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‘We offer opportunities for investors in Nigeria’s poultry industry’

Bill Kenneths is the chief executive officer of Farmsponsor – an agri-tech investment platform focused on poultry production. In this interview with Josephine Okojie, he spoke about the country’s poultry industry and how Farmsponsor investors can earn 15percent ROI in three months.

Can you tell us about Farmsponsor agri-tech?

Farmsponsor is an agric-tech business that operates in the poultry value chains which is not limited to crowd-funding to empower local farmers, but other investments in the hatchery, breeders farming, feed milling, chicken processing, and storage among others.

Why do you specialise in poultry production instead of food crops?

Our kick-off strategy was to focus on the poultry business which we have gained a lot of expertise. Also, we have been exposed to the industry and taken advantage of the investment opportunities in poultry farming in Nigeria within our two years of operation. Now, we are gradually expanding into the oil palm plantation and refinery business. Our mobile application Vestpay- which exposes users to related agribusiness services and profitable investments is currently in the live beta testing phase.

Who are your off-takers?

Our goal is for our products to make it from farm to table quite easily while maintaining the wholesomeness of the product no later than one week from harvest, through restaurants, supermarkets, and e-commerce. Our other off-takers are; wholesalers, grocery stores, offshore companies, and general merchants are also our customers.

What makes your platform better for farmers and investors – that is, why must investors choose your platform instead of others and why must farmers enrol with Farmsponsor?

Farmsponsor is poised to deliver superior value all year round to sponsors, farmers, and consumers alike. With a return of 15perceny per farming cycle of 12 weeks and a debenture of 2.5X in our five-year expansion plan, Farmsponsor has the best returns in the market. Sponsors may also choose to retain their sponsorship in future cycles or convert it to equity on the platform. Through the Farmsponsor Out-Grower Scheme (FOGS), farmers enjoy access to quality farm inputs and services (feed, medication, day-old chicks, vet doctors, insurance) as well as market for their birds.

How many farmers are involved with Farmsponsor and their locations in the out-growers’ scheme?

We have over 300 farmers in our farming programmes across Nigeria. The majority of our farmers are in Rivers, Abuja, and Ebonyi states.

Farmers do default in loan repayment most times. How is your experience like with farmers you are working with?

Poor infrastructure to manage the affairs of farmers in out-grower programmes forms part of the reasons for failure due to wastage of farm resources, which inevitably leads to high production cost. However, farmers on FOGS cooperate are provided with inputs and services as well as market to lift lots of their burden from the farming cycle.

The average return on investment per unit of a poultry farm on your platform is 15 percent in 3 months. How realistic is this ROI considering the current scarcity of maize and the high cost of other inputs?

The ban on maize importation has led to the high cost of chicken feeds and has resulted in high production cost of frozen chicken. Implementing risk mitigation strategies such as diversification and insurance reduces some of these risks during this period. Also, revenue from Farmsponsor’s activities on other value chain investments has kept us on the safe side since the ban. We, however, believe that the narrative will soon change as the ban on maize importation on its own present Nigerian farmers’ opportunity to expand their maize cultivation with high hopes of profitability after harvest, and Farmsponsor is not left out in this space.

There has been a protest by some investors over their unpaid dividends by some agri-tech investment platforms. What is the situation like with investors on your platform?

Our case is different. Sponsors are always excited to refer family, friends, and colleagues to our platform. We have never missed a payout day obligation since inception in May 2018.

How can investors invest in any of your poultry farms?

To invest in any of our poultry farms, simply follow the following steps; visit farmsponsor.com.ng, register and update your profile, select from the farm list of open windows and follow the instructions through to sponsor a farm and you can also pre-invest (automatically sponsor a farm in the next window) by Vestbanking. Fund your vest bank wallet on your dashboard with the amount you want to sponsor by using the standing order ‘sponsor a farm’. For those interested in our private sponsorship offer; visit farmsponsor.com.ng/privatesponsorship, fill the form, and submit your confirmation request. You can also download the Private Sponsorship Pitch Deck for this page on your dashboard.

How can Nigeria bridge its supply and demand gap in local poultry production?

With the ban on the importation of processed chicken products and the distribution of grants and loans to poultry farmers, as well as the relief on the importation of agricultural machinery/raw materials, the government has reduced the supply and demand gap for local poultry production significantly. Poultry farmers and agro start-ups in this sector should synergize to take advantage of this opportunity.

How can the government deal with the rising cost of poultry feeds?

The government can tackle the problem of the rising cost of poultry feeds by subsidizing the cost of producing feeds in the area of electricity, storage, and inputs for the commercial feed producers.

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