Farmkart, The Past & The Future
When the sun shines on clay and wax; clay gets stronger, wax melts. But when it rains, both the wax and the clay get wet.
Coronavirus disease was the rain of 2020. The entire world, all races, rich or poor, old or young, clay or wax, felt the impact of the pandemic. But here’s how it affected Farmkart:
Throwback to 2020.
We came into 2020 with the aspirations to scale Farmkart by over 500 percent considering how we have consolidated our processes and have efficiently made a profit for years. But 2020 had other plans. The national lockdown, which lasted months, hampered our demand and supply chains.
Challenges and successes.
As far as challenges go, we have had a little more than our fair share. At the end of 2020, the inflation rate in Nigeria had risen to 15.92%.
However, in our sector, prices of feed increase by nearly 100% in the same time. In January 2020, a 15kg bag of layers feed was sold for N2,750. Today, the same goes for almost N5,000. This has affected our processes a lot, but we keep working around it. We will continue to work with feed companies such as Olam, TopFeed, Animal Care to surmount the challenge.
Astronomical import duty, delay at the seaport, and the rising cost of farm inputs, and building materials also affected our operations in the year under review.
Despite the pandemic, we went on with our expansion plans and received our first expansion shipment which contained the 30,000-bird fully automated poultry cages excluding egg picking setup.
As a result, we kicked off the construction of new poultry pens. This is currently on-going, and as of January 31, 2021, we had completed 50% of the construction. The second shipment, which has the entire poultry housing needed to complete the project, is on the way and is due to arrive in the last week of February.
We would also be putting a purchase value on our POL Point Lay of Birds so they would be ready by the conclusion of the pen house. We plan to have this section up and running by the second quarter of 2021. This new set up will increase our capacity from 69,000 eggs to 792,000 eggs, every 30 days!
Energy for us and the community
Our farm electrification project was also completed in 2020. In the process, we also brought power into our host community, ensuring that many of the houses in the area became part of the national grid for the first time. We have also upgraded our alternative power source, getting a new generating set and fixing our solar power units as support systems.
This, we believe, will ensure that the project enjoys an uninterrupted power supply while reducing our diesel consumption as our new fish breeding system needs at least 20 hours of constant power on a daily basis.
Looking Forward to 2021
On January 22 this year, we turned five and this also signified the birth of a new beginning in our business. A few changes to expect:
Change In Business Model:
We are evolving from an agri-invest platform to an agri-retail platform. This change means that you will probably evolve from an investor to a consumer of the products we produce on the farm. Our focus will continue to be on protein — fish and poultry products but this time, we will bring it to the comfort of your kitchen.
New aquaculture experience
In line with our sustainability approach, we are switching to the recirculating aquaculture system. This is a sustainable and efficient model, which saves 90 percent water and produces significantly less waste while increasing output.
We are currently constructing three recirculatory tanks with the capacity to produce 200 tons of catfish per annum — that is 600,000 fishes per year. We would also be adding nine more tanks to bring our annual production to 2,400,000 fishes.
With our eyes on the continent, we are also flagging off a fully operational processing arm for our fishes. This will enable us to add value to our fishes and open up the market across this country and the rest of Africa. As our studies have found, the demand for smoked fishes is on the rise, due to its longer shelf life and the amazing varieties of delicacy this can be used for.
We are taking these bold steps to serve you better.
Website upgrade: Farmkart 3.0
Having evolved, we want to reflect our growth and progress on our digital home. As part of our utilitarian celebration, we are upgrading the website to reflect the changes we have seen in the business in the last five years.
The new website will reflect our corporate identity, showing you all the divisions of our business from poultry to consulting. It would also show our corporate governance structure. Everything about our culture will be communicated via the website.
Partnership with USAID Trade Hub
Farmkart is now a partner of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) West Africa Trade Hub Initiative. USAID is granting Farmkart $500K to expand our aquaculture operations to Delta State. This expansion will double our current capacity and provide jobs to over 50 youth and women in the state.
As we find our way out of the world-resetting situation, we embrace the beginning of a new season. We feel optimistic about the year 2021 than any other year in our history and we know that with you on our side, we can and we will continue to break new frontiers and succeed.