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MyAgro Center Road Map

The cornerstone for every agricultural investment and food security is reliable historical food pricing record, unfortunately, Africa is not good at keep record. Policy formulators, investment organizations and farmers need reliable and affordable dataset to make informed decisions.

Governments need reliable price data to make policies, Agric finance houses also need reliable data to invest and derisk lending. Similarly, farmers/marketers of agricultural commodities need reliable market information to know when and where to sell for best value.

A typical scenario:

Loans are processed during the dry season (when farmers are not on the field), typically around January to March, food prices are usually at the highest (majorly because 95% of smallholder farmers in Africa practice rain feed agriculture). This means everyone plants and harvest at the same time and often times resulting into a glut and ultimately post harvest losses (evident in cassava and other perishable foods items).

Lenders make investment decisions based on the market price at this time of the year. Unfortunately, this period with surge in price are not the reality at harvest, often times there is glut in the market leading to faulty projections and in ability of the farmers to pay. Primarily, because the selling price at harvest is not he same with the project price when loans were issued.

Assume there was a reliable historical data, ag-financing would have been less risky. The data could be used to predict the price based on a 5 year price movement chart.

What if there is a decision support system for all stake holders in the value chain. A market information solution that will serve as a decision support system for farmers, government agencies, NGOs and finance houses.

Reliable and historic data across various food markets is the first step to reducing post harvest loss and enhancing food security. We are delighted to have this data across 12 countries and 160 markets across Africa (https://price.myagrocenter.com).

We started out as probityfarms, an advisory and farm management platform and soon realized that principal challenges of the smallholder farmer are access to credit and market. So we introduced Market metrics from the data we got from FEWS Network (a USAID initiative that has been collecting market information for the past 20 years)

We turned this into insights via a robust and easy to use data analytic platform to check food prices. Its work in progress and we are refining our machine learning algorithm to predict the future market price of food items for the next for 10 years.

Consequently, we have consolidated our solutions into myagrocenter.com as an agricultural intelligence platform. Our solutions are free to use at the moment as this will help to reduce the adoption barrier/ cost friction. Our business model is to gain traction as quickly and become a nexus for farmers across these countries we operate in.

Going forward we will find ways to monetize our platform, consequently, we need partnership opportunities to push our product across Africa. Also, we need capital to enable us collect more granular daily market information starting at the key markets in Nigeria and beyond.

To achieve our dream, we will use the raised capital to setup solar powered cold chain hubs in major markets, these will be the cash cow of the business. The power form the sun will be used to power the cold rooms, furthermore, the excess power will be used to build a community around the container/hubs. So there will be a cold room, a bank, a power and entertainment station.

Cold room: Market men/women can store produce for a small fee daily in crates
Bank: A POS Agent to render financial services for a fee as most rural communities or markets do not have a function bank nearby
Power Station: Phones and small gadgets can be charged for a fee
Entertainment Station: TV and football viewing center can also be embeded for markets with night life activities.

Pro
1. we will start making money more day one
2. Since we are in these markets we will easily collect prices of food items at a fraction of the cost of having to delegate a personnel to market daily.
3. There will be opportunities to franchise these cold chains for rapid adoption and market penetration.
4. strong vertical integration with other stakeholders in the agribusiness value chain

Cons
1. It’s a novel business idea, we expect challenges we can’t capture but we are determine to weather the storm and help Africa feed herself.
2. Market adoption time frame

The future it bright and It’s very exiting!!!

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making_It_In_Africa

Knowing what to do In life and where we fit in, is an age long journey. For some, they have someone to figure it out for them or they had it figured out as early as after puberty stage while some still struggles even after adolescence. World Health Organization says adolescence ends at 24.

In more matured climes, folks at this age are already buying homes, cars, getting married and with kids and with some level of financial stability. However, must folks in Africa are still begging their parents for loose change to cut hair, mummy’s phone to flash girl friend or daddy’s car to drop of a friend.

Why this discrepancy?

Systems? we do not have a functional system to support SMEs or one that student can borrow from to ensure they have quality education to university level or adequate training that will put food on their tables and provide for a family, these has greatly increased crimes rates and delayed marriage or resulted in non catered for children in most part of Africa.

So how can the younger folks make it in Africa ?

  1. Rich /Institutional parents
  2. Strong business connections

A rich parent is like an institution, cause your last name opens doors for you and if you do not have access to the venue for the door to be opened, a phone call can open a doors to opportunities on arrival.

If you do not have or inherit these 2 then you need to accumulate capabilities, deep domain and cross industry knowledge. Sister, read, read and read. You need plenty of intelligence with emotional intelligence also. Intelligence is the ability to learn, understand and apply the knowledge. Some are born smart, but keep learning everyone learns and assimilate at various degrees.

When you have strong cross sectional overview of life, technology and business doors will be opened for you. First degree is now pure water in Nigeria, get a second and possibly another in different fields, these guaranties you get business(es) and teaches you how hedges your risk on the ones you have.

Have seen many village boys and girls manage multinational companies with no business contacts, except through the accumulation of capabilities.

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Free Cooperative Manage Solution

Cooperative associations are a gift to mankind, especially in Africa. Staffs of organizations and members of non formal associations come together to contribute and share a common wealth inform of loans and targeted savings. In Nigeria alone, cooperative groups will contribute 30% to national GDP by 2025 . Despite it’s big impacts, most cooperative groups lack automation. Many of their operations are still run using pen and paper or at best, a crude ledger system. This deny members the benefits of accessing their savings anytime or even using the savings as collateral asuch they are denied financial inclusion, credit ratings and access to other financial services.

We launched Coopify to digitize cooperatives across Africa with one goal, of making the life of cooperatives managers easy. Coopify is a simple tool that helps cooperatives group automate their entire operations for free. Before we launched, our bespoke cooperative management solutions (Probitycoop) served clients across 2 leading banks, public sector and FMCGs staff cooperative with over 10,000 members and managing members contributions in Billions of Naira. After 3 years of tweaking on developments we pleased that our codes and algorithms can handle the needs of a few cooperators to thousands of them.

The platform is free to use* and there is not cap on the number of users, It uses the cooperator’s banks USSD portal to process payments and in the coming months we would launch our own USSD platform to support complete processing via feature phone with no internet access.

One of the biggest benefits cooperatives get is that they can now remove the hassle of payment collections by giving users multiple options to pay their contributions (using their bank USSD, card and bank payment. Our simple API has enabled us to also lock down a deal with a leading bank to provide API services for them, these would enable them provide cooperative management solution to their 10,000 plus cooperative customers.

How do we make money, we only charge a token standard for all payment processing as transaction fees for helping you to collect, process and reconcile loans, contribution and disbursements with settlements by 10pm same day (business days only). However, excos can still use our solutions for free, do the collections offline and manually reconcile their records.

Our business model is agency friendly, we share 25% of our earnings throughout the lifetime of the cooperative with you for each transaction we process for the cooperative. Starting with Nigeria our goal is to cover the whole continent kindly visit: http://coopify.africa  to get started or mail: hello@coopify.com.ng to become an agent.

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