Sotonye Anga, managing director, Universal Quest Nigeria has over 20 years experience, exporting agricultural commodities including farming and agro- processing. He started business in 1994 as a youth, fresh out of school with just an idea, a passion and youthful energy.
Anga, who is also the Coordinator, Agribusiness and Youth Empowerment Community for Agricultural Stakeholders of Nigeria speaks on simple low capital agribusinesses youths can start and how to grow a business from idea stage to becoming a millionaire.
Anga says to youths, “Ideas rule the world, even if you have no money, identify at least one idea, take ownership of it, be passionate about it to such a level and point that you are able to run with it. For instance, if you have the idea of selling ginger, find out where you can source it in commercial quantities, find out the purchasing price, those that will buy them from you and at what price and see if there is a positive margin.”
Citing an example, he explains, “If for instance, people are willing to buy a ton of ginger at N100, 000, and you can source it at N60, 000, if logistics and other costs is about N20, 000, you have a profit of N20,000. With this knowledge you can walk up to an uncle or aunt or anyone who is interested in your progress and tell them you need a loan. You have to be very serious about it. You can even offer to give them 10 percent of the profit. Even if they tell you they are giving you the money as a gift, you should treat that capital as a business loan and therefore be careful in handling it. So many uncles and aunts do have such money to commit to the businesses of youths but they must be convinced that you are serious, that you have thought through on the idea, that you have a plan, and that you are ready to push and drive it with hard work. If you are patiently consistent in spite of hardship, you will soon have a track record of performance and investors will be the ones courting you to invest in your business especially when you always repay loans.”
Sharing his own story, he says, “In 1994, I needed some money to go into export business, I went to one bank after the other and each one turned me down. With each refusal, I and my partner would fine-tune the business plan. Equity Bank, which was the 10th bank we went to agreed and we got N5 million financing. Before then I had identified a market, discovered a source in Kaduna, and sent over 100 letters abroad before I got a buyer. One prospective buyer replied and asked for samples of the ginger. We sent the samples after which we got the contract. But we had no money and it took about five months to get the financing from a bank.”
Speaking further, he says, “In 1996, another bank gave us N60 million financing for cashew export. So, you have to sit down and work out a strategy, without the right strategy and blueprint, and the fire burning in you to succeed, you cannot succeed. If you believe in it, it will show in your plans and actions and people will eventually commit their money into it.”
According to Anga, agric entrepreneurs or agro-entrepreneurs tagged ‘agripreneurs’ are people engaged in one or more aspects of agriculture as a business and not as just a way of life. “The Agricultural Value Chain is fully loaded with lots of agribusiness opportunities from the farm to table. We have seeds, pesticides and herbicides producers, fabricators, repairers or suppliers of mechanised implements for land clearing, planting, harvesting, processing etc, and also food processors, packages producers, marketers and so on,” he says.
Anga highlights businesses for youths, saying, “Even with as low as N50,000, youths can start some agro-based businesses and grow from there. These include the following:
“Peppered barbequed boli” (roast plantain)
Get women that are already experienced in roasting plantain. Keep them at neat strategic places within auniversity campus with their boli stands (grill). They must be neatly and uniquely dressed with a beautiful banner behind each stand (Your business name written on the banner). With five or more stands you have already created a franchise.
You can order for pickup loads of raw plantain from places such as Oyo, Ogun, Ondo and Edo States. Supply your network of roasters. Give advisory services to the women on hygiene, customer services and so on. This way you offer people a healthy snack that will improve their health. With time, you can start exploring the possibility of farming plantains solely or in partnership with others. The advantage is that you already have a market before going into farming.
The idea is to sell just one banana stalk for N10 only. You can use bicycles to deliver bananas. As students go for lectures they can just pay N10 for a stalk of banana and eat healthy. The agric entrepreneur in this case will be known as “One Finger”. Some can buy more than one finger. In this case, there is also opportunity for backward integration.
“Quick garri snack”
All you need is nylon and sealer. Buy clean gari from processors, buy sugar and groundnut in bulk; pack the three into a nylon and seal with a label of your business name and contact details. Make it a cheap, ready to eat meal. You may decide to go into cassava farming later or just buy cassava and process yourself.
All these are simple initiatives that students can start and build while still in school and then develop into large scale farming or processing after graduation.
- BoI Partners Grow Africa On $60m Venture Capital Fund For SMEs
- How To Accomplish Your Financial Goals