COVID-19 has been a monstrous monster! Yes, we know, but Nigerians must eat nonetheless! With rising food prices, especially onions now the ‘new gold’, and other COVID-19 complications, we understand that marketing of farm produce this year is a challenge for some farmers.
Worry no more as AgroNigeria brings you eight strategies you can employ to market your produce to distributors, retailers and consumers generally, for more profitability. Damn the pandemic!
However, to effectively market your produce, you must be able to effectively answer these two questions:
a. Do you know your market targets?
b. What does the market or consumers want?
What consumers want to buy is more important than what the farmer wants to grow. Once you grow what the market wants, finding customers and distributors for your farm products will be a lot easier than trying to sell to people who are not interested.
Okay, straight into the eight marketing strategies:
1. Product branding
Branding is the use of a name, term, symbol or design to identify a product. Branding allows you to clearly identify and personalize the superior nature of your product relative to those of your competitors. If your brand succeeds in convincing your customer that you have a superior product, customers will be willing to pay more for your product relative over your competitors’.
2. Supply to food markets
Commercial food markets are a great place to find retailers. Most of these markets hold two-times a week with thousands of traders regularly trading farm produce at retail prices. Large markets are good opportunities for farmers to make huge profits because of the large customer traffic. You could approach these large markets, make them aware of your farm’s existence and how you can offer them a better deal that beats their existing suppliers’ delivery. You can also find distributors who want to resell your farm produce in large quantities. With a hold on a few key distributors, you can move your farm produce as fast as they are harvested. For these markets, however, certain levies are charged by the market heads for the space occupied.
3. Supply to manufacturing/food production companies
Food production companies in Nigeria are major buyers of agricultural produce. The key to making this kind of sales, however, is to have a large production capacity and efficiency rate so you can meet up with their demand. Factories that are in need of raw agricultural produce can also be contacted to sell your agricultural produce to them.
4. Partnership with large retail stores
Partnering with retail stores is a good way to ensure sales for your produce. There are several small-scale retail stores where you can supply your produce in their grocery section. However, targeting large chain retail stores will also require you to have competitive prices for your produce.
5. Hotels and restaurants
As a farmer, you can supply your produce to restaurants and eateries in the country. The larger the hotel or restaurant, the larger their demand will be, obviously. This is a fairly saturated market, so your prices must be competitive in order to make good sales.
6. Farmer associations
Farmer associations and cooperatives are also cost-effective avenues to market both your farm and your produce as they always have access to cooperative agricultural trade fairs and state-approved market centres.
Spending on advertising can also give you a high level of exposure. This is especially brilliant for new product launches where there is always concern about brand recognition and the need for mass marketing. Advertising can be done through different media:
a. Print media
Magazines and newspapers have a very large, often traditional, audience that you can pass your product information to. The information in print media is permanent and can be viewed for many years to come. Therefore, the graphics of your product must stand out to draw the reader’s attention.
b. Radio and television
With the power of sound and visuals for radio and television respectively, you can reach out to mass message on the availability, location and markets for your products.
c. Social media
Social media provides a brilliant way to influence audiences outside of the traditional media. Social media has become highly integrated into people’s daily lives. When done correctly, social media advertising can help greatly shoot-up your sales record.
8. Online markets
With the continued widespread use of the internet across all classes of the Nigerian society, online retail channels have been added to the traditional distribution chain and are proving to be effective for the sale of agricultural produce. By using existing online markets such as Jumia, Agromarket, Supermart and Farmsquare, farmers can reach more Nigerian consumers. Alternatively, you can create your own identity by getting a registered farm name or a website for your farm.
As you can glean from the strategies discussed above, proper planning and prior knowledge of the produce market is necessary for marketing agricultural produce or products in Nigeria. Also, negotiating skills is critical for success in a market with little or no price regulation.
So, garb yourself with these strategies and watch the nairas rain on you!