Determinants of Agripreneurship among the Farming Households: A Case Study in Ishielu LGA of Ebonyi State

Determinants of Agripreneurship among the Farming Households: A Case Study in Ishielu LGA of Ebonyi State

The ability of agricultural sector to create an environment so that farmers can be willing to embark in this sector is grossly required. Presently, the sector is still considered as secondary as compared to other more popular sectors such as manufacturing, commercial or even the government sector.

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This is largely due to the conventional opinion that the agricultural sector is a rough job with low salaries and does not promise a direct good future for the people. It is considered not the right place especially for those with high level of education. A better understanding of the attitudes of farmers towards agricultural entrepreneurship will enhance agripreneurial behavior in the country contributing to economic development, wealth creation for all and the alleviation of poverty (Heshmatollah, Homaion and Hossein, 2013).

To ensure increased economic opportunities and food security for households and the nation, adoption of “agripreneurship” education for enhancement of potentials of agricultural sector became imperative (Uneze, 2013).  Agripreneurship simply means entrepreneurship in agriculture. It can be seen as a process where by farmers become determined, creative, innovative, willing to take calculated risk, always looking for opportunities to improve and expand their farm business (Sancho, 2010). The peculiarities of the country’s agricultural sector provide further compulsion to the dire need for agripreneurship. This is ensure efficient utilization of available resources and optimum exploitation of opportunities that abound in the agribusiness value chain. According to sudarshan (2013), such opportunities include: Production of agriculture produce by making best use of the technology, resources and demand in the market; procurement and distribution, hiring of implements and equipment like tractors, seed drills, sprayers, harvesters, threshers, dryers and technical services such as installation of irrigation facilities, weed control, plant protection, harvesting, threshing, transportation, storage, etc. At input production level, there are many potential business opportunities viz: bio-fertilizers, bio-pesticides, soil amendments, plants of different species of fruits, vegetables, ornamentals, root media for raising plants in pots, agricultural tools, irrigation accessories, production of cattle feed concentrate, plants in pots, agricultural tools, irrigation accessories, production of cattle feed concentrate, mineral mixture and complete feed. There are good opportunities to support sericulture, fishery and poultry. Opportunities still abound in small scale agri-processing units, post harvest, marketing etc. Narendran and Ranganathan (2015) still opined that electronic marketing, cold supply chain, advisory and consultancy services provide immense scope and opportunity for the rural youths to function as agripreneurs for agricultural development and prosperity. Electronic marketing directly connects farmers with the customers and minimizes the role of middlemen in the supply chain. Cold supply chain integrates the whole supply chain for perishable products and minimizes the wastage at the production center, logistics and storage. Consultation and advisory services are very much necessary for implementing contract and corporate farming at the field level.

Agripreneurship is a concept specific to agriculture and drawn from wider entrepreneurship. It is very critical and urgent in the quest for improvement in agricultural sector. Agripreneurship is necessary for the socio-economic upliftment of the greater population through creation of new agribusiness, agricultural commodities value chains and overall economic growth (Uneze, 2013). To achieve these, the effort of agripreneurs who are individuals that undertake varieties of activities in agricultural sector cannot be understated. Agripreneurs are innovators who drive change in the economy by initiating new idea and creating new ways of carrying out different activities in input supply, production and marketing in agriculture. In general, agripreneurs should be proactive, curios, determined, persistent, visionary, hardworking, honest, integrity with strong managerial and organizational skills in order to identify and exploit available opportunities (shoji, Kerobim, Kushwaha, Meena and Pravin Kumar, 2014). Despite the participation of farming households in entrepreneurial activities, its development has not been fully embraced. Employing entrepreneurship skill in farming lead to reduction in poverty among the farming households, but the extent of poverty reduction is still very insignificant, which is an indication that farmers have not fully taken advantage of some of the agripreneurial activities or have participated to a less extent. Hence, if the current transformation agenda of the federal government on poverty reduction through farming activities must be actualized, there is urgent need to provide adequate entrepreneurship programme for farmers in order to address factors that hinder the growth and development of farmer entrepreneurs (Mbam and Nwibo, 2013).

Problem Statement

The potential of Nigeria’s agriculture and its dwindling fortune has placed urgent need to develop an arrangement that can support agricultural development which is presently constrained by inadequate technologies, institutional weaknesses, and problems of organization and management of research, education and extension system (Uneze, 2013).     In line with Orji (2013); poverty, use of manual farm tools/methods, ignorance, lack of road, water and electricity, lack of food storage and processing facilities, lack of modern farm machines or techniques, lack of scientific and technological know-how and global warming have been identified as great challenges among farming household in Nigeria rural communities.

