfort of your homes.
Health is wealth! Let’s keep staying safe and eating healthy.
On the 20th of July 2020, AgroLinka was represented by our co-founder, Ms. Linda Ekweogu, on twitter @AgribusinessCentre – The African Farmers Stories.
Ms. Linda briefed us shortly on her working experience as follows:
1. Going into agriculture was not forethought but she’s pleased she followed her instincts (4 years down the line already).
2. She is a first-class degree holder of Statistics.
3. Being an effective communicator, she has worked for NGOs, in Research units and so on.
4. She has worked as a Monitoring and evaluation officer, Research officer.
Ms. Linda went on to introduce AgroLinka as an agricultural mobile marketplace which gives our farmers and agro commodity traders the visibility they seek. All being housed in a platform that hopes to curtail post-harvest losses.
Our cluster feature plays a great role in the aggregation of agricultural produce. Here, the off takers create a cluster where farmers who have the required minimum quantity of produce can join.
This takes us to MARKET ACCESS. AgroLinka bridges this problem by advising farmers to upload their produce before harvesting and of course, stating availability of these produce. For example, when a farmer plants his tomato seeds early April, knowing it will take three months or more (from his experience), he can upload on the AgroLinka app that his produce would be available from July.
The above example will help the farmer curtail post-harvest losses and during this window, get access to the market.
Ms. Linda further wrote, “The market access value chain covers all that one has to do with being able to market one’s agricultural goods/services… Market access is therefore not just the sales, but every factor that contributes to making a successful sale”.
This means from harvesting sellable farm produce, to grading, storage, transportation, to sale make up the value chain.
To be continued next week......
Remember, Health is wealth! Let’s keep staying safe and eating healthy.
Our target market is not limited to farmers who can use smart phones but also to those who can’t, through the help of our agents. Our agents onboard and manage accounts for such farmers, as we do not relent in carrying our farmers along.
Agrolinka’s target market extends to the agro commodity traders, agro service providers and input sellers.
We urge the government to pick more interest in the agricultural sector, as these farmers are constrained by lack of business skills, remote farm locations, high transportation costs due to bad roads, lack of bodies that will regulate prices of produce that will aid them to interact on equal terms with market intermediaries.
Other investments they can help with are water access, storage facilities, better funded agricultural research & extension services and information to guide farming practices. All these would help in particular the youth to key into the value chains.
Ms. Linda believes creating more awareness on platforms like #theafricanfarmersstories will give farmers, especially the youth the opportunity to be heard. This in turn will help the youths know that agriculture is not for the old and also help some others who would want to venture into agriculture, have a clearer view of what they are going into.
Download the AgroLinka app today and transact from the comfort of your homes.
Remember, Health is wealth! Let’s keep staying safe and eating healthy.
Now that our plants have been harvested, the next step is to prepare our lands for the next season. In no order, let’s take you through the process below.
Land – While trying to sell or store produce, do not forget to take care of the soil that grew them. Practices like uprooting leftover plants, weeding, adding manure to boost soil fertility are the basics. Agricultural experts encourage farmers to practice crop rotation too.
Equipment – All equipment used during the season should be cleaned and kept in a cool dry place. One will also have to inspect these gadgets for damage or for the regular maintenance check. This helps the equipment last longer and in return, saves farmer cost of new equipment, time to manually do things because gadget is spoilt.
Farmers – We know farmers are busy as bees, but it pays off to know when to take a break. Use the break before the next season to catch your breath again.
Paperwork – This aspect of farming cannot be over emphasized. This is the key to loans, investments and contracts. This data should be collected for every planting season. It helps the farmer gain exact knowledge on activities on the farm.
Agrolinka app gives you the opportunity to track your sales on the app and view your REVENUE.
On the Agrolinka app, you can also source services from the Agro-service providers on the SERVICE feature.
The COVID cases are still on the rise, let’s remember to keep staying safe and eating healthy.