One fateful morning, I had woken up to read a piece online, by a brother –Sodeeq Oyewale whom himself and his farming team had just recorded an Agro loss from a bad sales outing the previous day, in the hands of local buyers, who took advantage of them unjustly for extreme sales-profit pursuit.
Sodeeq narrated his experience here and shared what he learned.
In his words, Sodeek said, “This is an experience we had, selling maize of some hectares to village market women (Alájàpá) at my I. T place at Ife.
The sales started as early as 9am with the women harvesting the maize, which is their usual style. The first problem arises when the women were harvesting and stealing /hiding the maize. After the harvesting of the maize, each of them stand by theirs, and the staff in charge started counting, so as to give them their due prices.
During the process of counting, 3 maize worth of N50 each either for roasting or boiling, was counted as 1 and 5, where one that worth N30 were counted as number 1 and so on. Still they complain that the man is cheating them”.
“Mind you these 3/5 as the case may be counted as 1, were sold to them at the rate of N10. At this stage, I was I like as an Agroprenuer, is this how I will be selling poorly too?
At the end of the sale around 3:30pm, we were only able to make just N30,000 plus. If the farm were to be a private farm, gross loss will be recorded by the farmer, if the cost of production like land clearing, weed control, pest and insect control etc are to be calculated because I know the numbers and amount of good herbicides and pesticides bought during the production process”.
On getting home I went to Iya-luku (my grandma), who was once an “Alájàpá” to explain the analysis of the sale of those maize and to give an hindsight into possible profits for those women”.
“She said they will make x3 (3times) of their capital as profit. She continued by saying what they did is called “dé won mólè” that is “take advantage of them”, and she explained further that, because they know we are tush/ educated farmers, that’s why they took more advantage of us”.
“At that time, I shook my head. She now explained to me that we should have counted it 50/30/20 as the case may be according to size and we will give them the price, they will price it and if we are satisfied we will accept and vice versa, they won’t have choice than to buy it cos they won’t want to go home empty handed.
At a time, I asked her that what if I buy the maize at the farm and bring them down to the market sell to them?
She laughed and said that will be the worst, because they will price it anyhow and I won’t have choice cos I can’t return it to the farm”
Sodeeq gave this advice to other Agroprenuer like himself. Which are as follow;
-Have a ready buyer for your produce (Final consumer if possible).
-Do market survey of your produce.
-Consult elders or Experts – someone that has a farm or he or she is into production or sale of that produce before producing and marketing your produce.
Well, with more than two decades experience as a farm boy, I think I can say better on agro sales, particularly local farm Commodities.
Maize is one of the most unprofitable crop around here if you not smart, especially if you sell fresh..
A big farm of an acre of six plots of full maize, might not fetch you more than 50k, Yet, cost of clearing, weeding, manual planting and putting herbicide might be very close to that in just 3months.
Maize buyers are gross cheaters, unlike cassava. If they leave and you invite some other set of buyers, they are also after extreme profits, even more than the primary producers (the farner).
In business class, this is problem of middle men in value chain..
The producer complains of no profit, and the consumer is equally groaning in discomfort of expensiveness, then you ask, who makes the profit along the line then?
Obviously, the middle men…
An innovative farmer or manufacturer must be smart now and look for ways, by which things can sell better, otherwise you will loose interest in production.
Any product that doesn’t have a uniform price like bread, pure water, is bound to experience abuse from profiteers.
A better way to make huge profit from maize is to harvest maize when it is dry, remove them from the husk (eshuku)..
But it’s a bit stressful but rewarding..
If you invite these same women that you need them to help you crush maize for N1000 a day, they will come in numbers.
In two days they are done and you can keep your maize till anytime you want, and sun-dry once in three weeks .
As at our last family farm sales in 2017, a kongo of maize was pegged at N200, and a plot of land maize can give you more than 100 kongos.. That’s 20k..
So conveniently you can make decent income of N120,000 in 3months on your 6 plots maize farm with a capital and investment of less than N30,000.
Be wise, don’t just be an Agropreneur, but be an agribusiness person with practical knowledge, think of how your foods or produce can be preserved, to stop you begging buyers under the fear of spoilage.