Agriculture

How Network Marketing Can Eradicate Hunger, Malnutrition – Ogbidi   

Ogbidi

Patricia Ogbidi is an architect who appreciates the value of designing structures that last.  In this interview, she brings that same passion for practical design and functional construction into multi-level marketing to address the basic issue of man – food and nutrition.  

What exactly is network marketing, and what makes it tick?

Network marketing has been around in various forms since the beginning of the last century. The basic idea is simple as it is brilliant: Instead of spending huge sum of money on all sort of professional agencies and marketing channels to promote products or services, why not pay the people who consume them to just tell others about these products?

That’s exactly what network marketing does: They pay a portion of every sales received back to their field of independent representatives, who typically are also the products’ most devoted and enthusiastic consumers.      

How can ordinary people who are not skilled marketers really compete and generate any serious level of sales?

Actually, that’s the beauty of it. As every marketing professional will agree with me, the single most powerful form of promotion in the world today is face-to-face; I mean personal word-of-mouth.

In network business, we use the real thing. The real power of the model-I refer to as leverage. The autonomous operators aren’t paid commissions only on products used by the people they refer to the company, but often on products bought by people they refer, directly and indirect, they can really add up.

So, does it really work?

Yes: Network marketing presently generates over hundred billion dollars in annual sales globally, which makes it an economic bloc roughly the size of the budget of two to three countries in Africa. This model I am talking about can also be referred to as “direct selling” because, most direct selling companies today employ a network marketing strategy.

One reason that the total sales from network marketing keeps growing is that it’s a true win-win. The organization gets an amazing level of market penetration and consumer awareness that would be very tough and very expensive to get with traditional marketing platforms. The model is even more unique as the independent representative has the privilege of creating an endless cash flow.

How?

By leveraging on the astonishing power of-person-to-person relationships-to build a substantial network that represents the company’s line of products and services.    

What really motivated your choice of joining HWMG?   

The belief that Africa is capable of solving her own problems actually motivated my interest, which is the overall vision of Happy World Meal Gate (HWMG). And to tackle these challenges and contribute meaningfully to socio-economic growth, the people of Africa must return back to the basic source of livelihood – food, because only a happy and well fed population can be productive and add value to sustainable development.     

The concept of food and nutrition as a primary livelihood source as well as human happiness attracted my passion to be part of HWMG, because the idea is to facilitate normal growth and rational thinking that recognizes human capital as key resource and development agent of any nation. That is why the starting point is food and the strategy is multi-level marketing to ensure adequate system while addressing the most important need of man.  

Over 80 percent of the income in Africa according to statistics is spent on feeding, which is highly worrisome. So, that is why the farm stage is the entry point at HWMG to tackle farmers’ major requirements, and if this can be gotten right every other challenge can be surmounted.

The idea is to empower loyal members who are able to follow instruction and get the strategy right with unlimited access to food items and cash rewards with a token registration fee of just six thousand four hundred naira only (N6, 400).

What is your take on the issue of multiple registration, team work and leaders?

Having multiple accounts is good only if you have the capacity to drive them to the level where you can start benefiting from the fruit of your labour, because the result is multiple interests. But as a starter that has no platform; I mean multi-level marketing experience and people to network with, then it is advisable to register a single account. Don’t chew more than you can swallow to avoid trouble, because you may die along the way and lose everything. Remember, experience is the best teacher. There is always an opportunity for multiple accounts whenever an individual is grounded with the required knowledge in the business.

For team work, I welcome it if the objective is to enhance collective interest and not self-serving reasons. Truth be told, it is the best form of any multi-level business if anchored on trust. Therefore, it depends on the definition of the people who are adopting it. It would be wrong for example to structure a team on first come basis, because there is no such thing in multi-level marketing as it weaken team spirit and not sustainable.

But when you have your expected six members and work with them, look into their challenges and take them as yours, nurture them through the growth process, connect, teach and allow them ask questions as well as see them as your successful partners in progress, then your way to the top is inevitably guaranteed.    

What would be your advice to possible interested participants?

My honest advice to people who are seated out there complaining and waiting for the government to do everything for them is to wake up from their slumber. It is purely fantasy, and figment of human imagination. If others can be rushing to be part of the ongoing trend base on what they can see and have heard, then I advice them to join the bandwagon and embrace this noble initiative without delay.

There is nothing in life that is as bad as an individual ignoring an opportunity that can help transform and better his or her life after discovering the secret. Therefore, I encourage those who are yet to be part of this moving train to subscribe to it, because the testimonies of the numerous beneficiaries alone are sufficient for them to decide on what to do.  

Agriculture

ABNE sets up African Biosafety Communication Network 

By Abdallah el-Kurebe 

The African Biosafety Network of Expertise (ABNE), an arm of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) has launched the African Biosafety Communication Network.

The Network, launched on 18 July, 2017 in Entebbe during the Africa Ag-biotech and Biosafety Communication (ABBC) symposium, is aimed to optimise the biosafety communication sector across the continent.

The launch of the Network was chaired by the Director of NEPAD Agency’s West Africa Regional Office, Dr Jeremy Ouedraogo and co-chaired by the Chairman of the Uganda National Biosafety Committee, Dr. Charles Mugoya.

Othes were Dr Theresa Ssengoba from the Uganda National Council for Science and Technology; Dr Douglas Buhler, Director/Assistant Vice-president and Administrative leader of Michigan State University AgBioResearch, and Margaret Karembu, Director of ISAAA Africenter. 

In his opening remarks, Ouedraogo said: “After almost a decade of biosafety capacity enhancing to help build functional biosafety regulatory systems across the continent, NEPAD Agency ABNE is now strategically focusing on fostering proactive initiatives through specific experts networks to help African countries safely harness science, technology and innovation opportunities. 

“The communication network we are establishing today come after a successful implementation of other networks, namely the lawyers network, the food and feed safety network, the environmental network and the socio-economic network recently established in Accra,” he said.

On his part, Mugoya said that the formation of the Network was timely especially as Uganda was preparing to pass the biosafety bill. “This network is very timely, as Uganda’s parliament is preparing to pass the biosafety bill and we look forward to working with the members of this network to improve public understanding of biosafety in the country.”

According to the report, the key objectives of the African biosafety communication network include “to identify and support key biosafety media specialists in African countries and help them develop/update/implement country communication strategy; to help harmonise and optimise partners and service providers’ initiatives to build a strong and effective biosafety communication network in Africa; 

“to effectively monitor outputs and outcomes of the support provided to the network and identify gaps and needs; to implement functional information sharing platforms for network members (Web pages, mailing list, social media and online resources etc.); and to provide timely communication assistance to countries especially in coordination with the Association of National Biosafety Agencies in Africa (ANBAA) for issue management, dissemination of sound research findings and benefits etc.”

The Network will have partners that include the Association of National Biosafety Agencies in Africa  (ANBAA), the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA), the Michigan State University, Network of Biotechnology and Biosafety Journalists in West Africa (RECOAB), African Journalists Network for Agriculture (based in Nigeria), Network of Science Communication Journalists in Togo, Uganda and in other countries, other networks and service providers operating in the biosafety sector in Africa. 

It added that members of the network would include Communication Specialists of biosafety service providers in Africa, communication persons from the National Biosafety Authorities, members of national/regional science/biosafety communication networks and other relevant candidates.

The network plans to implement a mailing group by August, 2017 and organise a workshop that would agree on draft network statutes and memorandum, including the annual work plan for 2018.

Sixty participants, including government officials, communications specialists, National Biosafety Committee (NBC) representatives and staff from various biosafety service providers in Africa took part in this event.