Dreamfield Farms adopts long-term sustainability farming
The Chief Executive Officer of Dreamfield Farms Limited, Osun State, Roland Omoresemi, has described Nigeria’s agriculture sector as a fundamental part of its overall economic outlook, which accounts for 24.4 per cent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
He however, said the value chain is highly underdeveloped making it largely a subsistence-based venture, which, in the long term, is an unsustainable means of livelihood for millions of farmers and investors in the agriculture sector.
“Agriculture is Nigeria’s single largest economic sector, but it is mired in huge challenges that make investment tenuous and fraught with high risks in the entire value chain of the sector. Despite these frightening indices, investment in the sector can be rewarding with a long-term approach at overcoming each challenge along the value chain. This is what Dreamfield Farms; an integrated agriculture enterprise based in Osun State has been working on since it kicked off business over two years ago.
“Long-term sustainability farming through value chain ownership is a model Dreamfield has had to evolve through practical on-hand experience at managing an agriculture enterprise in Nigeria. Dreamfield is a 30-acre farm located along the Ife-Ibadan road in Ikire, Osun State. It started out as a poultry farm with 12,000 broilers raised every 42 days and had to halt its operations following some of the challenges described below. The issues encountered include incessant increasing cost of production with negative impact on profitability. While middlemen and buyers benefitted from these increases, Dreamfield got stuck with rising expenses, which could not be mitigated by sales of produce,” he said.
Omoresemi added that problems of unreliable and uneducated workforce, as well as integrity and trust issues, which resulted in embezzling of funds also contributed to it, noting that the farm had no direct access to market as it operated under middlemen to buyers and consumers that isolated it directly from consumers of its products.
“To address these issues, Dreamfield decided to diversify its offering by embarking on a journey that would let her own the entire value chain through which it gets its produce directly into the hands of its consumers. Owning a value chain for Dreamfield meant owning all aspects of production and wholesale and retail markets that bring the end-consumer closer and directly to buying its farm products.
“Following an exhaustive period of research and development, Dreamfield resolved to a strategy that involved adopting and implementing a Farm to Table (farm2table) concept that included mechanised farming and cultivation of its 30 acres, which required acquisition of scarce farm tractors and implements for use and rental to local farmers; cultivation of exotic fruits and vegetables to be processed and sold through a Juice & Salad Bar; scaling back on broiled production to push toward organic production of farm animals – just enough to sell through Dreamfield’s retail outlet; building of retail food outlets through which it can build a ‘customers’ following’ and subsequently sell its produce; and processing of farm produce into their last mile capability (chicken to sausage, cassava to flour, packaged products, among others).
He stressed that the implementation of the strategy has resulted in the opening of a state of the art Juice & Salad Bar at Oshopey Plaza on Allen Avenue, Ikeja, Lagos; launch of a global weight-loss programme that relies on fruits and vegetables produced from its network of farms; mobilisation of two Massey Ferguson tractors with eight implements including plastic mulching machine; opening of a global packaging and distribution channel for processed produce, thereby allowing Dreamfield to sell things like shea butter, black soap, groundnut, kolanut, bitter kola, and moringa.
Since the implementation of its value chain ownership model, Omoresemi hinted that its supply chain including its agricultural equipment has been opened to other farmers. “Farmers can sell their produce directly to one of our Juice & Salad Bars; rent our farm equipment; get their produce processed and packaged through one of our channels.”
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