Despite the obstructing of the COVID-19 pandemic on the agricultural sector, Agrorite – a leading player in the agri-tech space has continued to empower hundreds of smallholder farmers by connecting them to finance amid the virus outbreak.
The agricultural investment platform is seeking to better the lives of smallholder farmers in Nigeria and Africa at large.
Agrorite is on a mission to market gaps for smallholder farmers within its network.
“We have on-boarded over 10,000 smallholder farmers in poultry, maize, and rice production across Nigeria in ensuring the production of the best nutritional food commodities for local consumption and export,” said Toyosi Ayodele, founder, and CEO, Agrorite.
“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,” Ayodele said.
He noted that there is still more work to be done in the area of food production in Nigeria, stressing that his business believes that achieving the goal of food self-sufficiency is very much possible in Nigeria through collaborations.
According to him, the business has facilitated market linkages to premium buyers which enable farmers to sell their produce at competitive prices and eliminate post-harvest losses.
He stated that the agri-tech platform using effective methods to cushion the effects of the pandemic on its activities through collaboration and optimisation of available technology such as satellite sensing which it is deploying in partnership with AirBus.
He says satellite sensing is to enhance monitoring of farm activities even without necessarily making visits to the farms.
“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 to maintain an uninterrupted supply of agricultural commodities during offseason,” he said.
“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,” he added.
Ayodele said the second wave of the pandemic has made it imperative for a deliberate effect for impact drive investment agriculture.
“By impact, the investment must be beneficial to the investors, the farmers, as well as create job opportunities,” he explains.
“Government is contributing to this effort by giving out loans to farmers on its part, while Private equity investors can lend funds to agri-tech companies working with farmers to optimize and increase crop production,” he said.
He added that an investment in agriculture amid the pandemic will help in averting a food crisis ad also boost the country’s economic growth.
He says investing in agriculture also means investing in food, noting that an individual’s financial contributions in one way or the other will influence food production, security, and trade.
“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 ensure such investments,” he said.
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,” he advised.