What Does The Term Agribusiness Mean? Learn It Here

What is agribusiness? Various people define this term using different words but they all try to explain the same thing. Agribusiness is simply the business sector of farming or the business sector of agricultural production.it encompasses different aspects such as production (human labour allocation, crop production, livestock production etc.), breeding, distribution and marketing, agrichemicals and farm machinery as well. It involves all the necessary steps required to take an agricultural good to the market.

Breaking down agribusiness

However, this term is not always correlated with the actual farms/ farms activities. Instead, it is used to commonly mean an agriculturally-related business that is involved in the supply of farm inputs such as machinery, seeds, agrichemicals etc.

The term agribusiness is also used to describe firms/ businesses that are involved majorly in the marketing activities of agriculture-related products such as processors, wholesalers, warehouses, retailers etc.

Agribusiness takes the different aspects of agricultural production as an integrated system. Example, farmers produce fruits and vegetables and also rear livestock using sophisticated techniques including the use of GPS for to direct harvest operations. The processing plants ensure they use best methods to clean and package processed food and livestock, while the manufacturers continue to make machinery that increases efficiency in the farm.

Agribusiness performance is also largely affected by the market forces. The prevailing market forces determine the price of the products as well as the demand and supply of the same. Example a negative shift of the consumer taste and preference in taking red meat will affect negatively the price and supply of it. This is because there will be a fall in demand hence causing a fall in the prices of the product. Hence agribusiness firms may be forced to sell their products abroad to ensure that they remain in business but if they fail to overcome the various challenges they may soon be out of business.

Organic farming vs Agribusiness

Many people use the term agribusiness in relation to the large-scale commercial agricultural operations but they will rarely use the term in contrast to the small-scale, organic farms. in fact, small-scale family farmers feel that they are in a huge competition business with the large-scale corporations and this makes them feel endangered and less competitive in the market.

However, the case is not true, small organic firms often use agribusiness products e.g. tractors and are not necessarily competing with the large corporate owned farms in the market. For example, a consumer may decide to buy pastured pork from a small organic farmer (because it has a higher nutrient content) compared to the conventionally produced pork.

Finally, agribusiness is a dynamic and ever-changing environment and people who wish to venture in this field should be willing to learn new ways to overcome the ever prevailing challenges in order to see the success in their business.

Basics of the Skid Loader: Heavy Agricultural Machinery

What is a skid loader?

A skid loader is a stiff frame machine with mechanical arms that can be fitted with attachments for a wide variety of different tools, including a backhoe, hydraulic breaker, pallet forks, angle broom, sweeper, auger, mower, snow blower, stump grinder, tree spade, trencher, and a wheel saw.

Modern skid loaders come in two varieties, a four wheeled system and a rubber track version. Wheeled skid loaders are typically are four-wheel drive and for additional maneuverability, the left and right wheels systems are independent. The track version also referred to as a track loader provides for better digging and pushes performance in higher end models due to less ground disturbance and better traction in un-ideal environments like mud and sand.

History of the skid loader machine

The first three-wheeled front-end loader was invented in 1957 by two brothers, Cyril and Louis Keller, in a small machinist shop in Rothsay Minnesota. The brothers conceived the idea to help a nearby farmer with the ignoble task of cleaning up manure for a pole barn. They wanted to help him, and out of this collaboration the first skidder was born.

This early machine was eventually purchased by Melrose Manufacturing Company and the Kellers brought on to continue development. Since then it has spread to become a highly valued piece of heavy machinery at construction and engineering site around the globe.

What are these machines used for?

Due to the wide array of attachments available for these vehicles , they have many uses, but mostly are employed for scrape material from one place to another, carry materials in a bucket and proceed to load them into a truck or trailer.

Skid loaders can also be used in tight digging situations where factors limit the practically of using a large excavator, like digging a basement under an existing house. In this situation a skid loader would make use of a ramp at the edge of the site. The loader would proceed to use the ramp to carry materials out of the hole. The skid loader would reshape the ramp by making it steeper and longer as the excavation deepened.

Differences between a front loader machine and a skid loader machine

The pivot arms on a skid loader lay behind the driver, alongside the side of the vehicle.

Major machine manufacturers

Major manufacturers for skid loaders include the Bobcat Company, Mustang, Case, New Holland, Komatsu, and Caterpillar

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Diversification in Agriculture Sector: A Catalyst For Sustainable Economic Development in Nigeria

Agriculture involves the cultivation of land, raising and rearing of animals, for the purpose of production of food for man, feed for animals and raw materials for industries. It involves forestry, fishing, processing and marketing of these agricultural products. Essentially, it is composed of crop production, livestock, forestry, and fishing.

