Article written

  • on 05.07.2015
  • at 03:00 PM
  • by Naomi Cohen

Field Report from Nigeria: A direct approach 0

While urban consumers are increasingly aware of the health benefits to be had from fresh farm produce, heavy city traffic and the pressures of modern lifestyles leave little time for visiting fresh fruit and vegetable markets. This, at least, is the situation in Nigeria’s urban areas perceived by Afioluwa Mogaji, popularly known as Africanfarmer, and is one of the reasons behind his ‘Green Collar Jobs’ project. Established in five Nigerian cities in 2012, the approach is an innovative and exciting model for agricultural marketing, which is simultaneously creating opportunities for young entrepreneurs and farmers, and bringing high quality, fresh vegetables direct to urban consumers.

Development of the direct marketing model has been driven by Mogaji’s work to bring young people into profitable agriculture, through training, provision of inputs, and negotiating access to disused government farmland – work for which the entrepreneur, chief executive of X-Ray Farms Consulting, has been recognised as a Fellow of Ashoka, the largest network of social entrepreneurs worldwide. Around 175 young farmers have, with Mogaji’s support, established modern farming enterprises to grow maize, watermelons, off-season tomatoes, sweet peppers and leafy vegetables. Their produce is then sold to urban consumers by another team of young entrepreneurs who organise ‘mobile markets’ and direct sales.

The green collar entrepreneurs identify customers through their own networks, including professionals working in corporate organisations and church members or other social groups. With direct sales, they arrange for the farm produce to be delivered to the home, office, church or any other location the buyer chooses. For the mobile markets, rented canopies are erected and tables set up for a few hours, typically in wealthier neighbourhoods. Some of the produce is sold by the kilo, with others sold in more traditional quantities used in open markets. When sold, the profit is shared between Mogaji’s firm, the entrepreneur and the farmer – an amount that farmers know will be a decent income compared to alternative marketing systems.

Making the most of marketing media

Mogaji is frequently invited to speak about agribusiness on TV and radio, and seizes the opportunity to create awareness of the green collar scheme. However, most of the marketing is done by the entrepreneurs, who use whatever publicity channels are available to inform people in their networks. These include direct marketing phone calls, text messaging, emails, Whats App, BB messenger, Facebook and Twitter, and announcements at social and religious gatherings.

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by Oluyinka Alawode

Photo Credit: Africanfarmer Mogaji (Mogaji and two ‘green collar’ farmers with farm fresh cucumbers to deliver direct to urban consumers)


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