FARM CAFÉ AT 3, TAKING STEADY STEPS DESPITE HUGE CHALLENGES
Farm Café: www.farmcafeng.com launched February 29th, 2016 is now three, still committed to its mandate of prospering agribusinesses through ICT in spite of challenges.
Farm Café has set out to save money and other resources for farms, processors, other agribusinesses and related-businesses within and outside Nigeria, therefore boosting their profitability by providing real-time Information, Marketing/Publicity and B2B connection services using mainly ICT.
Oluyinka Alawode, the founder and director explains, “Farm Cafe makes agribusinesses including farming less cumbersome and more attractive to investors all along the agricultural value chains including the youths through our ICT-driven services. By providing services that encourage farmers and other investors in agribusinesses to stay on, produce/invest more, leading to expansion, more hands or heads would be needed thereby creating more jobs -reducing unemployment.”
On the bigger picture, Alawode says, “With more people able to earn more income, pay taxes and make purchases, these would contribute to Internally Generated Revenues for governments and GDP growth.”
Tolulope Fatuase Ajose, CEO, Natural & Sazzy says, “Farm Café has been able to break cultural barriers to have a wider reach. Farm Cafe is a global solution provider to entrepreneurs in the agricultural sector.”
Speaking further, Farm Café Director, Alawode says that even farmers without access to the internet but have phones for calls and text messages can inform Farm Café of their needs such as harvesting dates and call for buyers. “Farm Café then circulates the information on the internet using its website and various social media platforms including WhatsApp to potential buyers. The medium and big businesses with agricultural, financial or technological products or services for the players in the agro industry can also market their business offerings through Farm Café’s communication channels and business relationships with large number of farmers, agro processors and other businesses,” she adds.
“The challenges have been very huge,” Alawode says. “Aside the challenging business environment, getting stakeholders to understand the importance of services that Farm Café provides, issues of integrity of some business operators in relation to others and so many other factors pose challenges. But despite these challenges I have resolved not to give up but to keep innovating. I am very grateful to God, my family, friends, some professional colleagues and mentors for the support/encouragement to forge ahead.”
A training last year with the International Centre for Research-oriented Development in Agriculture (ICRA) has also expanded the Farm Café vision/networks to include researchers and other stakeholders in the fields of agriculture and broadened the B2B Connections (such as research to business) aspect of the Farm Café mandate.
Farm Café also provides free information to the public on the health benefits of certain foods, where to get quality health enhancing foods etc and sustainable/environmentally-friendly and precision farming to help farmers minimise the effects of climate change.
The founder of Farm Cafe - Oluyinka Alawode is a professional Journalist/Writer and Agribusiness Information Broker. She worked for 11 years as a business journalist and has also made foray into TV and radio broadcasting. The vision for Farm Café was borne while in active journalism, strengthened by an academic background in agricultural extension and the networks of mentors in journalism/media, her connections with professionals and business operators in various fields within and outside Nigeria and her desire to provide information services to ensure food-secure, nutritionally safe, healthy-living societies and prosperous businesses.