If you work with smallholder farmers in Nigeria, and you do not read the Central Bank of Nigeria’s ABP publication, you may be missing critical insights on how to drive strategy. ABP is the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme of President Buhari through which the government finances largely small scale farmers. Simply, when you have farmers who still need food supplies from government to survive, you will agree with me that you cannot be a good agro-ecosystem entrepreneur without understanding the priorities of government.
Visit your local CBN office, and ask for a copy. As I have explained many times, if you read the inaugural speech of President Buhari, you would notice that agriculture was first on his agenda. Reading the ABP document will give you a window on how farmers and other ecosystem partners can be organized to tap into the opportunities which ABP offers at both state and federal levels..
Another example is the starting of Zenvus, a precision agriculture startup; I will explain in another post. The decision to start that company was finalized on May 28, 2015 because that was the day I read President Buhari’s draft inaugural speech. (I had arrived from U.S. to attend the Inaugural Ceremony). At the end, I made up my mind that agriculture would be huge, and quickly developed a plan to be in it, at the technology level.
We intend to attack the problem frontally through revival of agriculture, solid minerals mining as well as credits to small and medium size businesses to kick – start these enterprises. We shall quickly examine the best way to revive major industries and accelerate the revival and development of our railways, roads and general infrastructure
Always remember that any CBN publication on agriculture is always superior to whatever the Ministry of Agriculture has. Why? CBN has the money while in some cases the Ministry of Agriculture will need donor support, budgetary allocation (never fully implemented) or return to CBN. Of course, CBN can be a vehicle to execute a national agro-policy. Nonetheless, when CBN says it wants to get something done, on agriculture, be assured that cash is never a problem. That means it moves fast because it does not need to ask anyone to write a cheque. Simply, pay attention to CBN publication on agriculture as you drive strategy in your business if it involves working with small holder farmers who remain tethered to government subsidies to live.