Agricoolture: Knowing and Practicing Entrepreneurship and Agribusiness Fundamentals
It was a dark cloudy day of 17th July when a farmer will obviously rejoice seeing the rain coming. The case is entirely different for young agriprenuers who are prepared to attend a training in advancing their knowledge.
Following the slogan of under the sun or in the rain, I finally made it to the Entrepreneurship and Agribusiness Development Bootcamp organized by AfricaLead under the strong pillar of Feed The Future program and USAID and in partnership with some foremost youth network — Fresh and Young Brains Development Initiative, Pan African Youth Network for Agriculture (PAYNA), LEAPAfrica and African Harvester.
A quick navigation into the necessity and the birth of the approach developed by African Lead to end hunger, reduce poverty and create job opportunities. Africa Lead II, a five-year program, is aimed at building on the success of the predecessor capacity building program (Africa Lead) and is continuing to provide targeted assistance to support and advance the African-led agricultural transformation as proposed by the African Union Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP).
Africa Lead is serving as USAID’s primary capacity building program in sub Saharan Africa by working to help realize Feed the Future (FTF) goals of reduced hunger and poverty by building the capacity of African agriculture professionals, institutions and stakeholders to develop, lead and manage the structures needed for the transformation process.
The goal of the Africa Lead’s Entrepreneurship and Agribusiness Development Short Course centered around developing the capacity of youth entrepreneurs in agribusiness identification, planning and management to strengthen startups and expand existing enterprises.
Day 1: Interestingly Reeling into the Big Game
Eliminating the mentality of African-time, facilitators were all set and so, the young people who are eager to learn. It is often said in African adage that once we get to work, we work and effectively because time wait for no man.
Having familiarize ourselves with the interesting and well-articulated facilitators led by one of the foremost John Maxwell Leadership Expert and a Certified Coach — Lillian Adegbola, the amazing participants introduced themselves. The training hall was indeed full of professionals who are CEOs, Co-founders, Agribusiness starters, Value Chain Catalyst, Business Developers, Agricultural Consultants, Agrodealers and experts in ICT for Agriculture.
At a glance, the excitement of individuals in the hall is beyond the 5 days training to a lasting networking opportunities to birth new agribusiness ideas and get more young people involve in agriculture to secure the future of Africa agriculture.
Setting the norms and following the instructions of Coach Lillian, pre-survey assessment of individual training needs were carried out and expectations written on a stick note and pasted on the wall. Now, the ball was set in action with slideshows on traditional farming, modern agricultural transformation and a video on Agribusiness for Africa’s Prosperity by Dr. Kandeh K. Yumkella, UNIDO Director-General.
The first session of the day focus on principles and practices of entrepreneurship — facilitated by Mrs. Cecillian of African Lead. This session uses practical explanation, participatory approach and case studies to aid the facilitation. On-field experience sharing, questions and observations were welcomed from participants to enrich the session
Maintaining the momentum after the lunch break, the first session was recapped as baseline to session two — Challenges and business opportunities in selected value chain. Coach Lillian in her dynamic ways of ensuring deeper understanding of the value chain and leaving no one behind, a role play was used for cassava value chain with Garri as the end-product.
The role play had nine individuals as representatives of a specific chain from production chain to the end-market. Group work and individual activities were given and presentations were made to the plenary to strengthen understanding.
The third and the last session for day 1 focus on developing a business plan and business canvas model. The two facilitators for third session practically explained the whole concept of a business plans using five (5) agribusiness start-ups among the participants as case studies. The business model canvas was virtually explicated and individuals was assigned a task to develop a business ideas and business model canvas using the template provided.
Some highlighted common interest of young agriprenuers at the training is the desire to learn, network and be a change maker in feeding the growing population and ensuring a food secure Africa. Having establish a common interest and the right attitude to learning and ultimately, owing to the wealth of knowledge and sense of humor of our facilitators, the remaining days look promising to making the business of agriculture an agricoolture.