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Minister, others train SMEs on partnerships, technology in agricultural sector

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IBM Watson in agriculture

In continuation of its commitment to support over 10,000 SMEs in a Covid economy, MTN through its Revv Programme, trained small business owners in the agriculture sector at the latest edition of its masterclass on Thursday, October 8, 2020.

The virtual session themed, “The Agriculture Conundrum: Connecting the dots through partnerships and technology” featured the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Muhammad Sabo Nanono, who delivered the keynote address.

While speaking at the event, the Minister stressed the importance of initiatives such as The MTN Revv Programme. “I will like to take this opportunity to say that programmes like this are of fundamental importance to the sector and I hope that your deliberations will come up with a way that can foster more collaboration between the private sector and government,” Nanono said.

Other panelists at the masterclass include the Deputy General Manager, Large Enterprises, Bank of Industry, Lolo Ruth Kadafa; CEO Farmcrowdy/PlentyWaka, Onyeka Akumah; founder, Simply Green Limited, Adesola Ladoja and Chief Executive Officer, Livestock247.com, Ibrahim Maigari Ahmadu. The panelists’ session was moderated by Yewande Kazeem, Founder, Wandieville Media.

Onyeka Akumah who has spent the last few years as an investor and major player in agriculture through Farmcrowdy, cautioned SMEs against relying on archaic methods of agriculture. “We redesigned our business to become a technology company that is building solutions in the Agriculture space”, the Farmcrowdy boss shared.

Securing investments and loans have been some of the identified challenges faced by SMEs in agriculture, and Lolo Ruth Kadafa advised small business owners to pay attention to the value chain when seeking funding.

“Three key items, capacity, collateral and cash need to be properly evaluated before accessing the kind of agricultural loan one requires,” the financial expert added.

As a founder of a thriving fresh fruit juice company in Nigeria, Adesola Ladoja shared his experience in constantly adopting new technology for his business with the participants. He said, “You need to find a way to locally produce the mechanical tools needed to enhance the cost effectiveness of the agricultural process.”

The Revv Programme, which was launched in August 2020 to support SMEs seeking to survive and thrive in an unfamiliar economy due to the Covid pandemic, has benefited over 5,000 small business owners.

Its adoption of a four-pronged approach that includes masterclass sessions, support with productivity tools, access to market and advisory initiatives, ensures that SMEs gain knowledge from more than 30 business leaders and industry experts across various sectors.

Participants in The Revv Programme will also have a golden opportunity to join MTN’s Accelerator Programme, Y’ello 200.

The lucky small business owners will be selected to benefit from a broad range of technology and productivity support tools in addition to expert advisory.