3 blog posts ago I did a write-up on Value chains in agriculture and 1 post ago I wrote about opportunities within the rice value chain. I received some really interesting questions and that prompted this post.
As agripreneurs it is fundamental that we master the art of collaboration. There is no doubt in my mind that if we can work together as a cohesive unit, leveraging off each other’s skill we are more likely to succeed. Given the nature our business environment, such as a general lack of trust, difficulty of enforcing contracts etc, collaboration might be challenging. Nevertheless we have to figure out a way to successfully work together.
Agriculture is considered a high risk business and this makes access to funds very challenging. However if we can work together, we can build social capital which could help reduce the risk in our business and in turn make it a little less difficult to access funds. We can serve as each others incubators in the start-up phase of our agribusinesses.
Being an agripreneur does not necessarily mean you have to come up with a completely new idea, you could come up with innovative ways of improving what already exist. This will help minimise risk and reduce cost and can help build up capital for completely new ideas which carry more risks. Don’t get me wrong I’m all for new and radical ideas as well. But we have to get creative about accessing funds.
I was watching a programme tonight on Aljazeera called Witness (Mustafa’s sweet dreams). It was about a 16-year-old Turkish kid that lived and worked in a village and had big dreams of becoming a master in the art of Baklava (turkish pastry) in the capital city Istanbul. After training for about 3 years he goes away to Istanbul with borrowed money and baklava and no contacts in Istanbul. He negotiates for a room with his baklava (a true entrepreneur, making the best of what he has). He tries to get a job but that didn’t work out and then he gets robbed. However he meets this girl who is a street vendor selling bread rolls and is impressed by her and he follows her for a few days in spite of her constantly resisting him. He persists and she eventually warms up to him, then he asks if they can work together a.k.a COLLABORATE and bingo a business partnership is formed. Notice how he did not go about trying to raise money to buy his own cart or find the best location to set up. He proposed the idea to her and all he had to do was show up with his baklava and use her already existing equipments ( I realise setting up an agribusiness is much more complex but I hope you see my point). Mustafa really inspired me, I love it when people follow their dreams against all odds and meet with success.
Also a while back I listened to an interview with Bill Gates and Steve Jobs(R.I.P), the host asked them to give each other a compliment, Steve gave credit to Bill for his ability to collaborate successfully with other companies, which contributed to their rapid growth and success. He admitted that it was something Apple was learning to do better.
Together we are better & stronger!
Thank you for taking time out to read this post. Look forward to reading your ideas and thoughts.