Richard Agetu with his partner, was inspired to establish Richsi Nigeria Limited, a start-up agro business focused on processing and packaging of a special brand of fish known as ‘Ejazuki’ in the Nigeria’s capital Abuja and its environs.
This business was born out of his quest to
address the issues of post-harvest losses and Nigeria’s product rejection at
the international borders.
These triggered his entry into the country’s aquaculture industry to provide lasting solutions to the challenges, forcing him in 2016 to establish Richsi with his partner.
Richard, a fishery graduate, along with his partner, established the fish business with an initial start-up capital of N300, 000.
He and his partner do not own a fish farm but buys fresh pieces of fish from farmers within Abuja and its environs for onward processing and packaging. The fish is then exported to many parts of the world, including the United Kingdom and the United States.
“I worked with farmers and realised that post- harvest losses and rejections of our produce within the international borders were the major issues farmers faced. To address this challenge, we established Richsi Nigeria Limited to employ best practices in processing and packaging of fish that can compete with others internationally,” Richard said.
According to him, the business has grown in terms of output, reach, number of farmers in the off-take chain and the number of jobs being created within the value chain.
“Our business has grown in terms of consumer reach. The number of farmers we buy directly from has also increased, and we have been able to create direct and indirect jobs to more people and partnership opportunities are being opened to us from various parts of the country and the world,” the University of Ibadan graduate said.
Richard told Start-Up Digest that the business has received funding from the Tony Elumelu Foundation, enabling it to scale up production.
The business currently receives direct overseas orders from many of the world through its online platform.
Richard noted that the packaging materials used are sourced locally and designed and produced by him and his partner.
“We design and produce the packaging materials ourselves from scratch, here in Abuja. As a green enterprise, we use eco-friendly and re-cyclyable materials to produce the packaging,” he said.
Answering questions on what the government can do to ensure that youths find agriculture attractive, Richard said that the government must ensure continuity of agricultural policies and ensure that the sector become mechanised.
He noted that youths will only find agric attractive when there is innovation and the government are able to follow through policies and programmes in the sector irrespective of change in government.
Speaking on the challenges faced since starting his business, Richard stated that restricted access to technical data and high cost of credit remains the biggest problem confronting the business.
“The bureaucracy involved in getting industry data from most ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) is very tasking and discouraging. This often leaves new agricultural entrants like me information-stranded,” he said.
“Numerous bottlenecks in accessing government incentives such as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)and the Bank of Industry (BoI) loans discourage SMEs from approaching these bodies,” Richard added.
He urged the government to make industry data available and easily accessible, while stressing the importance of data to investment decisions and planning.
He also called on the government to make access to government funding easier for start-ups with exceptional business ideas.
Answering questions on advice to other entrepreneurs, he said, “To other entrepreneurs, the set time to think and act globally is now.”