Topez Farms is concerned about the waste that is inherent in the journey of food from farm-to-table, local farmers' lack of proper knowledge on the best farming techniques, non availability of storage facilities in many farming local communities in Nigeria, especially in Rivers State where our company is situated and other numerous agricultural challenges we face in our communities.
- We hope to reduce this waste by building a platform that allows farmers to only harvest their produce as order comes in.
The plarform is www.topezfarms.com. It is still in the prototype stage (though we hope to launch in January 2019). Topez Farms ecommerce platform works like this:
A customer places an order, and by his location, the nearest farmer or cluster of farmers to him that major on the ordered product is contacted to prepare the order. The preparation process is hygienically done and properly packaged for shipping. The order is shipped to the customer's address or a pickup location nearest to him. Our pickup locations will be schools and worship centres. About 10% worth of every order shipped to a pickup location will be invested there. If it is a school, it will be invested in their nutrition program and if it is a worship centre, it will be used to support the poor widows, elderly and children.
Also as part of creating a larger market for our local farmers, we are already establishing contacts with boarding schools, hotels, food businesses like restaurants and cafeterias, and food industries for possible partnership.
In our partnership with schools, we are not just supplying them with local fresh farm produce, but we hope to help them establish and run nutritional programs where we can teach and influence the students to be key players in the agricultural industry. We hope to instill in the minds of these young ones to be job creators even in their high school state through innovation and technology in the agricultural industry.
The lack of proper knowledge on the best practiced farming techniques is one of the factors that has militated against sporadic agricultural increase and sustainability of the rural communities in my state. This challenge is what we at the Topez Farms shall carry out through the educational arm of the company and our partners.
As a child who grew up from a local farming community in Rivers state of Nigeria, I observed my parents and other farming members of the community were stocked in the same method of planting their food crops which has never known increased yield for years and they never changed tactics because they never knew any and the few that knew (if at all) were afraid to try it out. They're left to fate as to the extent their crop can yield. They lack the basic knowledge of climate changes and how to readjust their planting period to fit in so as to have bumper harvest.
Topezfarms has seen this need and is all out to address it by organizing community based agricultural trainings. Our major areas in the training will be:
- Latest farming techniques that best suit their soil type and crops planted.
- Agricultural value chain, where they occupy, and how to improve their products with respect to which point in the value chain they occupy.
- Financial Grants. Many local farmers cannot implement some of the techniques they have known so far because even the money to get the simplest tools is not available. So as part of our commitment to seeing a more food secured and sustainable Nigeria and Africa, we will invest heavily in the local farmers farms by either purchasing the tools for them or make them available for hire at a subsidized rate. Of cause making viable farm inputs available isat the core of this outreach.
Due to the expected high number of farmers in every farming community, we intend to start with a selected few who we shall call Pioneer Topez Farmers (maybe 20 farmers in each community) and use their farms as demonstration points. During the harvest period, a comparison will be made between the pioneer Topez Farmers and none Topez Farmers. The pioneer farmers can then help train their fellow farmers with the support from us while we still focus on designing more effective systems and creating more markets for their products.
Nonavailability of storage facilities especially in the rural communities in my state has lead local farmers to either sell off their produce at a meagre amount or watch it rot. We hope to adopt and reframe some of the already existing but abandoned local technology of preserving farm produces.
We shall customize our design solutions to be as local as possible so as to enjoy the acceptance of the locals who are our target.