The outbreak of the pandemic which has resulted in countries locking down economic activities. In Nigeria, this has had a negative effect on our business. The cost of raw materials (fresh catfish) has skyrocketed while the income flow rate has significantly dropped due to closure of major market segments of the business.
During this Covid-19 period I have had to think outside the box on how to manage the business and our people.
A realization is that a lot more can be done remotely through phone, internet, social media.
Meetings can be done on the internet saving money and time in travelling.
The outbreak of the pandemic has only given us encouragement that there is a greater light during these times. We have been able to connect with more businesses within the agricultural sector and we have done so through the sole power of technology and its tools available to us. This is the opportunity to become truly digital, we have to build this and the time is now. At my Company, this is what we breathe in day and night and we keep innovating ways to allow businesses connect to knowledge and
Being an agribusiness consulting and development firm, we experienced a significant increase in queries and requests for post-COVID-19 strategies – particularly when various foodstuff started running low in the country.
I am into Catfish farming and processing. I must say that it’s been quite challenging due to the increase in fish feed cost. However, I decided to focus on investing more as a means to cut down costs by acquiring a mini hammer mill for the production of fish feeds. This will reduce the cost on feeds by 40%.
We deal in poultry, catfish production, and feed-milling. We supply to the open markets and engaging smallholder farmers. With COVID-19, production and sales reduced drastically because of supply chain issues, staff were furloughed due to reduced production and increased cost of raw materials. Staff salaries could not be paid, because expenses went up, sales went down due to market closure.
We are into farming, processing & Sales of Agricultural produce. E.g. soybeans, sesame seed, cotton, cassava, and rice.
My COVID- 19 experience is as follows:-
1. We did a lot of supplies to manufacturers and end-users of our products, but have not received payment in over 6 weeks now. Some of the firms are closed, some are open but working skeletal, while some are in full production, but not making enough sales to pay.
2. Now we can’t make deliveries any longer from the hinterlands to Lagos
Despite huge demand for our products, logistics problems & just 1 cargo plane leaving for the U.K. to Nigeria has drastically affected our sales.
Sales are dependent on how fast our goods are received. It’s been several weeks of waiting & counting.
There’s nothing worse than telling your customers ‘out of stock’ hence missing out on opportunities to increase revenue.
I have a bad experience in regards to my business as a result of the total lockdown. The customers that used to come from various states to buy my chickens no longer come due to the lockdown, business is slow. Access to fund from customers and feeds is very difficult and I have to sell at cheaper rates to get back my capital. I have stopped business for now.
It has been extremely tough, I wish I was getting stimulus package like the people in US.
I have another business, it has two premises, I have not been able to pay bills for the two premises, I have sleepless nights and I am praying to God for a miracle. I have maintained two staffs, I have invested so much in them, if I release them life will be so difficult for them.
The pandemic has led us to embark on a work-from-home contingency plan. All staff are provided with essentials to ease their work such as internet access. Also, weekly meetings help staff to state challenges and gain insight on deliverables and management’s expectations. More recently, we added mid-week check in sessions to ensure all staff are doing well.
Using online work spaces like Slack have also enhanced productivity and helped us mirror the collaborative experience working in a physical