Most rural farmers seem not to be aware of modern agricultural practices and effective agri-management systems. In Nigeria, problems of unemployment, underemployment and disguised unemployment have swamped the country, especially the rural farmers (Shoji et al, 2014). Furthermore, there is a wide gap existing between agriculture and agribusiness which can be filled by agripreneurship that has the ability of converting farm to agribusiness units (Narendran and Ranganathan, 2015). Farmers need knowledge, information about primary agricultural techniques and methods of production, harvesting, processing, wholesaling and retailing, financial services, transport, packaging, promotion and advisory services (Ravindra and Sweta, 2015). The technical, managerial and innovative skills required to mitigate the above challenges is offered by agripreneurship. This remains the remedy to the quest for agricultural transformation.

Therefore, for our agriculture to remain competitive in the global economy there is need to inject new ideas and creative processes for value creation in a sustainable manner (Uneze 2013). Agripreneurship is a process of creating value through establishing a unique assembly of resources in order to exploit opportunities that abound in the environment mostly in agriculture (Maghsoudi et al, 2011 citing Moghimi, 2003). It is considered as an economical development engine in the competitive market based economy accompanied with the speedy changes and revolutions, which can develop the country’s economy, increase productivity, provide job and cause social welfare (Tahmasb, Masoud and Haniel, 2011 citing Milton-kelly, 2003).
In line with Bergevoet (2005); McElwee and Boswarth, (2010), sustainable development of agricultural land requires the development of agripreneurial and organizational competency in farmers since the need for an entrepreneurial culture in agricultural sector has been recognized in recent decades. Agripreneurship is an employment strategy that can lead to economic self-sufficiency of rural dwellers which are mostly farmers (Nagalakshmi and Sudhakar, 2013).     But despite the need for entrepreneurship in agriculture; and the factors that limit households in making agriculture a business; available studies seem to not have identified those factors that influence agripreneurship among farming households in  Ishielu Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.
In order to provide possible solutions to the problem the following research questions were asked:-

What are the socio-economic characteristics of the farming households in the area?
What are the agripreneurship opportunities available and ventured by smallholder farmers in the area?
Are there factors that influence farming households in becoming agripreneurs in the area?
Do socio-economic attributes of the farming households in the area influence their agripreneurship drive?
What is the level of utilization of agripreneurial skill by the farming households?
What are the constraint factors to farming households agripreneurship drive?

Objectives of the Study

The broad objective of the study is to analyze the determinants of agripreneurship among the farming households of Ishielu Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.
Specifically, the objectives are; to:
i.    describe the socio-economic characteristics of farmer agripreneurs in the area.
ii.    characterized the various agripreneurial opportunities available and ventured by the farming households in the area;
iii.    analyze the factors that influence farming households in becoming agripreneurs in the area.
iv.    determine the effect of the socio-econom ic characteristics of the farming households in becoming agripreneurs.
v.    analyze the constraints to agripreneurship among the farming households in the area;

Hypothesis
Based on the objective of the study, the following null hypothesis will be tested:
H01: Farming households in Ishielu Local Government Area are not agipreneurial.
H02: The socio-economic characteristics of the farming households in Ishielu local government area do not have significant effect on agripreneurship.

Justification for the Study

Agripreneurship is perceived by policy makers as one of the most visible hope for farmers’ well being and the entire development process. The challenge in the study area lies in assessing the level of agripreneurship drives, and key factors that would constitute a framework which can be used as a basis for building a plateform in which agriprenuerial initiatives can thrive. This study shall expose the major determinants of agripreneurship among farming households. This knowledge is needed for policy adjustment on issues relating to farmers’ welfare. This can be achieved by identifying those elements that constitutes barriers to agripreneurship and proferring solution to each. Also, the output of this work will help other studies relating to career counselling and agripreneurship issues in agribusiness. Farming households can be better informed, guided and sensitized on the need to initiate new pattern of carrying out different activities in the different stages of agricultural production instead of relying on one method of achieving their goals.
Furthermore, it will serve as a guide to researchers, government and other government agencies like ministry of Agriculture (MOA) and Agricultural Development Programme (ADP) in formulating policies and implementation of plans that will assist in improving the skills of the farmers. As a result of this, a platform for further research is created.

