Skills training making farming a business

António Alberto Murrepetho is making good business from farming.

Murrepetho, owns Murrepet & Filhos, a small enterprise in Namiconha Village, Ribáuè District in Mozambique which buys grain from smallholder farmers and sells it to big buyers in Nampula Province. The business, started seven years ago, would be bigger than what it is had Murrepetho knew then what he knows now about agripreneurship.

The lack of business management skills and access to financing are some of the key constraints faced by agriculture entrepreneurs in Africa.

Convinced of the potential of agriculture and agribusiness to drive economic transformation in Africa, AGRA is promoting a raft of impactful and influential interventions targeted at boosting smallholder farmer productivity while targeting investments to grow businesses that serve farmers in their environment such as agro-dealerships and agro processors.

The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) is supporting the development of agriculture value chain actors through the OTUMIHA initiative. OTUMIHA is a capacity building programme under the MIRUKU COOP consortium, one of the implementors of AGRA’s projects in the northern region of Mozambique.

The MIRUKU COOP, a business development cooperative which leads the consortium, includes the Nampula Association of Extension Agents (AENA) and AGMARK Mozambique and is implementing the Sustainable Market for Smallholder farmers project in Nacala Corridor – Otumiha. The project focuses on creating on local capacity for Small Medium Enterprises including agro dealers/traders, processors and out grower firms, farmers, and farmer’s organization to strengthen managerial capacity and market access.

Murrepetho says his passion for running an farming business was enough to spur him to establish his agro-dealership in 2013 but he realised he need the right business skills to manage his enterprise.

“Many people think that the projects should give money,” says Murrepethohe.“That is not the perspective of OTUMIHA, which does more for people who want to be agro dealers. I learnt how to organize my business, buy high volume and quality products.”

The key to business success lies in building trust and being a good negotiator, skills Murrepetho says are drilled through business training.

“I was already doing business with groups like ETG, AGRO-CELESTE, but there had no confidence in me. But, since I joined the OTUMIHA network, changed. I know how to develop business plans that helps in running my business.”

Murrepetho has a 250 MT warehouse and a shop. In the last marketing season he sold 77 metric tonnes of maize, 3MT of sesame ad 52 MT of cowpea. He is now constrained by limited warehouse space.

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