Galdera: My five years of experience (inclusive of NYSC stint) as a marketing person in a sector many refer to as “the golden egg” is fast getting less rewarding. With my obvious vibrancy and determination towards executing work objectives, many close to me are urging that I should quickly deploy these capabilities to another sector that will shortly experience a boom – Agriculture. Will this be a right move? - Daniel A.
Why shouldn’t goings-on in that sector be stifling, with the foot-dragging on the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), that is supposed to instil vibrancy to the sector? Judging by the ‘body language’ of this country’s leadership presently, and my persistent ‘gut feeling’, I can not help agreeing more with the suggestion for adequate deployment of your capabilities in the agriculture (agric) sector. Hopefully if all plans shape out well, the next round of boom in Nigeria will likely come from this area. Mark my words, going by your prowess as stated, positioning yourself for marketing in agriculture, presently, will be a ‘master stroke’.
President Goodluck Jonathan’s remarks that, “… the agric minister unfolded a new plan to revolutionise agriculture… Farming must be a business… in terms of job creation, there is no sector that will bring the employment agriculture will bring… From agriculture alone we are expecting at least three million people in terms of job creation…”, should not be taken with a wave of the hand. If significant positive changes in agriculture still remain elusive in Nigeria by the end of 2012, no blame should lie with Nigerians if this President’s administration is written off by the people, for non-performance.
I strongly agree with Dr Chuks Osuji, a columnist with a national newspaper and a public relations (PR) guru, whose essays I enjoy reading and someone who afforded me, while ‘a starter’ in PR, a chance of making input to a project in the early 1980s. Osuji suggested that all participants in the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme should henceforth be deployed to farms. As slight modification to this, I suggest the exemption of medical doctors and educationists/teachers from this arrangement.
These should be deployed ONLY to areas of their calling, going by the steady decline, and the need for urgent revamping of the health and education sectors. All other participants in the programme should be posted to an agriculture related project or enterprise, which must be replicated in all local government areas of the country. Who says this will not make for a significant boost to this country’s agriculture and food security?
Daniel, as only 33 percent of Nigeria’s land area is under cultivation, the country’s diverse climate (tropical areas of the coast to arid region of the north), diverse agro ecological environment to grow virtually all agric products, coupled with government’s sincere determination to live up to billing as promised, agriculture promises to be an area that will surely make you ‘smile to the bank’ in due course.
Henceforth, apart from deciphering the President’s ‘body language’, I am quite convinced that there is going to be a major shift in agriculture – From mainly subsistence farming to taking agriculture as a business, and made to work as such. So, position yourself appropriately.
After giving consideration to factors which may favour your involvement in this sector you now long for, also do some work in order to identify any area of preference for right steps into “Agriculture Marketing” – Cash crops (adibidez,. cocoa, palm oil &kernel, rubber, cotton, eta abar); food crops (adibidez,. cassava, rice, yam, groundnuts, sugar-cane, soya beans, maize, sorghum, millet and other cereal crops); citrus (adibidez,. orange, mango, apple, banana, eta abar); vegetables (adibidez,. tomato, carrot, cabbage, lettuce, pumpkin, eta abar); animal products such as beef, dairy, pork, poultry, eggs, and fisheries.
Whether produced for home consumption or for export, and without delving into what can be derived from these products which amounts to stating the very obvious, something stands very distinct for all – A ready market.
It will likely be an uphill task if you opt for working for any of the few manufacturers of food products around, as openings for your type in such outfits these days will likely be a “pipe dream”. Try to apply the resources I perceive you have right now to consider direct involvement in “Agriculture Marketing”.
Hitz batean, Agriculture can be said to connote activities aimed at the utilisation of natural resources for human welfare, while marketing in this regard implies series of those activities which occur while moving agric products from the point of production to that of consumption. See that you uphold these objectives of “Agriculture Marketing” system, for your benefits also – (a) To make for primary producers deriving best possible returns; (b) To facilitate evacuation of the farmers’ produce at favourable prices; (c) To make available farm products to consumers at reasonable prices, without impairing on quality.
Daniel, as an agric marketer, who says you can’t facilitate the links between the farmer(s) and non-farm sectors? Since we all know that most farmers do not want to go to the market to sell, but prefer to remain on their farms to produce; the government now tells us that the emphasis henceforth will be on creating structures around farmers to work as business, this is really the time you should step forward.
With your acclaimed vibrancy and determination, take a close look at the value chain in this process, to identify how you can position yourself and bridge gaps. You can fit in as an agent or middleman, facilitator, in any of these agric related activities: Provision of information about marketing conditions and ruling prices; planning and production, growing and harvesting, grading, packing, transport (adibidez,. to enable facilitation to distance markets); storage and even holding facilities (which affords farmers capabilities to sometimes await better pricing, as prices are often lower shortly after harvest); processing, distribution, promotion and selling.
Daniel, consider the above as guide to those right moves into the agriculture sector.
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