After winning the April 2017 Rookie contest to become the Rookie of the Month, Arthur Nwokolo, an entrepreneur and CEO of Farmnga, received The Spark- an incentive to kick-start his business success from the ride hailing company, Taxify. Arthur was empowered with free rides.
In this interview with Feyisayo, this experienced entrepreneur sheds more light on his motivations and what he plans to achieve.
Feyisayo: Tell us about your business
Arthur: My name is Arthur Johnson Nwokolo and I am the Co-founder and CEO of Farmnga, the first ever Free Classified Ad in Nigeria and possibly Africa, an online Marketplace for Farmers, Food and Agriculture.
At Farmnga, we are providing fast, ease accessible, safe and secured B2B (Business to Business) and B2C (Business to Customers) online platform where Farmers, Agribusiness Owners and Agro-Allied companies can interact and sell to millions of prospective customers (buyers).
Our mission fortunately coincides with United Nations Sustainable Development Goal of Ending hunger, achieving food security and price control, timely access to food market and promoting sustainable Agriculture.
We aim to also create employment for the youths in Nigeria as we hope to engage them as our agents (not middlemen) to help uneducated and illiterate farmers to easily get their products visible online.
Our vision is to become a foremost market leader in Agriculture technology and services promoting sustainable development in Africa.
Feyisayo: Can you give us a brief explanation of how it works for both farmers and buyers?
Arthur: With Farmnga, only registered and verified sellers are to post Ads on our platform as part of our security check. Farmers willing to sell with us are required to simply register, take clear/sharp pictures of their products and post it as an Ad, thus cutting away middlemen. We know that most farmers are not tech savvy, don’t worry because this is where we create employment for our youths as agents (not middlemen) to help farmers put their products online because our mobile friendly web app makes it a simple 10-minute process.
For the buyers, we have also made it possible for them to search and easily locate thousands of nearby verified farmers and agribusiness owners to buy direct fresh foodstuffs at an affordable price. It’s that simple. This will solve the problem of Food price control as there are different sellers with different prices of the same item, thus making food more affordable to reduce hunger.
With our platform, buyers would no longer worry about walking long distance to the market and as our platform will reduce hours by helping them search for a particular food item to buy.
Feyisayo: When was Farmnga established?
Arthur: Last quarter of 2016, precisely in November and we are registered by our parent company ABZ TICEL at the CAC (Corporate Affairs Commission) in Nigeria.
Feyisayo: What prompted you to fill that gap in the society?
Arthur: Growing up in the northern part of Nigeria exposed me a lot to the Agricultural potentials of Nigeria. Of course it’s no longer news that more than 70% of most fruits and other important agricultural products including Livestock are found over in this region. But the painful aspect of it all is that most Farmers and Agribusiness owners in this region find it difficult to promote food security, market and sell off their products which results in most food wasting away. So seeing all of these wastages always got me thinking and this gave birth to the idea of creating this platform during my youth service.
Feyisayo: What are your future plans for Farmnga?
Arthur: Five years from now, we would have taken over Nigeria and to a large extent Africa with the sole aim of connecting thousands of farmers and agribusiness owners to millions of buyers. We also hope to become a powerhouse in providing other diversified agricultural online solutions and promoting sustainable agricultural development, for everyone to identify with our brand.
Feyisayo: Have you faced any challenges so far in the course of running the business? What was/is your greatest challenge?
Arthur: As a young entrepreneur, you are always faced with so many challenges in Nigeria. But in just two words I would say “Operational Cost”. Our major challenge is the cost of maintaining and scaling up our web App platform to accommodate more sellers and users. These ranges from epileptic power supply, website hosting, expensive internet services to advertising. We hope to get access to more funding and grants from corporate organisations and governments soon.
Feyisayo: What is your personal definition of entrepreneurship?
Arthur: I would say it is the ability to discover a solution to a problem and make money from it.
Feyisayo: How did you find out about The Spark rookie contest?
Arthur: It is amazing what information the internet provides. So I am always searching for new innovative opportunities and how to promote my ideas, then I found “The Spark Rookie contest” on Facebook.
Feyisayo: How do you plan to maximize the potential and benefits of The Spark- free rides given off by ride hailing company, Taxify?
Arthur: I want to say a very BIG THANK You to The Sparkng Team for giving me this wonderful opportunity to show how I can use my platform to touch lives positively and also to the young guys at Taxify for giving me Free rides and their drive towards promoting young entrepreneurs in Nigeria. I would say this will go a very long way in helping me and my colleagues to attend conferences, meet customers, follow-up on new market leads and also in promoting our brand.