The long awaited new decade, unfortunately, began with the introduction and global rapid spread of a viral infection; Covid-19. It is no longer news that the covid-19 pandemic has led to the fall of many sectors and world economies. As the virus has no border, its impact still continues to linger. This unprecedented impact is felt by humans and businesses all around the world.

In Nigeria the story is no different as the effect of the pandemic hit hard on all sectors and a larger number of citizens are now living in extreme hardship since the lock down of businesses took effect across the nations. Even more alarming, the World Bank reported that COVID-19 “has the potential to create a severe food security crisis in the Sub-Saharan region.

Nigeria is blessed with abundance of arable land which makes agriculture an important sector of the economy with very huge potentials for job creations, food security and poverty reduction. Though the sector is largely dominated by subsistence farming, with improved seedlings, modern farming methods and smarter agricultural advisory, agricultural yields will grow exponentially.

Notwithstanding, the agricultural sector is doing well to stay afloat during this pandemic and it offers enormous potentials of relieving our economy if adequate funding is injected in to support farmers with seedlings, storage and access to markets.

Our Response to Covid-19

Interestingly Agrorite is one of the leading players in the agrictech space in Nigeria. As an agricultural investment platform seeking to better the lives of small holder farmers in Nigeria and Africa at large, we are in the business of bridging the gap of small holder farmers and the premium markets for their products thereby increasing their income. We have on-boarded over 10,000 smallholder farmers (in Poultry, Maize and Rice production) and counting across Nigeria in ensuring the production of the best nutritional food commodities for local consumption and export.

So far, we have produced well over 10,000 metric tons of rice, 22,000 metric tons of maize, raised over 140,000 birds and are looking forward to expanding our reach in the coming seasons.

Although, there is still more work to be done in the area of food production in Nigeria, we believe that achieving the goal of food self-sufficiency is very much possible in Nigeria through partnerships by all stakeholders.

We also facilitate market linkages to premium buyers which enable farmers to sell their produce at competitive prices and eliminate post-harvest losses. In doing so the farmers are empowered and happy to work even harder.

As a technology based agricultural organization, we are able to take advantage of effective methods to cushion the effects of the pandemic on our activities through collaboration and optimization of available technology such as the satellite sensing technology in partnership with AirBus to enhance monitoring of farm activities even without necessarily making a trip to said farms. We also, put in motion a major collaboration with a household multimedia company, to employ interactive voice response (IVR) to boost our ability to effectively communicate with our farmers.

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In spite of the ongoing covid-19 Pandemic Agrorite have been able to navigate through the crises by ensuring that quality food produce are in circulation locally and international. This is made possible through the network of our small holder farmers to produce at higher capacity, and our off-takers who are readily available of off take the produce.

With the challenges arising from the pandemic, we saw the need for more storage facilities across the nation which led to us setting up state of the art warehouses of 25,000 metric tons capacity to warehouse surplus farm produce in order to maintain uninterrupted supply of agricultural commodities during off season.

It is equally worthy to note that the peak of the pandemic saw us setting up an online Business to Customer portal (B2C) for customers to have quick access to fresh quality food produce whilst eliminating physical contact. Our staff were not left out, we adopted a work model that allow our staff to observe all Covid-19 safety measures.

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As the second wave of covid-19 hits, it becomes imperative for a deliberate effort at impact driven investment in Agriculture. By impact, the investment must be beneficial to the investors, the farmers, as well as create job opportunities. Government is contributing to this effort by giving out loans to farmers on its own part, while Private equity investors can lend funds to agrictech companies working with farmers to optimize and increase crop production.

An investment in agriculture in this Covid era is not only going to avert the possibility of food insecurity in Africa, it is also a crucial means to uplift our fragile economy. The Agricultural industry is highly diversified, opening up abundance of opportunities to build our economy and enhance the standard of living of millions of Nigerians. Investing in agriculture also means investing in food.

Your financial contributions in one way or the other will influence food production, security and trade. For instance, there is a growing demand for processed or packaged food and trading of agricultural commodities to improve global food supply; investment in these areas is guaranteed to yield huge economic benefits for investors. However, Investors may have concerns over the security of their investment during this period, to this we reiterate the utmost best due diligence on our part and insure such investments

While we hope that things go back to normal as soon as possible, we encourage the Nigeria government to put in place necessary measures to prevent major setbacks in the agricultural

sector in the advent of unforeseen occurrences, to involve stakeholders in policy making and encourage partnerships to ensure that Nigeria is amongst the front liners in achieving Zero hunger come 2030.

Are you interested in diversifying your investment into financing a farming project or trading on agricultural commodities? Agrorite (www.agrorite.com) is a great platform to consider and we will be delighted to bring you on our investor’s network. Do contact us on [email protected]

Disclaimer

Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.