In a bid to curb the wastages experienced by Nigerian farmers and encourage young people to embrace agriculture, an online Farmers’ Market has been launched to link farmers directly with buyers.
The platform, which is targeted at helping farmers from even the remotest of villages to get their goods across to buyers, is a platform created by the Initiative for Advancement of Youth Awareness, Development (IAYADS).
Speaking on the sidelines of training for farmers and vendors held in Abuja, Uchendu Nwabara, CEO of IAYADS, said the initiative was a partnership with CK Empire, the IT developers.
According to him, the platform is intended to give hope to the teeming youth and farmers alike so that more Nigerians can embrace the profession.
Mr Nwabara stressed that when fully operational, the problem of perishable goods would be over as such goods will quickly get to the already-waiting buyers.
He said that over one million jobs would be created from the platform as there would be new farmers, vendors, packagers, transporters, insurance agents, website managers across the states.
“We come up with the concept to create hope for Nigerians because we discovered that the problem we are having is getting the hope out there so that our young ones can face their future and not being afraid of not having a fruitful future.
“The programme we came up with is how to get the farmers out of bondage, so we created a World Market site to get the villagers out, load them in the system so that they and their produce can be accessed from anywhere in the World.
“We plan to cut off the middle man and link the farmers directly to the buyers: we want to cut off so many difficulties including transportation.
“The major problem of farmers is uplifters, they will farm and at the end of the day nobody to buy it. So we are creating the World where they will already have demands before they are done farming.
“We have created vendors and managers that will help them upload their goods and find a means of getting them to their destination.
“We are looking at creating 1 million jobs because each vendor can produce up to 30 vendors in each state, we are looking at a point where the vendors in the states will have over 1000 vendors each.
“What we are doing now is to do the training to educate our people and make them aware of what can be benefitted from the platform. That is what we are all about: creating a world of hope for the farmers,” he said.
He disclosed that there would be insurance to secure buyers in the event that the produce is affected along the line, adding that only verified farmers would be enrolled on the site.
He said that before products are put on the site, they are verified, stressing that a second verification is done by the vendor managers before the products are sent to the buyer.
He said that so far, they were already present in 21 states.
Also speaking, Kanu Kingsley, the technology partner and CEO of CK Empire, the managers of the platform, said that the system could take as many farmers as are available.
“The system can take as many as all the farmers in Nigeria. It is a simple platform. But what we are looking at is to have up to 10,000 to 20,000 farmers before the end of October.
“With the structure and people that we have here, we are looking at getting even many more farmers before the end of the year,” he said.
Some of the participants who spoke to our correspondent commended the Farmers’ Market platform, saying that it would solve a lot of challenges faced by the farmers.
Mr Danjuma Byanet, a ginger and turmeric farmer, said that the platform would indeed be beneficial to farmers like him.
“The idea of this project has serious benefits for farmers like me because a lot of us produce and the outlet to sell becomes a problem.
“It gets to a point where sometimes we even lose these produce because we cannot secure them because of the lack of storage system.
“So for them to create an avenue for us to sell online, it will help us a lot. I know it would be difficult but soon we would get out of the problems we have especially with the perishable goods.
Ali Paul, General Secretary Northern Farmers Association, FCT Chapter, said that the platform would go a long way to help the farmers and save them from post-harvest loses and underpricing by middlemen.
He said that as a vendor, it would also help him to meet different farmers from around Nigeria, adding that the platform would also help engage youths in agriculture.