Agriculture is the mainstay of many economies. All over the world, the development of an enduring economy goes hand in hand with agricultural development thus, there is a need for Nigeria to exploit her various agricultural resources to full potential in order to accelerate her quest and efforts to achieving sustainable economic development.

Agriculture is considered a catalyst for the overall development of any nation; development economists have always assigned the agriculture sector a central place in the development process, early development theorists though emphasized industrialization, they counted on agriculture to provide the necessary output of food and raw materials, along with the labour force that would gradually be absorbed by industry and services sector. Much later thinking moved agriculture to the forefront of the development process; the hopes for technical change in agriculture and “green revolution” suggested agriculture as the dynamo and magic wand for economic growth and development.

The industrial revolution of the Nineteenth century which catapulted the agrarian economies of most countries of Europe got their stimuli from agriculture; the sector in recent history has also worked a tremendous miracle in countries like Mexico, India, Brazil, Peru, Philippines and China where the Green Revolution was one of the great success stories. Indeed, the importance of agriculture in any nation’s economy cannot be over emphasized, for instance, in United States of America, agriculture contributes about 1. 1% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product.

The above statistic indicated that the more developed a country is the lower the contribution of agriculture to Gross Domestic Product. Economy diversification is an economic development strategy characterized by increasing the numbers of the revenue base of an economy. The Nigerian economy is a mono-cultural economy depending on crude oil as the main source of her revenue, it is crucial that government should not keep on believing that oil provides an endless source of revenue.

As a matter of priority, Nigeria government must encourage the rapid diversification of Nigeria’s economy as this is the only sustainable way to survive the current environment of global economic uncertainty of international oil price volatility and shocks, unfavourable quota system and depletion.

Diversification in the agriculture sector is therefore suggested for Nigeria as a developing economy to ensure food and nutritional security, income and employment generation, poverty alleviation and to encourage industrialization, ease pressure on balance of payment, reliable source of government revenue and overall economic development of the country.

Prior to the political crisis of 1967-1970, agriculture’s positive contributions to the economy were instrumental in sustaining economic growth and stability. The bulk of food demand was satisfied from domestic output, thereby obviating the need to utilize scarce foreign exchange resources on food importation.

Stable growth in agricultural exports constituted the backbone of a favorable balance of trade. Sustainable amounts of capital were derived from the agricultural sector through the imposition of several taxes and accumulation of marketing surpluses, which were used to finance many development projects such as the building and construction of Ahmadu Bello University (Zaria) and first Nigerian skyscraper-cocoa house in Ibadan. The sector, which employed 71% of the total labor force in 1960, employed only 56% in 1977, the number stood at 68% in 1980, falling to 55% in 1986, 1987 and 1988; and 57% annually from 1989 to 1992, and has continued to nosedive into 2000s as the result of the neglect of the sector.

To channel itself on the path to modern development, Nigeria should examine what factors hindered the development of its agricultural sector, which was the backbone of the Nigerian economy before the era of oil boom. It should rectify the mistakes it made in over 54 years by immediately putting these strategic plans into action. The people of Nigeria can uplift themselves from poverty and distress by eradicating corruption and devoting themselves to strive for progress.

The 2020:20 initiative will keep Nigeria focused on improving their economy and combined with a significant effort to reducing food imports and to increase food production within their own country, Nigeria can witness a timely turn around in their investment. Nigeria has the necessary components in place to return to an agricultural-based economy. Research has demonstrated that a return to an agricultural economy is not only possible, but will greatly benefit the entire country of Nigeria.

To achieve sustainable economic development and to lift the dormant and continuously dwindling contribution of the agriculture sector, Nigeria needs to have some recommended pre-requisites diversification policies such as provision of financial resources to sector to get it up and functioning; a combination of government provision of subsidies, improved and high yielding seedlings and breeds for private companies and small scale farmer producing as large as 85% of the sector’s agricultural output are needed to boost the agricultural market.

There also need to revise the current import and export regulations to make it more convincing for other countries to accept agricultural products from Nigeria. It is an established fact that with the population of over 170 million, vast cultivatable farmland, a conducive climate and soil, Nigeria has the necessary productive resources required to have a strong welcome back of the agriculture sector as an engine to achieving sustainable economic development.

It is therefore plausible for Nigeria to diversify into the agriculture market in their effort to become more self-sustainable and be recognized as one of the world economic power.