With Nigeria banning imports of agricultural products, established businesses are taking matters into their own hands by investing in capacity building and innovation to meet the demands of Africa's largest market.

Chaim Zach

CEO & Founder, Agrited and Dori Construction and Engineering

When I came to Nigeria in 1991, I saw that Nigeria was ripe for development. Per capita consumption was 120g for poultry and 18-22 for eggs per annum. In comparison, in 1991 Israel had 53kg per capita poultry consumption and 395 eggs per capita per annum. Since eggs and chickens could not be imported into the country at the time, the best way to maximize Nigerians' protein consumption was to import smoked and frozen fish. 71% of Nigeria's labor force was in agriculture at the time, and they were working with traditional and inefficient methods. The idea behind Agrited was to take advantage of global food trends. At present, poultry consumption is 1.6kg per capita, almost 1,300% higher, while consumption of eggs is 80, a 400% increase. To maximize growth, there is no better place to be than in Nigeria's food supply and production space, and that is exactly where we are. We are focused mainly on the poultry industry, and our philosophy is quality. Notably, Agrited's next farm will double its capacity in the next four years. There is room for many newcomers, however, the biggest threats to the agricultural industry are insufficient government schemes and insufficient infrastructure. Nigeria is blessed with excellent natural inputs for agriculture, and the trick is to maximize efficiencies in the system. Agrited is pushing the poultry industry to move from traditional to modern methods. We are using new control houses to maximize our production processes and working to maximize our poultry producing capabilities.

Ujwalkanta Senepati

Managing Director, WACOT Ltd

We recently celebrated 20 years in the agricultural sector in Nigeria, having started in 1997. We are not only in cotton, but also in other commodities. Cotton contributes only 3% to our portfolio. We are the second-largest exporter in the agricultural sector, jumping from fifth largest in 2015 to second largest in 2017. WACOT is part of a group called TGI, which is present in five countries in West Africa: Nigeria, Benin, Ghana, Ivory Coast, and Liberia. Our ambition is to take Nigeria Biz Model to every African country. We already have a presence in Europe as well as a small presence in the US. Farming is important in agriculture, and during 2018, we supported 58,000ha with almost 30,000 farmers. As of today, rice represents almost 20% of our portfolio. We started to invest in rice because it is one of the 41 products banned for import in Nigeria, and we were committed to explore its potential in the local market. Cocoa contributes 5%, sesame and cashew contribute 27%, soybeans represent 12%, and other grains like sorghum about 6%. Agricultural inputs, which include quality seeds, fertilizers, and agrichemicals stands at 23%. In terms of challenges, the biggest is port infrastructure, which impacts our exports. First the infrastructure has to improve, otherwise we cannot commit to certain contracts. Second, we need greater transfer of technology to traditional farmers. On the policy side, the government is enthusiastic about the agricultural sector, and we want these policies to continue regardless of which party is in power.

Rajab Jubaili

Managing Director, Jubaili Agrotec

Nigeria represents the biggest market in Africa, and we are also operating in other African countries, such as Ghana, Tanzania, Uganda, and Kenya. Notably, Jubaili Agrotec is the leading supplier of agrochemicals, fertilizers, sprayers, seeds, veterinary drugs, green houses, feed additives, and concentrate in Africa. The current demand requires us to increase our geographical coverage zone in all those countries by opening sales points across different areas. In addition to our main branches, we currently have more than 50 sales points in Nigeria to whom we provide top-quality pesticides and seeds, particularly vegetable seeds such as cabbage, tomato, and cucumber. Our fleet is 150-truck strong, covering all territories and reaching every farmer. Pesticides constitute our largest revenue stream, and our strategy is not to go into commodities, as we want to work with niche products. We have become one of the leaders in the agricultural sectors by focusing on positive value-driven solutions through innovations, flexibility, integrity, determination, and ownership. Our vision is to increase our value as well as our portfolio of diversified brands in order to always be recognized as every farmer's first choice. Our plan is to be present in every country in west and east Africa by entering at least one new market every year. Moving forward, greenhouses have to be improved, because most of the products in the market are still imported. We have introduced several new pesticides into the market and are trying our best to introduce hybrid seeds. Hopefully, our pesticides factory will kick off production in 2019.