Using agro tourism to tap into opportunities in agribusiness
Post in Business day Wednesday, 30 January 2013 by Oluyinka Alawode –
For an agro-based business that is just starting, or already established and having difficulty or enjoying remarkable success, some practical learning experiences can make a world of difference to the bottom line.
This was no doubt the expectation of agric tourists who have visited the Songhai Farm Centre in Porto Novo, Benin Republic, at one time or the other. One of them, Cynthia Umoru, chief executive of Farmshoppe, also known as the ‘pretty farmer,’ is a highly successful agribusiness operator.
She knows the world population is expected to grow from the current 6.5 billion to 8 billion by 2050, so Umoru is ever learning to build her business as one of those that would actively contribute to food security in the coming years, while enjoying good returns on investment and providing employment.
Mohammed Muktari, also a farmer, has also gone on a study tour of the Songhai Farm Centre, and shares his experience on this trip packaged by Hadur Travels and Tours last August.
Muktari says, “The study tour helped me grow my farm in three major areas. It taught me how to set up my farm and I immediately changed the setting of my farm, giving attention to the sensitive areas, bringing them close to where they will get attention. My fish production business has grown by over 500 percent, as I constructed 11 ponds after I came back.
“During the tour, we were exposed to the use of maggots in feeding fish. Maggot is rich in protein and it costs much less as fish feed. This grew my production beyond expectations. Going on a tour of Songhai exposed me to the fact that there is so much money in farming and I immediately set out to explore it. Today, I have no regrets. Thirdly, I began to take more risks so I have set up about 40 palm oil farms in the North.”
Olufunke Taiwo, chief executive, Hadur Travels and Tours, a travel agency that packages pilgrimages and agro tours to different parts of the world where there are learning experiences that can boost business profits, explains how these tours are carried out.
“We always make prior arrangements with experts that take our clients on practical on-site learning of the Songhai Farm or any integrated farm in that area, with exportable learning opportunities that can bring extraordinary results and high income.
“So, this year we have packaged a world-class study tour of Songhai Farm to expose participants to deep insider secrets by way of a professional visit of the farm. We always enjoin as many people as can to come on these agro tours. They will learn new agro farming techniques that will boost their farm income and new techniques of farm management. To cap it all, all our tours are always spiced with leisure, so participants will have the opportunity to visit exotic sites in Cotonou for a few hours after each day’s training,” she says.
Songhai Farm is one of the largest non-governmental organisation (NGO) farm projects empowering Africans, an integrated farm that uses all its waste produce to generate more income. The centre is a chain of agricultural research centres established by Godfrey Nzamujo, a Nigerian-American reverend father, for the promotion of the study of sustainable farming techniques.
He established the centre to develop a new way that could improve the lives of African people and restore dignity and self-esteem. The result was the creation of the Songhai centre.
The Songhai is a centre for training, production, hands-on activities, research and development of sustainable agricultural practices. The centre has remained a NGO with a mission to fight poverty by transforming subsistence farmers into active producers. The main centre is located in Porto-Novo with satellite centres in three other regions in Benin Republic and now in Liberia, called Songhai Centre of Liberia.
Join our next tour to Songhai farm 17th – 21st February ,Hurry don’t miss out few seats left .