In the past, a lot have been expounded about the benefits of agriculture to Nigeria’s economy. But it took the ravages of the Covid-19 pandemic to drive home the point more than ever before. The overarching importance of agriculture is apparent in the face of catastrophic job losses in the manufacturing and service sectors of the economy.
Globally, a record number of employees have been thrown out of job, and every sector grounded, except agriculture.
As the world staggers to its feet after the devastation of the global economy by the novel coronavirus disease, countries and companies must begin to explore innovative ways of maximizing the paradigm, practice and benefits of agriculture. To this end, the model of farming as we know has to change.
Enter Viable X, an online commodity trading platform, floated by Farm4Me, a Nigerian premium agribusiness firm that has positioned itself as a game-changer in agriculture.
At the launch of the new online portal, the firm’s chief executive officer, Adama J. Adama, avowed that Viable X has capabilities to boost job creation and economic empowerment through innovative approaches to agricultural businesses.
In his words, “the platform was created to change the face of agribusiness in Nigeria.”
Going by his credential, Benue-born Adama can be trusted by his word. The young agricultural entrepreneur has solid credential. In 2017, he anchored an IFAD Value Chain Seminar on agribusiness and e-Commerce at the Central Bank of Nigeria Entrepreneurship Development Centre, North Central Zone, Makurdi.
Farm4Me, which he founded in March 2019 after two years of extensive research, pioneered contract farming in Nigeria. Within a short time, the reputation of the start-up soared and it was ranked on Google as the No 1 agritech company that majored in farm equipment rental services in Nigeria.
Now, Viable X initiative is coming on the heels of success recorded by Farm4Me venture which, within one year, enjoyed high patronage and farmed hundreds of hectares of land that further entrenched it as the pioneer of contract farming.
Speaking on why www.viablex.com was floated, Adama highlighted its major benefits, namely provision of loans for farmers and providing a virtual marketplace where farmers can sell their produce without stress.
“Farmers can invest in commodity export orders from international buyers and earn 50% profit in as short a time as three months. They can also request for a loan and receive it instantly in their bank account. They can buy commodities and store online until when the price is high and then sell at a profit,” he said.
Adama enumerated further: “They can trade their commodities any time and receive credit alert instantly and their farm produce sold directly to Off Takers (buyers). Also, there is a list of contract farming companies on Viable X, thereby giving them the visibility that enables food processors and commodity exporters to contract their services.”
Neither Viable X nor other innovative concepts being implemented by Farm4Me are by any means similar to crowd farming that is currently the rage in agribusiness.
“We are different from all the agriculture investment platforms out there. We are not into crowd farming,” Adama stressed.
The Viable X Agribusiness Limited, incorporated with Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and licensed by National Export Promotion Council (NEPC) started working since November 2019 when it was launched as an online marketplace for farmers to sell their produce. However, other components were later added including instant loan, export financing, produce trading and contract farming.
“Viable X was a response to the needs of Nigerians who kept calling and sending Farm4Me emails requesting for microloans for their farms, market place to sell their produce at befitting prices and an opportunity to invest a smaller amount of money for short term investment duration,” Adama disclosed.
For potential investors and stakeholders, he gave an assurance: “Your investment is secured. It is backed by physical commodities with good liquidity and backed by insurance. No matter what happens, your investment capital is refundable.”
Viable X’s bottom line is making agribusiness simpler, easier and faster for Nigerians and therefore assist farmers to profit greatly from the sweat of their labour. This is the broad assertion from Adama.
However, in concrete terms, “We aim to raise one million commodity trading millionaires in Nigeria,” he stated.
In general, by the way, the ultimate goal is to help to reduce hunger and poverty through agriculture.
“Our vision is to become a multi-billion dollar company with visible social impact,” he enthused.