As a farmer, don’t sound desperate when you are selling your farm produces. For example, when I’m going to make supply for eggs, I dress as if I’m going to my office. Add value to what you do, then people will respect and accept your price.
Controlling prices at the farm gate is not so easy as it seems. Farmers don’t really have access to grants or long term loans; they basically have to incur all the cost associated with production personally. When it’s time to sell, and a farmer is low on cash flow, it won’t be that easy for farmers to start dictating price. So basically what we have is a cash flow problem. If farmers can structure their farm and practices such that there is steady cash flow, he can always stand his ground. The reality is that middlemen will always make more money than the farmers, same way a wholesaler makes the least profit in the production chain. They get compensated by volume of production. So these everyday items we buy, if you knew how small the margin is on these items from the production company, you will be surprised. The middlemen and retailer always make more profit in terms of percentage, but the production company makes more in terms of volume. The only solutions available is for; 1. Farmers to find a way to increase production volume/capacity and also reduce product cost. 2. Participate in the value chain, i.e. farmers should also be middleman and retailer. Forming a body in order to fix prices may not work in the long run in my humble opinion
|Fruits and Veggies Value addition|
We had a contract to supply shea nuts to a company here in Nigeria. After we have discussed price with the seller on 30,000/MT with transport fare, on the day we were ready to pick up our goods with the agreed price, the farmer said that he is no longer selling to us, that an Indian man have paid 50,000/MT; how can a foreigner come down here to meet farmers directly? We have several orders to export agric produce but the middlemen price is a problem.
In response to the session on middle men and women making the profit from the farmers’ sweat and causing price pain to the consumers/customer; In America for example, due to this trend in middlemen business, most farmers decided to be selling their product directly to the consumers, cutting off the middlemen and that was how Farmers’ Market came to be, and since 1994 farmers markets in America has tripled from 12,019 to 36,000 plus and still rising, with more licenses to create more been given which was caused by the surge of farmers to sell their product directly and make maximum profit. New York Times reports that, “60% of Americans now go to farmers market nearest to them to get their fresh fruits and veggies and all other produces and that was caused by the Bush administration campaign for F to T (farm to table). The trend can be seen in South Africa where farmers markets are springing up here and there and in solidarity and pursuit of profit, farmers in the country are flocking to sell their produce in any farmers market nearest to them. If we are to make head way in maximizing profit as farmers we ought to follow this tried and tested method or system which seeming to be growing and bringing joy to the farmers using it.
Olumide Ajibare, a Shea butter allied products maker, however, concurred to the creation of farmers’ market. He said that, the idea of farmers market is a good one. But it will need to be developed into a business model, segmented into infrastructure (buildings, refrigerators, dryers etc). The logistic aspect of it also includes, refrigerated trucks, crates and packaging generally. Then the farmers will have to go into associations that will operate in clusters to cover specific physical zones or areas. All these can’t be achieved without serious Government commitment and legal backing.
Adeniyi Sola, an agribusiness consultant says that, “I believe agribusiness is potentially the next frontier for Nigeria. I also believe that proper farm management, access to key markets and training can potentially help change the fortunes of smallholder farmers and make them commercially viable. The solution is obvious but the resources are finite”
Government has no business in business. Any farmer that intends to boycott middlemen should invest in having centers or shops to sell directly to the public. To cut out the middlemen; I am looking into processing my pigs to pork, I want to sell my eggs directly to the end user. If not for middlemen, a lot of farmers won’t even be able to function. If you feel you want to get closer to the market, then we have to grow our own market. We should rather look at setting up, farmers market. Some middlemen came from Warri, Portharcourt to buy pigs in Kwara state. I can’t set up a shop in Portharcourt even if I can afford it. We all need to specialise and face what is convenient and profitable for us and care less about others profit; Middlemen make more profit in piggery, but I prefer to be a pig farmer; I have made up my mind not to complain about it again. I will process and cut them out.