CHAPTER TWO
LITERATURE REVIEW

It is very necessary and essential in this study to review related literature in line with the objective of the study to help in analyzing the determinants of agripreneurship among the farming households in the study area. For clarity, this research work will be reviewed precisely under the following headings based on the views of other researchers:-
Concept and scope of agripreneurship
Definition of agripreneurship
Concept of Agribusiness
Agripreneurship areas in agriculture
Determinants of agripreneurship in agribusiness
Needs of agripreneurship and its role to national development
Constraints to development of agripreneurship
Enterpreneur’s quality and enterpreneurial skills for     agripreneurship.

Concept and Scope of Agripreneurship

Traditionally, agriculture is seen as a low-tech industry with limited dynamics dominated by numerous small family firms, which are mostly focused on doing things better rather than doing new things. This situation is changing dramatically due to economic liberalization, a reduced protection of agricultural markets, and a fast changing, more critical, society. Farms and agro-allied industries increasingly have to adapt to the vagaries of the market, changing consumer habits, enhanced environmental regulations, new requirements for product quality, chain management, food safety, sustainability, and so on. These changes have cleared the way for new entrants, innovation, and portfolio agripreneurship (Nagalakshmi and Sudhakar, 2013).
In Nigeria today, the mantra “beyond oil” has become a ‘buzz word’ owing to dwindling revenue from oil and its attendant adverse effect on the economy and citizens’ welfare. Governments have acknowledged the impact of Agribusiness Small and Micro agro- Enterprises (SMEs) on job creation, improvement of people’s standards of living and hence an overall impact on the economy and thus encouraging entrepreneurship in agricultural sector as a way of diversifying the economic reliance on oil for development. The term agripreneurship is used to describe dynamic process of creating incremental wealth from agricultural sector (Shailesh et al., 2013). This wealth is created by individuals who take the major risks in terms of equity, time and carrier commitment of providing value to some product or services. The product or service itself may or may not be new or unique but value must somehow be infused by an agripreneur by securing and allocating the necessary skill and resources (Olatomide and Omowumi, 2015).
Of course, agriculture all over the world is going through a phase of transition. In this changing scenario, agripreneurship is aimed at taking new shape and expanding the scope of agriculture beyond the limits of mere crop cultivation and animal husbandry for livelihood of rural population. Activities like diversification, value addition, precision farming, high-tech agriculture, global marketing, organic farming etc. are gradually getting due attention of people involved on redefining agriculture as a result of agripreneurship. Agripreneurship is an employment strategy that can lead to economic self-sufficiency of rural people. The development of Agripreneurship through training is a key elements for the promotion of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), particularly, the first generation agripreneurs. These can result in improved performance of an individual that can contribute to employment generation, poverty reduction and Human Resource Development.

Definition of Agripreneurship
It is worth of note that the emergence of free market economies globally has resulted in the development of agripreneurship which is a new spirit of farm enterprise. This also increased individual need for responsibility for running their respective agribusinesses (Alex, 2011). Agripreneurship means entrepreneurship in agriculture. It is a concept specific to agriculture coined from the profitable marriage of agriculture and entrepreneurship (Shoji et al, 2014).According to Dollinger (2003) agripreneurship can be seen as the creation of innovative economic organization for the purpose of growth or gain under conditions of risk and uncertainty in agriculture. In line with Sancho (2010), agripreneurship is a process whereby farmers become determined, creative, innovative, willing to take calculated risk, always look for opportunities to improve and expand their farm businesses. Every farmer is always in quest for improved standard of living, hence agripreneurship is connected to finding ways and means to creat and develop a profitable farm business through agripreneurs who should be proactive, curious, determined, persistent, visionary, hardworking, honest, integrity with strong management and organizational skills (Shoji et al, 2014). The key to agripreneurial success is finding creative ways that best meet human demands by applying new technologies and market better, faster and less costly new agricultural products thereby initiating value creation in agribusiness (Roozbeh, 2014 citing Saeidi, 2009).

Concept of Agribusiness

The word agribusiness was first used by John H. Davis of Harvard University (1955). It is quite a unique discipline that encompasses all the activities that are involved in agriculture. Davis and Goldberg (1957) defined agribusiness as the sum total of all the activities that are involved in the manufacturing and distribution of farm supplies, production operation on the farm, commodities and items made from them. It is seen as science and practice of activities with forward and backward trade, distribution of raw and processed food, feed and fibre including supply service. The forward and backward linkage consists of four major sectors, which are:-
i.    Agricultural inputs:- This involves the supply of inputs such as feed, fertilizer, equipment, energy, pesticide and machinery.
ii.    Agricultural Production:- deals with the production of agricultural products.
iii.    Agro-processing:- Involves the processing, manufacturing of raw commodities of food and fibre.
iv.    Agricultural marketing:- This is the distributing sector which involve the activities of credit insurance, marketing and consultancy.

