The Southwest Agri-Business Summit: A Chat With ‘The Oyo State Manager of @BOINigeria
I saw the flyer of the 2018 South West Agribusiness Value Chain Summit & Expo and being an inquisitive dude, I really wanted to know what the summit had to offer. Moreover, Agriculture is receiving a lot of attention lately. I reached out to the Oyo State Manager of Bank of Industry of Nigeria and his humility was a thing of intense emulation. Long story short, I met him alongside the Ibadan Insider team to chat about the Summit and everything around it. Find the very very enlightening chat below:
Can You Please Tell Us About You?
My name is Pacqueens Irabor, I am the State Manager of Bank of Industry, Oyo State Office. I am a Lovepreneur
Interesting. Please Tell Us About the Lovepreneur thing;
Oh, I derived that from a concept I am developing and I have been propagating now for some years. It is called Lovepreneurship. It is different from entrepreneurship because it is a step further. A lovepreneur is deeper than an entrepreneur. An entrepreneur is someone that has found a venture that can improve the standard of living of his community. The lovepreneur goes a step further; the venture must resonate with his nature. Now it is not just about doing any business. Here, you are doing business that adds value to your neighbor and neighborhood but it also resonates with your person. So, you are doing it for love (you love it), and you are doing it for humanity. So, that is the major difference between the two of them; because if you look at people that have transformed the world, they are people that are actually doing what they love. As a lovepreneur, we live life from one channel which could be expressed in two ways: Passion or Compassion. Passion is what excites the love within you while compassion is what that grieves the love within you. Whenever you find something that makes your heart beat faster or makes your blood hot, then, you have hit a goldmine. You’ll literally be working and living in heaven on earth. That is the life of a lovepreneur that is not stressed. When you can nurture and structure that venture that resonates with your nature, your adventure will be filled with pleasures; your future becomes sure and full of treasures without measure.
Living the life of a lovepreneur has made me to found an NGO called NAME Foundation.
So, tell us a bit about NAME Foundation.
NAME Foundation is a registered non-political, not-for-profit NGO with the aim to promote legacy projects. Our message is lovepreneurship. Our mission is to build the broken walls of our society, community by community, through the sacrifices and efforts of individuals (lovepreneurs) taking on legacy projects or noble ventures that blesses humanity, fulfills their personality and glorifies divinity.
To drive our mission we have launched an initiative called projectname.ng, an online platform to promote legacy or charity projects through crowdfunding as well as promote the names of individuals or corporate bodies behind such projects. So I can say projectname.ng is first of its kind in Nigeria, it is both a crowdfunding site and a CSR promotion site.
I can see projectname.ng is one of the sponsors of South West Agribusiness Value Chain Summit and Expo I will love to know about how the platform works later.
Briefly tell us about the Agribusiness Summit?
The South West Agribusiness Value Chain Summit & Expo is about solving what I believe is the major problem of the agriculture value chain- access to Market. To be honest the agriculture value chain as it currently operates in Nigeria is quite dysfunctional. I say it is dysfunctional because it does not seem to distribute rewards commensurate to the risk taken by the various chain actors as you will expect of every economic value chain. In every ecosystem reward always correspond to the amount of risk taken. However, in the Agricultural space, the reverse is the case. The farmers who do all the work and who have the highest risks get the least reward. That is very dysfunctional. What we intend to do with the summit is to bring under one platform the big agricultural produce off takers i.e. the large industrial users, who have existing out grower schemes and incentives for smallholder farmers. Some of them have their own farms; but it is impossible for them to keep their factories running all year round with supplies from their own farms. So, these big off takers usually have schemes where they allow smallholder farmers to grow different produce according to their own requirements and specifications and they buy off these produce at an agreed price at the end of the seasons. At the summit, these big off takers will be presenting their various out grower schemes and arrangements before the participants who will have to decide and enlist under the off takers they will choose to work with.
The benefit for the smallholder farmers is that they will have access to a guaranteed market. So, they do not need to put in all their farming efforts and labor blindly going forward. They will also have access to training from the off takers who definitely have some trade secrets under their belts.
On the other hand, the off takers get guaranteed source of consistent supplies. It saves them the stress of buying more land and employing more labor. Bank of Industry (BOI) and NIRSAL is also going to step in by ensuring the farmers get loans to finance their operations. Before now, it is the off takers that will give all the inputs to these farmers as a loan so that by the time they are taking up the produce, they would subtract all the cost and give the farmers the balance. The disadvantage of this kind of arrangement, however, is that the farmer is at the receiving end because he is almost like a beggar in the transaction. When BOI comes into the picture to advance loans where necessary, the farmers’ capacity to negotiate improve significantly as he is bringing much more to the negotiation table.
So, could you please tell us a little more about this event? For how many days will it run and how many sessions should we expect?
The event will be a two-day event because of the number of off-takers that will be in attendance. We already have ten (10) off takers that have confirmed their participation and each of their presentations will take about 30 minutes.
Apart from the off takers, we will also have other stakeholders in the agribusiness value chain to showcase their various programmes and schemes for the participants. NIRSAL, IITA, The Ministries of Agriculture across the five South West States will be all represented, as well as the Ministry for Youth and Sport. The Hon. Commissioner of the Ministry of Youth and Sports, Oyo State, Hon. Abayomi Oke is actually co-organising this event with us and he is the one that is bringing in all other Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) across the South West States.
