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Prior to the advent of crude oil, Nigeria’s economy was substantially driven by Agriculture with cash crops constituting a major revenue generator. Over time, agriculture took the backseat but with recent developments, FarmAgric with its launch of the new long term investment cycles is happy to announce Cashew and oil palm can provide Nigeria with another opportunity to maximise Agriculture.

Nigeria has been a leading producer and exporter of cashew and oil palm products, with the Country currently exporting over 1 million metric tonnes of oil palm and is the sixth largest producer of cashew products in the world.

Understanding the huge and growing importance, the Federal government of Nigeria in 2015 listed oil palm among the 42 foreign exchange excluded items which skyrocketed demand for local oil palm products and led to significant growth and profits for the local oil palm industry.

Cashew production in the Country has also been on the increase, with Nigeria producing 160,000 tonnes in 2015, which generated 152 million U.S. dollars (N57.6 billion) in revenue. In 2016, Nigeria exported 185,000 tonnes of cashew nuts and earned 259 million dollars (N93.2 billion).

The Nigerian government is putting policies in place and restarting projects on cashew and oil palm cultivation. This is to ensure that Nigeria becomes the highest producer of these cash crops given that cashew is being regarded as a luxury product. All these are pointers to the “Agricultural boom” Nigeria is about to experience and FarmAgric is making this opportunity accessible to all.

Oil-palm and cashew farming are long-term investments that lasts up to 30 years or more. With over 300,000 hectares currently used in the plantation of just cashew, there are over 500,000 hectares of unused land readily available for cultivation for both Oil palm and Cashew farms. Although, about 70% to 80% of cashew produced in Nigeria are exported and about the same percentage for oil palm are imported, there are only a handful of companies involved in processing these crops in Nigeria. Severally, there has been clamor for foreign investment and more attention to Agriculture with the massive opportunities existing in Cashew and oil palm cultivation.

Despite the lucrative nature of the oil palm and cashew plantations the industry has been faced with a few challenges especially as a result of the capital intensive nature of both crops.

This challenge continues to deter a number of rural farmers from exploring the cultivation of these cash crops and despite the profitable projections, lack of capital, land and labour remain big issues. The fact that both crops do not yield until the third or fourth year is also a deterrent.

Individuals and private entrepreneurs are becoming aware of the prospects of Cashew and Oil Palm. The earlier models of investment in agriculture by the Government agencies only accommodated large scale investors with little or no consideration for small scale farmers.

Due to the developing nature and challenges encountered during management of the crops, an average Nigerian who may be interested in investing in either crops are unable to do so. In order to bridge this gap, FarmAgric an Agritech social enterprise in Nigeria has created an opportunity for individuals with an average income to invest in Cashew and oil palm by creating a sharing model in which a group of individuals can own a Cashew plantation or an Oil Palm Plantation.

The model has been designed to accommodate every average income earner in Nigeria, also other options were created for individuals with a relatively lower income. For each plantation, a structure was designed to reduce the entire investment into slots and in the case of Cashew and Oil-Palm, Slots were sold per acre starting as low as N540,000 {$1400} with projected returns of as much as N15,000,000 {$42,000}

The innovative model created by FarmAgric gives room to every interested person to invest in agriculture in order to earn returns on investment while not breaking the bank. This model has made a vast majority of individuals to indirectly own farms, contribute to agriculture, while also earning returns. This model compared to the past models where only High Net-worth Individuals (HNIs) can invest is a step in the right direction and will promote agricultural and economic development in Nigeria and for Nigerians.

According to the CEO, Mr Ola Osunba Continental FarmAgric is a technology driven social enterprise that empowers farmers by providing required capital and other necessary inputs for them to grow and scale up their farms using funds raised from the investing public. In our two years of operations we have been able to raise over N200, 000,000 {$554,000} in investments from over 1500 subscribers to reach about 300 Farmers. We also grant insurance on all investments and have been able to form strategic alliances with organizations like FINT, Leadway Insurance, Piggybank amongst others. Asides the economic advantages of the cashew and oil palm plantation Continental FarmAgric through the Farmagric foundation is using this opportunity to advocate for climate friendly businesses and vices to address the urgent issues of climate degradation.

The call for private sector investment in the Agricultural sector in Nigeria and the growing need to harness the potentials Cashew and Palm Oil production offer especially to creating employment at rural areas is one that cannot be ignored.

The FarmAgric technology is very much important especially at this time of the polity. Research and statistics have shown us all that many persons in the rural areas depend on agriculture to meet their financial obligations. Providing a means of increasing their income will help reduce poverty and bridge the income inequality gap. Since premium is placed on the quality of oil palm materials sourced from the rural communities, we can encourage our own production of this products and export to the international community. To successfully achieve this, we need for more cost-effective approach to producing the Cashew and Palm-Oil.

The best approach is that offered by FarmAgric, a business which pays attention to inclusiveness and quality.

– Olaseinde Osunba

CEO Farmagric

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