Our Knowledge management and communication executive was in attendance at the Aviana West Africa Expo 2019 and this article captures her experience, thoughts and conclusions. She hopes to teach the readers a few things from her experience at this event that happened from the 24th-25th of April, 2019.
The Exhibition was attended by various industry names from Nigeria and beyond. It was a two days event that saw the likes of Top feeds, Big Dutchman, Sakata and Xgems Global limited, Olam, Funtana, Covenant University, Animal care and Aqualis.
The Exhibition was a two day event and there were so many people in attendance. As I journeyed through the aisles of various brands ranging from Agro Insurance companies to pharmaceutical companies and those new companies that are providing digital experiences like Farmsquare which is an online store for sellers of farm inputs and out puts, I realized that there were more old people in attendance than young ones.
The older generation seemed to be more interested in this field and at old age would journey down from as far as the eastern Side of the country and some from Borno (Northern part of Nigeria) just to liaise with their partners from across the country even those of International borders.
As I took a walk into the Hall where the discussions were happening, there seemed to be just three major concerns of the panelists:
- The future of Agriculture
- Processing versus Production in the money market
It seems like the older farmers are trying all means possible to get younger farmers or young minds on board and it seems that isn’t working. Elder Ezekiel Ibrahim the National chairman for poultry farmers in Oyo state Reminded farmers that “Cooperatives are very important for farmers because a tree doesn’t make a Forest. We as farmers cannot get the best of Agriculture without Unity”.
The next speaker in person of Chief Bisi Ilaka advised more youths to be involved in Agriculture and that farmers should ensure that they get better in their processes. It seems (from the conversations), that the older farmers are trying all means possible to get younger farmers or young minds on board and it seems that is not working. The Older farmers were enjoined to hand the business of Agriculture over to their kids; Knowing that Agriculture is not just about planting but processing, linguistics, packaging and so on.
There was so much urgency and pain in his voice which got me asking myself some questions like: what if my kids are interested in Poetry or Inventions that won’t necessarily influence Agriculture? It seems like I need to start learning how to influence them early on later in life.
He encouraged the women to continue with their involvement in Agriculture and not get tired.
Another thing that stood out for me was the team I went with and in particular the Sakata National Sales manager in person of Mr Goodluck who didn’t only communicate the act of marketing with words but mostly his actions.
This man is not just a firm person but an excellent sales man. He knows ALL the prices for all the seeds available for sale by heart and will do anything to take money out of the hands of those who came to make enquiries.
So, picture this: you choose to walk around to see what is happening at various vendors or exhibition stands; then you see a stand with colorful backgrounds where the Pink shirts make you wanna say hi! Then the folks there give you the brightest smile just as you are about to look away, lure you with their big HELLO! And you are forced to stay back for like 30 seconds (in your mind hoping that this will not take a while..loool…YOU WISH!)
So, you enter the booth and you are greeted with: “Good day; we are representatives of Sakata/X Gems Company and we sell Premium hybrid seeds…” ( while you are listening or doubting in your mind), they hit you with the Question: “what Vegetables do you plant or have interest in?” (After giving you a rundown of all the seeds they have available for sale in less than a minute).
Then you have to say something or you are reminded of what you talked to a friend about; so, you either call the friend or answer for yourself. While you were listening to the question, a seed of interest has been sown and then you want to check them out. In the same second, you remember that you have planned to use that money for something else, right there and then, Mr Goodluck will start singing and dancing for you. Telling you the importance of each seed, variety and how to make the most money per seed or hectare, start a relationship with you and your business instantly.
He would hail you till you drop all your cash including your money for gas or transport fare and feeding allowance; I am not kidding, He is That Good.
I watched him do this for a long time and I then asked him about how he is able to do that effortlessly and he said:
- You cannot buy experience, I have been doing this from the years I had to hawk pure water over 15years ago
- You don’t get a second opportunity to make a first impression; make the first impression count
- Marketing is not just about knowing the price or telling people about the price or product, you must become it or embody it.
At the end of the day, Every opportunity counts, every season of your life counts and most of all, because of the conversations around Agriculture, this field will be number one again in Nigeria.