The popular saying ‘time flies’ has again proven to be true in recent times. About 7 months ago the first case of the novel coronavirus was recorded in Nigeria. This has led to a major turn of events in the lives of many Nigerians, with over 54,000 confirmed cases and 1,000 plus deaths, recorded so far from complications of the virus.
The Nigerian government’s closure of international borders, restriction of intra-state movements and inter-state travels had its effects on small and medium scale enterprises (SME’s) and Agrorite was not left out as we also witnessed the need to change our mode of operations and imbibe new working processes such as working remotely to ensure that every member of our team remained safe during the peak of the pandemic. We have since provided personal protective gears for team members, provided necessary sanitary supplies at designated spots in the office both for guests and staff, and restructured working hours upon reopening of work spaces, all in a bid to contribute towards mitigating and stopping the spread of the virus.
As a technology based agricultural organization, we were able to take advantage of effective methods to cushion the effects of the pandemic on our activities through collaboration and optimization of available technology such as the satellite sensing technology in partnership with AirBus to enhance monitoring of farm activities even without necessarily making a trip to said farms. We also, put in motion a major collaboration with a household multimedia company, to employ interactive voice response (IVR) to boost our ability to effectively communicate with our farmers.
Our innovative nature no doubt has been an added advantage in ensuring that, off-taking the produce from the farm gate did not prove difficult, even at the peak of the pandemic as we were able to optimize use of our online Grocery store, Foodies.ng to off-take most of our poultry products and we also embraced the idea of opening up more aggregation centers for our farmers to restrict movements in line with the federal government Covid-19 guidelines.
With the reduction of the purchasing power of buyers due to the pandemic, ban on maize importation and tax increment by the federal government of Nigeria we have continued to remain afloat by opening up to more partners to ensure that we meet up with our initial projections. Also, we expanded in volumes, our exportation of agricultural commodities while broadening our clientele which has proven very profitable so far.
Amidst the uncertainties of the pandemic, Agrorite has continued to strive towards leaving a mark in the sands of time. This high level of resilience led to our recognition as the most innovative digital agricultural platform 2020 at the Africa Brands Awards and to securing partnerships with GoAfrica Gobal and Airbus even in this trying time.
While we hope that things go back to normal as soon as possible, we encourage the Nigeria government to put in place necessary measures to prevent major setbacks in the agricultural sector in the advent of unforeseen occurrences, to involve stakeholders in policy making and encourage partnerships to ensure that Nigeria is amongst the front liners in achieving Zero hunger come 2030.