Thinking Of Investing In Farming Through Agri-Tech Platforms? We Advice You Do a Thorough Due Diligence
I have observed how with reinvigorated interest and energy, the Federal Government has put the development of the Agricultural sector as the centrepiece of its Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP). This focus becomes more evident with the allocation of N118.98 billion to the sector for the year 2018; N15b fatter than the N103b provided the previous year.
Prior to this, there has been an incremental growth in revenue from the agricultural sector, which contributed 21.97% to the nations’ GDP in 2017. This figure was higher than the rates recorded same period in 2016; this depicts that we recorded an annual growth rate of 11.29% in 2017 compared to 9.61% in 2016.
Without any doubt, Agribusiness seems delicately poised to contribute significantly to economic growth, wealth creation, employment generation, and superior food security for the Nigerian populace. However, despite this renewed government focus, research shows that Nigeria’s farmlands remain under-utilized, with only about 41% of the country’s arable farmland is currently cultivated for agricultural production.
Added to this, the country’s agricultural sector is still dominated by smallholder rural farming households who face the challenge of lack of access to capital, poor mechanization, lack of knowledge of modern agricultural practices and high-risk exposure.
But the good news is that the rapid growth and innovations in Information Technology are slowly making a strong foray into the sector, rousing optimism that we might be in for another sweeping disruption that today’s tech-based interventions are now renowned for.
With digital and tech-driven innovators, such as Farmcrowdy, (believed to be Nigeria’s First Digital Agriculture Platform) are able to pool more investments into the agricultural sector through crowd-funding via digital channels, networks, and platforms. These innovative approaches have attracted a new crop of investors who are millennials. They now have tools to help them get involved in the business of farming without becoming farmers.
With more investments, these digitalized Agri-tech platforms operated by internet-savvy agricultural entrepreneurs, are in the position to empower rural farmers by providing them with finance improved seeds, farm inputs, training on modern farming techniques and a market for the sale of their farm produce.
Whilst these interventions provide an interesting twist to the revolution in the Agric sector, I advise investors in these Agri-tech platforms to carry out comprehensive due diligence for the following reasons:
1. Agribusiness is a risky business
Indeed, Agriculture still remains a risky venture and there is a need to mitigate these risks using innovative insurance solutions. With insurance policies in place, investors in all sectors of the agricultural value chains in the pre-upstream, upstream and downstream sectors are further assured of their investments.
In other words, these investors are insulated from the shock of a total financial loss arising from perils that are outside the control of the Agri-tech platforms. At Leadway Assurance Company Limited, where we currently provide insurance coverage for a majority of these Agri-tech platforms, we enjoin prospective investors to inquire about the extent of its insurance coverage for respective platforms directly from the company’s official touchpoints and customer relations channels.
2. Your investment in Agri-tech Platform is not insured
By partnering with these digitalized agricultural platforms, like Farmcrowdy, Thrive Agric, Agrecourse, Chubi Agro, Bush Colony, Primera Credit Microfinance Bank Limited, Winich Farms, Agrilet, Farmforte Agro, Agroyield Africa and EZ Farming, Leadway Assurance helps to provide a range of Agricultural Insurance protection primarily to their farmers leveraging its range of agricultural insurance policies in its portfolio.
In other words, Leadway Agricultural Insurance Policies do not provide cover for the investment returns (ROI) value assured by the Agri-tech farms. For emphasis, it is the cost of production (COP) also known as the economics of production (EOP) for these insured Agric projects that are covered.
To this end, it is critical to understand that the overarching risk that Leadway Assurance undertakes to provide cover for is the probability of financial loss which may occur as a result of unplanned and extreme events. The value we bring to this value chain is the assurance we provide for the direct investment that goes directly into the Agric project. That is the real loss that our agriculture insurance team has identified, strategically evaluated and designed the right agricultural insurance solutions.
The investment made by the sponsors does not fall into this category. So, individuals who intend to invest in Agri-tech should have a clearer understanding of how their investments and returns have been adequately protected by the digitalized agri-tech platforms.
For the avoidance of doubt, the Leadway’s Agricultural Insurance policies cover accident to machinery, agricultural produce, produce storage facility, poultry, livestock, and ¬fish farm. Its multiple perils Crop Insurance Policy, farms against the risk of physical loss or damages to crops which may arise from fire, lightning, flood, explosion and other covered perils. Insurance policies are also available for all activities across the entire agricultural value chain.
On the other hand, The Leadway Farm Property and Produce Insurance Policy, provides cover for your farm assets (houses, farm properties, machinery/equipment, etc.) and agricultural produce stored in designated warehouses against accidental destruction by fire, lightning, flood, explosion, and other elemental perils covered in these policies.
In addition to this, the foremost insurer also has the Fish Farm, Poultry and Livestock Insurance Policies that cover the farmer from financial loss in the event of the death of livestock, birds, fish stock or the collapse of the fish pond by paying you the assessed value of losses incurred.
Suffice that these insurance policies are neither sacrosanct nor cast in stone as Leadway offers bespoke and customer-centric insurance solutions that will meet the specific risk management needs of the Agric investor at all times across the entire agricultural value chain.
For more information on how our Agricultural Insurance package works, please call our customer care service on (01) 2800 700, 2800 701, +234 812 999 7175 or send an email to Lcs@leadway.com for more details.