It is funny how the agricultural sector is that place where you can find some of the richest people, and also find some of the poorest people. The difference is not in the farming skill, but in the business skill, the structure and the people. As a business, Green Gold Africa is an agritech organisation focused on driving trade and investments into the agricultural sector to boost profitability for small and medium-scale players.
CEO of Green Gold Africa, Gideon Isaac Omoyibo, explained on the Nairametrics Business Half Hour that a lot of people go to learn different farming skills while ignoring the business part of it. “We help small holder farmers, agri-businesses and grassroot communities by focusing on the components and business structure that will make the organisation succeed and run properly”.
As a technology-driven agricultural platform, Green Gold Africa has a vision to eradicate food insecurity in Africa, and a large part of this vision will come from investing in commercially viable enterprises with strong growth potentials.
Omoyibo recounted that he decided to venture into this space after giving out loans to market women and cluster groups in the agricultural sector for over a decade and observing that people rarely used the loans for the designated purpose. After working some months, he ventured out on his own offering small loans to farmers and market women to boost their businesses.
“The vision is to eradicate food poverty but I noticed that when some of these people take loans and use it for other purposes that are totally unrelated to the vision. That prompted me to start thinking about ways we could be more involved directly and have a direct impact on the agricultural sector. The model of the business has changed from handing out cash to market women, to working on the structures and helping to make food available to people at affordable price,” he explained.
To get things started in 2017, they started with retail and trading of agricultural products sourced from farms across Nigeria. Although this was an easy way to enter the space, this would be their first move to help farmers minimise post-harvest losses that come from not having a market to sell their goods.
Post-harvest loss is one of the reasons farmers do not get corresponding returns for the efforts they put into farming. Most of the farmers are unable to mobilise the logistics to get their products to the consumers. If all the products can be moved from the farms to the consumers in a short time, the losses will be minimised, in goods and in cash. Getting the food to the consumers in time was also part of a bigger plan to make food available and affordable.
Subsequently, Green Gold Africa moved backwards into processing and packaging. Recently, the firm also ventured into the planting of cassava, which would subsequently be processed into other produce.
Although Green Gold Africa has been bootstrapped since inception, its doors are now opening to partnerships and collaborations, as the founders want to build it into a platform where other businesses and stakeholders can plug into and collaborate rather than compete.