Recently there’s been a rise in the number of Nigerian startups offering solutions to the agriculture sector. One of them is Easyagro. We spoke with the founder, Oluwatoyin Alao in an interview, where he told us more about what his startup is doing.
Tell us a little about yourself
I’m Alao Oluwatoyin, I studied pure and applied chemistry in Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Oyo state, Nigeria. I’m the founder of Easyagro.
Tell us about Easyagro and the solutions you’re offering
Easyagro is an agricultural e-commerce site where small and medium scale farmers sell their farm produce to urban markets and end consumers.
We are helping farmers to drastically reduce their loss, the problem of logistics, help them solve marketing problem, maximize their profits, and at the same time solve the problem of unemployment, hunger and poverty.
What inspired the idea to begin Easyagro?
I’m of the opinion that the bigger the problem you solve the more successful you become. I noticed most of our farm produce end up being wasted because our farmers don’t have direct access to urban markets. This inspired the need to connect farmers directly to urban markets and end users, which in turn gave birth to Easyagro.
How does the Easyagro platform work?
The first step is to register on our website, either as a farmer (vendor) or buyer (customer) with an active email. Thereafter, the vendor which is the farmer, will login after we have approved the registration and upload picture, price and quantity of the produce. Also, when customers make their orders, we do the delivery.
Since launch, how has the response been from Nigerians?
The response as been very sluggish, you know Nigerians, we do not easily accept new products. But gradually, we are gaining acceptability.
What are some of the challenges you faced running Easyagro, and how were you able to overcome them?
At first building a formidable team was the biggest challenge as there was no cash to throw around but I had to convince them on the viability and the vision of the project, which they gradually bought into, to accept a promisory reward as the company attains quality growth.
For farmers who are not tech-savvy, how do you intend to reach out and bring them on the Easyagro platform?
Bringing non tech-savvy farmers on board is already in plan and this is one of the easiest project Easyagro will be embarking on. We plan to have farmers’ offline centers in each rural area, which will be handled by our agents. Farmers would be able to register with our agents, who will help them manage their accounts.
Tell us the story behind your foray into entrepreneurship
This started while I was rounding up my senior secondary school and I needed money for books. I had to start teaching primary school students after school. After my secondary education, I added added secondary school students to my list till I got admission.
Through this, I started adding value to myself, accompanied with a sense of financial freedom. The ecstasy that came with me solving problems, adding value and meeting financial needs built the entrepreneurial spirit in me.
What are the future plans for Easyagro?
For Easyagro, we plan to have a logistic systems that will have network coverage across in most African countries, for Easy movement of farm produce.