The need to enhance food security and production has always been one of the core responsibilities of every nation, Nigeria inclusive. With this goal in mind, Afrimash Company Limited, an indigenous eCommerce firm based in Ibadan, Oyo state has taken the “bull by the horns” by ensuring that Nigerian farmers get the best inputs such as equipment, livestock, seedlings, fertilizers, and quality vaccines that will enable them to increase food production while making agriculture convenient.
Speaking to the media on how Afrimash Company Limited has been engaging farmers for over four years, Ahmed Ayoade Oyedotun, the Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of Afrimash Company Limited said “Afrimash is an agritech company. We run an eCommerce platform that is designed for farmers to access quality inputs from verified farm input suppliers. Our corporate office is currently based in Ibadan, Oyo state, but our delivery is nationwide. Using our online platform, farmers get quick and convenient access to a variety of inputs, place their orders online, and receive their farm inputs delivered to their locations across Nigeria. We run a system that ensures farmers can shop online with peace of mind. We started in 2016 and for about 4years now we have been offering eCommerce services (that is agricultural oriented) via our platform where farmers can get tools, inputs, and other agricultural inputs. We are a very valuable, sustainable, and profitable organization that provides premium value to customers via the contribution of a talented workforce who enjoy providing quality service to customers.”
“One thing that eCommerce does is that it makes it easy for suppliers and buyers to meet but in agriculture, it is a different ball game when we are talking about live products like day-old chicks, juveniles, rabbits, and so on. Access to quality inputs is one of the biggest challenges that farmers face in Nigerian and Africa. We are here to bridge that gap using Internet technology. Today, quite a number of farmers have internet access and we leverage on the ever-increasing Internet penetration rate in Nigeria. This guarantees us of consistent increase in the number of people that can access our eCommerce site. Aside from Internet penetration, the GSM penetration rate in Nigeria is high and constantly growing. This means that farmers who do not have Internet access will have feature phones to make phone calls. So, we have developed a hybrid system that makes it easy for farmers to buy even without the internet through our dedicated shopping assistants that farmers can call on the phone”, Ahmed added.
On the market acceptability, the company noted that over the years, farmers have come to believe and have confidence in them, this has transcended to higher patronage. Speaking of patronage and market acceptability Eshett Goodness Mfonobong, The Senior Lead Communication Executive of Afrimash Company Limited said “when we started over the years, a lot of pessimists said that farmers are not online, but trust me, we have come to realize that this is wrong with high repeat customers and a lot of our customers come through referral. We have lots of referrals because we make shopping easier for them while ensuring that we have quality products delivered to these farmers. The market and the farmers have come to accept us over the years for what we stand for which is quality and convenience.”
The company encourages government and financiers to partner with farmers for increased food production and security in the country. “We have an overriding goal of making agriculture convenient for farmers by connecting farmers with quality inputs and products. This has been Afrimash focus since we started in 2016 and today, we have about 20,000 farmers as clients and customers. We are blessed with a very talented team who work with a set of very important core values such as prioritization, excellence, self-leadership, passion, speed, and integrity. We are very open to partnership with government organizations, states, training institutions, financiers, and development organizations. We want to partner with them in providing quality services to these farmers to deepen food security in the country. We want to use technology to achieve this because in the next 20 years there might be high demand for food in the world; so we would gladly welcome every partnership that we can go into that will make agriculture convenient”, Ahmed concluded.
Afrimash deploys information technology (IT) tools such as web portals, electronic payments, and robust logistics to ensure that these inputs get to farmers. The company highlighted the challenges that farmers face in sourcing quality farm inputs and has been committed to bridging these gaps through robust IT solutions.