These four sectors act as interrelated part of a system in which the success of each sector depends to a large extent on the proper functioning of the other sector. This agribusiness is all about how to conduct successful business in the food and agricultural related sector.
Encyclopedia Britannica defines agribusiness broadly as “Agricultural operated business specially a part of a modern economy, devoted to the production, processing and distribution of food, fibre product and by-product including the financial institution that funds these activities (Encyclopedia Britannica, 2011). A simplistic definition states that agribusiness refers to any business related to agriculture including farming, processing, exporting, input supply, trading and retailing (USAID, 2008). It denotes the collective business activities that are performed from farm to table. It covers agricultural inputs supplies, producers, agro-process distributors, traders, exporters, retailers and consumer.
Agribusiness deals with Chemistry, biology, business, economics and agriculture of food. Of the five domains which make up agribusiness, the most important two are business and economics because businessmen ensure exchange of goods and economists place the rules for those exchanges. This fact applies most when it concerns the food industries. The agribusiness sector which comprises the collective business activities performed from farm to table is an important generator of employment and income, worldwide. Agribusiness is a principal source of value addition for primary agricultural products. It is a catalyst for the development of efficient value chain; a contributor to improved product quality and safety; and a provider of service that allow food to flow from production to consumption. Modernization of food systems and globalization of their downstream segments, including processing and retailing, has led substantial changes in the organization and performance of agric-food in chain, particularly in the developing world (Vorley et al, 2007). Agribusiness involves uncertainty in its production process or operation and agripreneurial ability such as risk and how to correlate risk to the level of profit that will be made.

Agripreneurship Areas in Agriculture

Agribusiness environment is diverse, complex and subject to changes. Any effort to thoroughly exploit the opportunities that abound in the tri-aggregates of agribusiness is tantamount to growth in agricultural sector (Ezike, Nwibo and Odoh, 2009). Agripreneurship develops communities and drives economic growth in competitive environment and in condition of imbalances (Roozbeh et al, 2014).
It is clear that there is a great scope for entrepreneurship in agriculture and this potentiality can be tapped only by effective management of agri elements such as – soil, seed, water and market needs (Shoji et al, 2014). The possible areas of entrepreneurship in agriculture are:-
Agro produce processing units – There units do not manufacture any new product. They merely process the agriculture produce e.g. Rice mills, Dal mills, decorticating mills etc.
Agro Produce manufacturing units – These units produce entirely new products based on the agricultural produce as the main raw material. E.g.-Sugar factories, Bakery, Straw board units etc.
Agro-inputs manufacturing units – These units produce goods either for mechanization of agriculture on for increasing manufacturing plants, e.g.-Fertilizer production units food processing units, agricultural implements etc.
Agro service centres –These include the workshops and service centre for repairing and serving the agricultural implement used in agriculture.
Miscellaneous areas – besides the above mentioned areas, the following areas may prove to be encouraging to establish agri enterprises such as setting up of Apiaries ,feed processing units, seed processing units, mushroom production units, commercial vermin-compose units, goat rearing farmers club, organic vegetable and fruits retail outlet, bamboo plantation and jatropha cultivation (Shoji et al, 2014).

In line with Sudarshan (2013), the opportunities for agripreneurship are summarized as follows:
At Farm Level: Production of agricultural produce by making best use of technologies, resources and demands in the market.
As Service Providers: These include the input procurement and distribution, hiring of implements and equipment like tractors, seed drills, sprayers, harvesters, threshers, dryers and technical services such as installation of irrigation facilities, weed control, plant protection, harvesting, threshing, transportation, storage, etc
Input Producers: There are many potential business opportunities viz. bio-fertilizers, bio-pesticides, vermi-compost, soil amendments, plants of different species of fruits, vegetables, ornamentals, root media for raising plants in pots, agricultural tools, irrigation accessories, production of cattle feed concentrate, plants in pots, agricultural tools, irrigation accessories, production of cattle feed concentrate, mineral mixture and complete feed. There are good opportunities to support sericulture, fishery and poultry.
Value Chain / Processing / Marketing: Small scale agri-processing units, post harvest, etc.

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