Buying and selling of agricultural produce is an age long business which can be traced back to the very existence of Nigeria, most people who did this business were very successful, over time, the business which has made a very good record for itself especially if done with wisdom.
If you love agriculture businesses but are struggling to start a farm due to financial constraints or any other challenges farmers encounter, buying and selling agriculture produce is an interesting area to look into.
With the current drive by the Federal Government to diversify the economy and shift its major source of revenue away from oil, there has been a rapidly increasing interest by the government in Agriculture, this has led to the creation of several incentives to boost investment in agriculture at all levels.
The good thing about this business, and what I love most about it, is that anybody can do it. It does not matter whether you are unemployed, employed, side hustler, rich or poor, school leaver, Corps member, anybody can do this.
You don’t need any special skills or a large piece of land or a huge bank account. I will walk you through how to start a profitable business buying and selling agriculture produce with as little amount of money as you can muster.
Decide what to sell
Let me start by saying that you can sell anything and on any scale, be it as a retailer, wholesaler or distributor. It shouldn’t sound like there are items you cannot sell. The decision becomes necessary because there are other factors to consider while choosing what agriculture produce to buy/sell.
While deciding what to sell, you need to come up with a plan the sustainability of your business.
Your plan should take into consideration how much capital you have to start the business. The amount of money you have will go a long way to decide what you should buy and how/where you sell it.
You can start with as little as N100,000; you can even start with less than that. The amount of money you have will determine what ROI you can expect at the end of the day.
Your plan should also take a hard look at yourself and determine the amount of time you can commit to the business, and which model of this business you are most suited for.
If you have a full-time job, for example, you won’t have the time to tour the market looking for who to buy your baskets of fresh pepper, does it? But it makes a lot of sense to buy melon seeds (Egusi) at one time of the year and sell them during the off-season. You see where I’m going with this?
Ways you can approach agro-commodity trade:
1. Buy/sell small quantities
You can buy the produce you want from the farmers and sell to the market in another state. This does not require much capital because there is little logistics/transport concerns. Everything is done within the geo-political zone so your cost is minimal.
If you establish a trust relationship with the farmers, some of them could even let you sell their produce first and return the money, so you don’t need to pay first.
2. Medium/Large scale
Another way you can approach agro-commodity trade is to buy produce from one state of the country and sell in another geo-political zone .
Here’s an example: you can buy tubers of yam from Benue state where they have yams in abundance, and sell in Lagos state where yams are usually scarce. On your way back, you can buy whatever Lagos state has in abundance and sell in Benue state.
You can even buy from one African country and sell in another. I know people who would buy dried fish from Mali and sell in Nigeria. This model has the most ROI but it also carries the most risk because one road accident could wipe off your entire capital, especially if you have no insurance.
You will need a lot of time on your hands for this and you should be prepared to travel much. This is not the business you start with N50k; only the transport costs could take more than the N50k you have.
You need a larger capital base to start the business. One thing you shouldn’t worry about is profit; all things being equal, you should make a very decent ROI on your investment.
3. Store now/sell later
Another way you can approach agro-commodity trade is to buy a particular produce during its peak season when the price is cheap, store the produce, and sell months later during its off season.
Some of the items you can store like this are palm oil, melon seeds (egusi), ogbono, Guinea Corn, dried pepper, etc.
You will need to know when the produce you are interested in is in season. When in season, such produce would be significantly cheaper. So you buy it when it is cheaper and sell when the price increases.
This model of business is best suited for employees or business people who need to invest their money somewhere else instead of keeping them in the bank. It takes a lot of time between buying and selling, you will need to be patient.
If you are buying large quantities of produce, be sure to get a goods-in-transit insurance. Accidents could happen at any time, you don’t want to be on the losing side of it.