Registration will start each day by 8.00 am. From 9.30am – 12.00 am the MDAs will be showcasing their various programmes and incentives for the agribusiness value chain. From 1-4.00pm, the off takers will have their presentations, followed by Q& A session for each, thereafter the participants will be able to network and register for the out grower schemes of their interest. It is going to be very interactive and intensive because we are covering different value chains like Poultry, Fish farming, Maize, Soya Bean, Vegetables, Shea Butter, Palm Kernel Oil and Cassava etc.
When we talk about value chain we want people to understand that the chain is as strong as its weakest link and when you have an arrangement where one of the main actors is at the receiving end it weakens the chain hence it will not be sustainable. So, it is in the interest of every chain actor to partner and help the other chain actor. If you give your best out to people, you will get the best in return.
There are three major objectives we hope to achieve with the 2018 South West Agribusiness Value Chain Summit and Expo
- To connect ready smallholder farmers and youth agripreneurs with established markets created by major aggregators, agro-allied processors and large scale industrial users.
- To connect agribusiness value chain actors to available and affordable development financing solutions.
- To expose potential investors to viable investment opportunities within the agribusiness value chain either as input suppliers or common facility providers.
I am actually more interested in the results that the Summit will generate. Our hope and desire is to help to midwife a number of mutually beneficial off taker-out growers partnerships which we can help to further nurture to fruition otherwise the effort of putting the summit together would have failed.
The capacity of the main hall we are using at Nustreams Conference and Culture Centre, Km 110, Abeokuta Express Road, Alalubosa GRA Extension, Ibadan can conveniently seat about 1500 persons and even more. Nustreams have movable exhibition booths where participants will be expected to register under various out grower schemes with different off takers. I must not fail to mention that the owner of Nustreams Conference and Culture Centre, Mr. Francis Madojemu is also very passionate about this Summit and his company, besides giving us huge discounts for the use of the entire event premises, the company is also providing the much-needed project management services to ensure the successful hosting of the Summit. They have good track records in hosting Summit and Expo like this so we can confidently assure all participants that even though we are expecting a massive attendance, as over 2200 participants have already registered as we speak, that the event will be very well managed and impactful.
What are the Follow-up plans like?
The follow-up plans will start right inside the event. The smallholder farmers or youths will be expected to sign up to the schemes of the off takers of their choice (of course based on clear incentives, price agreement and all of that). Then the various Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government including BOI and NIRSAL will work with each company and their proposed out growers to bring the scheme to fruition.
Lest I forget, what is the cost for Participation at the 2 Day Summit and Expo?
Interestingly, the Summit and Expo is free to all participants including the off takers. We only requested participants to pre-register and to bear their cost of transportation, accommodation and Nutrition during the event. The project is primarily sponsored through the donations and goodwill of the major promoters, Bank of Industry Limited, Ministry of Youth and Sports, Dawn Commission, NIRSAL, NAME Foundation, Nustreams Conference and Culture Centre, foodhub.ng as well as the donations of some of the major off takers.
Thank you very much Sir for putting this together. With what I have heard so far the Agribusiness Value Chain Summit and Expo has the potentials to spark a revolution in the agricultural value chain in Nigeria. We can only hope that the participants maximize the opportunity created.
Now tell us more about NAME Foundation and projectname.ng
Like I said earlier NAME Foundation’s mission is to promote legacy projects as well as promote the individuals and organizations that undertake such projects. We believe that the most important thing everyone should go after in life is a good name. To get this good name, however, you have to embark on a noble cause for mankind. To us, the full meaning of the word NAME is N for Noble, A for Adventure, M for Mankind and E for Empowerment. This means if you want to get a good name, you have to embark on a noble adventure for mankind empowerment.
So projectname.ng is a very good platform that can be leveraged by lovepreneurs and corporate organizations to bring their noble and charitable projects to life. To bring to life any venture, therefore, like the 2018 South West Agribusiness Value Chain Summit & Expo or a sporting event that will help children to discover their talents early in life, you can simply create them on the site because they are noble venture.
The website will promote the projects along with others across various social media platforms and people will fund it. As they fund their names are recorded and published on the website. We want people to see that whatever they do for the good of humanity is an investment, hence we call those who fund projects on projectname.ng as ‘Investors’. Once the funding goal for the project is achieved, the money is transferred to the account of the person who wants to carry out the project and NAME Foundation ensures that s/he uses the money for the project. After the implementation of the project, the promoters are mandated to return to the site and upload success pictures as evidence. This is to promote credibility and accountability.
So, are there any criteria to get funding on The Project NAME Website?
Yes, the major criterion is that it has to impact lives. The Foundation is not interested in projects that are primarily about the promoters or for their benefits. If you approach NAME Foundation that you need money to finance your business depending on the scope they could link you up to development financial institutions like my Bank, BOI or any other. However, if you approach the foundation with a project to train entrepreneurs on how to manage their businesses, we will recommend same to the public for funding after verifying your capacity to execute the project. So, the more the reach of your project or initiative in terms of impact, the greater the chances that it will be funded.
Does NAME Foundation provide funding internally apart from the external funding provided by investors?
Yes, the majority of the projects on the projectname.ng website were funded by NAME Foundation which has continued to build the credibility of the platform. The foundation intends to take this even further in the immediate future to handle direct project monitoring and supervision as well as increasing the budget for the publicity of projects created on the platform.
Thanks so much for all the exposition. Lastly, what do you think about businesses in Ibadan, Running a business in Ibadan, and the business culture in general?
I can’t deny the fact that people are not as aggressive in business here compare to Lagos for example. Businesses close early in Ibadan and they open very late too. But there is always an opportunity in every challenge. No doubt Ibadan has the market, market is people. We have over 3 million people in Ibadan and they all have daily needs. If people think that the standard here is low, that means if you give them a higher standard, they will rush for it.