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AgriTech is a portmanteau of “agriculture” and “technology”. To clearly define it, agricultural technology or agrotechnology is the use of technology in agriculture, horticulture, and aquaculture to improve yield, efficiency, and profitability. Agricultural technology can be products, services or applications derived from agriculture that improve various input/output processes. On the other hand, an AgriTech startup is all about using technology and technological innovations to improve agriculture output.
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In Nigeria, there are a dozen AgriTech companies. They are thriving. It is common to see them receive investors’ backing. The leading AgriTech companies are Farmcrowdy, Groupfarma, Farmsponsor, FarmKart, Thrive Agric, Ezfarming, Payfarmer, Piggyvest and so on so forth. In this article, I discuss how you can start your own AgriTech company and grow it to be a reputable company. 
  • Design Your Business Plan

A business plan is a formal written document containing the goals of a business, the methods for attaining those goals, and the time frame for the achievement of the goals. To build a successful AgriTech company you must know the solution you want to bring into the marketplace. You must answer questions such as;
  • Who are your ideal clients? 
  • What will you offer your clients? 
  • Is your service niche specific?  
  • How many clients do you want to serve within a specific period? 
  • How do you reach out to them? 
  • How much will it cost to get the startup running?
  • Identify Your Business Model 

Identifying your business model as an AgriTech startup is all about the type of clients you want to serve and what you want to serve them. Naturally, your ideal clients are farmers. However, there are various types of farmers. They include Dairy Farming, Commercial Farming, Plantation Farming, Commercial grain farming, Commercial mixed farming, Primitive subsistence farming, and Intensive subsistence. However, to make it easier to understand, some farmers engage in fruit and vegetables and food crop farming, poultry, animal husbandry, fishery, snail farming, etc. Now, having identified the type of farmers you want to serve, the next question is to ask yourself, how do you intend to serve them? Your startup could be a technology-driven advisory, agro investment company, appliance supplier, logistics, and so on. For instance, you could choose to help people invest in agricultural products such as maize, poultry, tomatoes, and rice. You can choose to have an investment cycle from 5 months to around 12 months depending on the product you want to invest in.
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  • Partner With Farmers

You can do this organically, that is by paying visits to farmers in their farmlands, poultry farms and other farmers’ clusters and settlements in the countryside where you can sell your ideas to them. You can as well, reach farmers through the agency of social media, cold calls and cold emails. Also, you can reach out through automated means, that is through specific social media campaigns targeted at farmers. It is advisable to partner with a great number of farmers so that it can boost your growth and as well attract funding. You can also partner with farmers’ unions. This will help you reach more farmers faster.
  • Create A Custom-made App Software 

Another step to consider when building your startup is to develop custom-built app software. You can reach out to an app developer and tell them what you need. Your app must be specifically built to meet the needs of the company, its clients and stakeholders. Hence, it must be integrated with Artificial Intelligence and IoT. Your app could help farmers with livestock monitoring such that with the assistance of your wireless IoT applications, farmers can collect data regarding the health and location of their cattle, which will help them identify sick animals, thus preventing the spread of disease.  Furthermore, your app should be able to execute plant & soil monitoring in precision farming. Monitoring plant and soil conditions can lead to greater ROIs for farmers. IoT solutions for precision farming are mostly used for reporting weather conditions, sensing soil nutrients and controlling water usage for optimal plant growth. Also, integrated software for smart sensors can help determine custom fertilizer profiles based on soil chemistry and define the optimal time to plant and harvest.  Aside from building an IoT software, there is a need to integrate an investment monitoring dashboard where investors can monitor their investments. On this note, your app should have a platform for investors to fund a farm on the go. Wherever your investors are, whenever they choose, your mobile app should enable them to empower farmers at their convenience and as well monitor their investments.
  • Build Your Website

Your startup’s website should be a tell-all platform where farmers, investors and visitors know what you are out for. The ideal website should bear the vision and mission of your startup, your mode of operation, number of farmers and organisational partnerships, contact information, investor’s portal and so on. It is advisable to look to other AgriTech companies’ websites and see what they are doing. 
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Also, an ideal colour for your website should be a lemon, green, orange, white, and another colour of vegetables.
  • Reach Out To Investors

Reaching out to investors is all about securing loans and grants. You can reach out to venture capitalists through cold emailing, or you could open the investment to the public, but ensure that you’re registered under the Corporation Affairs Commission (CAC) and that you are licensed by the  Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to be seen as genuine and legitimate. Reaching out to investors could be securing a venture capitalist backing, or securing loans and grants from public and private sectors. For example, there are various grant-giving platforms like the Tony Elumelu Foundation, Bank Of Industry, Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme Fund (ACGSF) by the Central Bank of Nigeria, etc.
  • Get Insured

Running an AgriTech company comes with a lot of risks such as drought, pest invasion, flooding, erosion, inferno, plant and animal disease infection, etc. These risks are money consuming, thus, it is wiser to get insured. Getting insured get you covered and it will help you pay investors their ROI, as well as continue business operations without hitches. Various insurance companies are out there such as Leadway Assurance Company, AIICO Insurance Plc., Cornerstone Insurance and so on. Getting your startup insured is the greatest of the steps discussed. 
  • Execute Your Social Media Marketing Strategies

Social media is a veritable channel for promoting your company. The first form of marketing is content marketing, which is a type of marketing that involves the creation and sharing of online material (such as videos, blogs, and social media posts) that does not explicitly promote a brand but is aimed at stimulating interest in its products or services. Secondly, you can run paid ads on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram, which can link visitors to your website, mobile contact or email list, where they can receive I’ve newsletters and the latest investment windows and opportunities. Featured Image Source: Medium
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This article was first published on 25th April 2022


Nnaemeka is an academic scholar with a degree in History and International Studies from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He is also a creative writer, content creator, storyteller, and social analyst.

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