Agribusiness is concerned with the manufacturing and distribution of farm supplies, agricultural production like planting crops, rearing of animals, storage of farm products and distribution and sale of agricultural products. Agribusiness simply deals with agricultural activities and is centered around the business of agricultural production.
One of the sustainable development goals of the United Nations is to make food available and affordable to citizens of every country in the world. Agribusiness plays the role of sustaining food production and improving agricultural practices across the world to ensure abundance food supply.
The production process in the modern world is characterized by specialization and division of labor. People must master a department of the production process so that they do not become jacks of all trades and masters of none. Agribusiness, just like other fields of the economy, is made up of sectors which perform specific functions for the benefit of the whole field.
Individuals who delve into the field of agribusiness do not just perform every agribusiness task available on earth but specialize in a particular sector of the agribusiness industry where they become professionals and experts.
The various sectors of the agribusiness industry are examined below.
The Input sector
This sector of agribusiness is concerned with providing safe inputs for agricultural production. To get outputs or results, inputs must be invested. The nature of output gotten at the end of a production cycle depends on the nature of input that was invested in the production process. If poor inputs are invested in the production process, then it is not unusual to get poor output or results when the cycle comes to an end. A production cycle typically begins with inputs and ends with outputs and it is for this reason that the input sector of agribusiness comes first.
The input sector of the agribusiness industry basically deals with the provision of inputs to make agricultural production safe, secure, and profitable. Inputs required for agricultural production include seeds, agrochemicals such as fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides, feeds for livestock, drugs for livestock, irrigation systems, machinery such as tractors and tractor-coupled implements like planters and harvesters. The input sector of the agribusiness industry is made up of firms that engage in the production and distribution of agricultural inputs listed in the preceding sentence.
This sector has improved the quantity and quality of agricultural products or outputs in recent years. Seeds that are certified for planting are now healthy and treated seeds which produce healthy plants unlike in medieval times where reference was not given to this sector of agribusiness. This sector of agribusiness has also encouraged innovation through the manufacturing of machines that make the production process faster. This sector of agribusiness is also involved in the manufacturing of fertilizers for specific plants and chemicals to fight pests and ensure that plants grow in a conducive environment.
The input sector of the agribusiness industry is also concerned with the production of feeds for livestock. The quality of livestock produced in commercial farms in recent times is better than the quality of those produced about ten decades ago because of the research into animal feeds which is powered by this sector of agribusiness.
The input sector of agribusiness is very important because it determines the nature of agricultural products and outputs and therefore influences other sectors of agribusiness.
The Production Sector
The production sector is the oldest agribusiness sector on earth. This is the sector that is the most common anywhere in the world. This sector of agribusiness basically deals with the cultivation of crops and the rearing of animals for consumption or to serve as raw materials to produce secondary products.
The production sector of agribusiness is the sector that invests the inputs that the input sector of agribusiness makes available. This sector is responsible for the production of crops for food and cash crops to feed other industries like cotton for the textile industry.
The production sector utilizes the inputs made available by the input sector of agribusiness for the purpose of agricultural production. This sector ensures: that seeds are planted so that crops can be harvested, that fertilizers are used on plants so that plants can grow healthier, that pesticides are used to prevent pests from destroying crops, that animals are raised in good conditions, that livestock eat quality meals and are vaccinated if necessary and that machines are used to ensure speedy production of agricultural goods.
Farm owners of all description, commercial farms and farm employees belong to the production sector of agribusiness.
Processing and Value addition
Farm products are not usually consumed by humans in state which they are harvested. They are first processed to forms which they can easily be consumed by human beings or used for other purposes.
The processing sector of agribusiness is concerned with refining agricultural products made available by the production sector of agribusiness to forms that can easily be consumed by the final consumers. It is this sector of agribusiness that packages and brands agricultural products.
Companies that package and process agricultural products into finished goods to be bought by final consumers belong to the processing sector of agribusiness.
Marketing and Sales
This sector of agribusiness is concerned with the buying and selling of both agricultural inputs and outputs. This means that this sector of agribusiness does not only make agricultural products available to those that need them but also sell agricultural inputs like seeds and fertilizers to those in the production sector of agribusiness who need them for production.
The marketing sector of agribusiness consists wholesalers and retail companies that trade agricultural inputs and outputs.
The Support sector
The support sector of agribusiness is a very important sector of agribusiness because it helps other sectors of agribusiness perform their functions effectively.
The support sector of agribusiness supports all other sectors of agribusiness through human capital development and training, funding, and sensitization of individuals in the agribusiness industry. The support sector consists organizations and firms that provide education and training for agribusiness workers, loans, aids and other financial assistance to agribusiness firms and moral support to companies in the agribusiness industry.