Agriculture has now undergone a major revolution that has seen to the utilization of innovative technology to increase output, sustainability and global food security.
The acceleration of technology and innovation has engendered awareness of agriculture and its significance.
This, in turn, has precipitated the growth of agribusiness globally.
Since independence, Nigeria and African countries at large have gradually morphed from being a self-sufficient agricultural country to a big wig importer.
Since the 1970s, the agricultural sector has become displaced as a significant contributing sector in Nigeria especially with the oil boom that redirected attention to the oil sector.
Consequently, agriculture’s contributions to Nigeria has dropped to about 34% and simultaneously, the rate of unemployment as well.
Since 1975, Nigeria has become a significant importer of essential food items including rice, fish, and sugar.
The fact remains that the agricultural sector has been incapacitated by gross underutilization and low production output because of the shift in focus from the industry.
However, irrespective of these hindrances, strategic planning is the key to creating agricultural opportunities that will place Nigeria in the map of the world as a leading food-producing nation.
Agriculture has the potential to raise economic growth and adjust the balance of standard living through employment and poverty reduction, however, this can only be achieved by management policies and strategies geared at helping the sector to fit into the business and marketing world through agribusiness.
The concept of agribusiness has been credited to Ray A. Goldberg and John H. Davis and has been taken to mean all activities involved in the production, manufacturing, storage, and distribution of farm produce.
Essentially, agribusiness has stimulated the establishment of an integrated system of interdependence and mutual benefit based on a value-added food chain system.
There are three significant sectors tied to the interdependent agribusiness sector which include the agricultural industry, the production sector, and the processing and manufacturing sector.
There are other relevant subsectors attached to these interdependent sectors, among which are the genetic and seedstock farms, merchandisers, processors, retailers and finally the consumers.
However, while the awareness for agribusiness has boomed considerably in Nigeria, the expectation and reality of agribusiness often beat the imagination of many involved sectors especially the investors.
Investing in agribusiness does not necessarily require prior knowledge about agriculture, however, if you plan on harnessing the opportunities in both agriculture and business, then adequate knowledge is needed.
One of the challenges for starters in agribusiness is knowing how to merge the practical and business side.
For neophytes, the return on investment is one of the challenging factors, although the agrivalue chain is diverse, employing the right techniques to yield adequate profit equal to investment has proved taxing.
One of the many notions of people is that agribusiness is a mining field, hence once they invest in the sector, they expect profits to roll in momentarily.
Agribusiness like any other start-up requires monetary investment and time as well.
The reality is that more government policies and individual knowledge is necessary to succeed in the agribusiness sector.
Because of the copious risks involved in individual agribusiness start-ups, investment companies have created opportunities for people to harness the opportunities in agribusiness while minimalizing the risks through agribusiness investment which requires only capital investment, leaving the aspects of large-scale farming to experts in the field.
These market-oriented investment companies are pivotal to creating an environment for agribusiness to thrive.
While such large-scale farming and investment companies are gradually increasing, in reality, agriculture is still primarily dominated by low scale farming in several parts of Nigeria where traditional methods of farming prevail.
Significantly, the growth of agribusiness, like any other sector is tied to a country’s level of development.
Nigeria is a developing country, hence the adaptation of agribusiness is progressing at a slower pace as subsistence farming still dominates the scene.
The outcome of this is fewer market-oriented farms and low productivity.
This thus has a toll on the income gap and cost of production as well as capital flight.
Low productivity and fewer market-oriented farms have made Nigeria a dumping ground for numerous substandard agricultural products in the bid to satisfy the rising demand for food production.
While government policies and agencies have sprung us to increase food productivity, circulation, and simultaneously economic development, the success of agribusiness in Nigeria is also reliant on individual investments.
Since there are various investments platforms available in Nigeria where all that is required is a percentage or unit investment in agriculture in exchange for a fixed amount of Return on Investment for a period of time, individual participation has also been enabled.
Just like the newly introduced Sukuk funds, this initiative would accelerate the spread of market-oriented farms, large-scale agricultural production, food circulation and economic development at large.
Summarily, while agribusiness in Nigeria has proved to be a beneficial sector with huge potentials, the challenges attached to it has to be surmounted before its rippling effects can begin to gain grounds.