How to be Innovative in Agribusiness

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Firstly I would like to make a bold assumption that the next batch of billionaires and millionaires will be people in agribusiness. Why? Well, the first reason is the world is expanding at a very fast rate, faster than what our food supplies can actually handle. Secondly, people are becoming more luxurious meaning they consume more fashion items and more food.

This opens up opportunity for agribusiness on a global scale. More specifically, Africa has alot to benefit in that equation and the youths must be in the lead.

So there is a youth looking at me saying “but I don’t want to get dirty”. Today I want to make a business case for agriculture and show the opportunities that lie within the value chain not as an exclusive guide but as a mindset shift.

What is Agribusiness? It is entrepreneurship in agriculture. Building an adaptable business from new ideas, new markets or new technologies.

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Innovation in the Poultry Business

Opportunities in the value chain of Agriculture are endless. I am a partner for a poultry-related startup run by youths called Passion Poultry as Innovation Manager. Naturally, I will be using my industry as a case for my opinion but I employ the youth reading this to looking into the vast expanse of Agriculture from horticulture to aquaculture to flowers to worms!

Everyone loves chicken. It is the most famous fast food item. KFC, Nandos, Chicken Inn are all super fans. Furthur more the FAO estimates that chicken will soon be the most popular meat. So let us talk about the value chain and how you can fit in.

To have chickens we first need a chicken house that is well equipped with all that chickens need such as drinkers, feeders, and environmental control systems. We also need feed, water, and medicine. In terms of human resources, we need a vet, some farmworkers, and some guys that deal with problems called consultants. So we raise the chickens in about 6 weeks and carefully recording everything. After doing everything right we have plump chickens. We slaughter the chickens, pluck them, prepare them then package them. Next, we look for a market. Someone buys them and gets a product out like restaurants, others use the chickens for dog feed, others can them, and so on.

So how could you fit into this value chain of poultry farming? There are actually lots of ways

So you could either work into this as a supplier of the material or maybe offering a unique solution that reduces mortality. Maybe you are a marketer. We need to sell those chickens! Perhaps you are a graphics designer and can make a brand for the farmers out there. Do you like playing with chemicals? Make new medicines, modify those that exist, and find cheaper options for farmers. Are you an engineer or a maker? We need better equipment, specialized equipment for every sector. You can make it better and cheaper and locally! Then there are the value addition services like packaging, canning, changing market that can turn a $5 chicken into an $11 product. Amazing!

I could go on but I am sure you get it. What’s more is that even if you are in the field, the supply is always there and agriculture is an exponential game, not an additions game. That means profits increase in multiples, not additions. If you have 4 goats this year next year you could have 12 goats without buying new ones!

The Passion Poultry Project

Let me give an example of exploiting the value chain using Passion Poultry. Passion Poultry was started by a youth called Evangelista Chekera. The aim of Passion Poultry is to aid small-scale farmers achieve efficiency and increase profits. Eva grew up raising chickens. After going through an agonizing process of slaughtering chickens one day, she decided to find a better way to slaughter chickens.

This was the birth of the slaughtering device at Passion Poultry that slaughters 4 chickens in 2 minutes with no broken wings or blood splatter! So many other farmers had the same problem and a business was formed. Soon farmers noted how their birds died and we came up with the brooding device that reduces chick mortality by 90% through providing the perfect conditions for chick development. Today we offer training and consultation within the field and have a Poultry Management System that does the heavy lifting for most farm operational processes. All started by youths without as much money as you may be thinking we have….yet!

So how can you start? Find your favorite Agriculture line, study the value chain from the first things to the last. Do some research about how things work, are supposed to work and see how best things can be done to help. Talk to farmers and see what they need and do just that. At this point a business is forming so make sure you starting reading up on the few basics of running a business successfully. Innovation Hubs such as the TechVillage would really help at this point.

Agriculture is the future of the world! Literally! Be a part of it and shape people’s lives.

Do you have an innovative idea or project you would love to share with us and the world? Get in touch with us and share your story!

Tofara Giwa

Tofara is an Engineer who has an interest in the technological development of Agriculture in Africa. He currently works at Passion Poultry as Strategy and Innovation Manager.

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