Nigeria has an arable land area of 34 million hectares: 6.5 million hectares for permanent crops, and 30.3 million hectares on meadows and pastures. Agriculture accounts for over 20 percent of Nigeria's GDP. The country is a leader in a variety of agricultural produce, such as palm oil, cocoa beans, pineapple, and sorghum. However, different constraints have made farming difficult for farmers in in the country, as they face a number of challenges such as:
It is why Olayinka Adelugba, Managing Director of Dermisho Utility and Farm Management Application (DUFMA) is working hard to revolutionise the sector and solve some of these gaps. DUFMA is a hybrid Agritech company that integrates farm Advisory services, management software and precision farming hardware together for micro SMEs in Nigeria. The organisation uses technology to integrate various value chains in Nigeria's agricultural sector, allowing stakeholders to participate actively across different parts of the sector. It works on IoT enabled devices and uses big data and machine learning for ease of operation and productivity, creating exceptional impact on farmers in rural settings, while providing them with more access to and profit from the big market in different cities across Nigeria.
Solving the infrastructure gaps in Nigeria’s agriculture with technology
The DUFMA founding team is made up of a team of young men who studied agriculture in university. It was during this time that they discovered a lot of gaps in Nigeria’s agricultural sector. They realised that what they had studied at university didn’t quite match the reality faced by farmers, especially the application of theory to actual farming practices, sales and marketing, production and supply. The team found numerous gaps that needed addressing, and fast.
They found their course skewed heavily in theory, and lacking in the practical application of how to run a farming business efficiently. After their course, the team took time out to learn more about the practicality of Nigeria’s agricultural sector. They took this additional knowledge and used it to train farmers on better approaches to things like planting processes and how to rear animals in a more efficient way. Based in Lagos, the team has engaged with over 10,000 micro SMEs since setting up. Their mission is to become the biggest Nigerian-owned agritech platform in the country.
Business lessons from an entrepreneur
Olayinka believes that times are changing. Right now, technology is being infused into agriculture to make farming a lot easier. The earlier Nigerians learn this, the better things will be for the sector. He believes introducing mechanisation in farming will add a much needed boost to the economy.
He also believes that in order to scale, business owners need to embrace mentorship by connecting with like-minded people, especially those who have successfully scaled in the same sector.
According to Olayinka, “Things are changing. The world is changing. How we see agriculture is changing. We will always need to eat. DUFMA is helping to accelerate the processes that help to put food on your table at the right time.”
DUFMA was a part of the Afritech Innovation Prize. They have been provided with access to international lawyers and highly requested tech credits.
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