In Summary
  • Start by listing the ventures you can undertake and the critical factors that can limit or favour the businesses. This will give you a clear picture of what to go for.
  • To begin the selection process, list the critical areas that can limit or favour the agribusiness. The list should be big enough to reduce the margin of error.
  • Market demand could be local or wider while value addition means you get more money from a given product. On capital and infrastructure, dairy goats for example might require less land and initial capital than cows.
  • Assuming that the value chain you intend to promote is viable in your area, the next step is to weigh the factors under consideration such that the one that is most limiting is given the highest weight (score).

To venture into agribusiness, many people opt for what their neighbours, friends or relatives are doing, without putting into consideration quite a number of key factors.

Sadly, such businesses end up collapsing soon after because the entrepreneur does not understand what it takes to run them.

A sustainable agribusiness is one that is selected using guidelines, passion and expertise back-up. To select a viable agribusiness, one needs to follow some guidelines, which can also be used by an individual, group, company, county or national government that intends to promote agriculture in a given area.

How to select a value chain

Agricultural value chains include crops, livestock, fisheries and forestry.

In crops, plant options include fruits (bananas, passion fruits, oranges and mangoes); tubers (potatoes, cassava and sweet potatoes); industrial crops (cotton, pyrethrum and African bird eye chili); cereals (maize, rice and sorghum); legumes (beans or soya); vegetables (indigenous vegetables, snow peas, French beans, sukuma wiki and tomatoes); pulses (green grams) and nuts (groundnuts or macadamia).

In livestock, the choices include dairy (cattle, camels, sheep and goats); red meat (camels, beef, mutton and chevron); white meat (rabbits, broilers, pigs and indigenous poultry) while eggs can be from indigenous chickens or commercial layers.

In aquaculture, one can select fish such as tilapia, catfish, trout, common carp and so on. The forestry section has tree plantations and agroforestry.

To begin the selection process, list the critical areas that can limit or favour the agribusiness. The list should be big enough to reduce the margin of error.

Depending on whether one is an individual, a group or an organisation, some of the business enablers or hindrances include the ability of the value chain to do well in the area where you intend to set up; market demand for the product; potential for value addition; environmental sustainability; available resources; infrastructure; ability to promote social inclusion and gender equity; income and employment generation and increase in food and nutrition security.

Taking dairy as an example, if you are in the cold climate of the highlands, goats and cattle can do well. The same might not be the case for camels due to climatic adaptability.

ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY

Infrastructure include land, water, power, road networks, labour (human and mechanised) and machinery.

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