Liam Beckett

CEO and Founder of AG1.global with extensive knowledge and connections within the agri industry, especially on the African Continent.

Nearly 25 years of sales experience covering, retail, hospitality, media, publications, events and technology.  Experience in training sales staff using a variety if techniques, including SPIN selling, NLP and consultative selling approaches.

 

  

Welcome to a new era in agriculture and the digital farming frontier!

Sub-Saharan Africa
26. Aug 2021

The world is rapidly going digital, and agriculture is no exception! It’s no secret that Covid19 has hampered operations and trade globally, forcing suppliers and customers to embrace technology and a new digital frontier. This shift brings many questions. As simple as farming can be, technology and digital tools play a massive role in agriculture. AG1.global offers farmers of all scales the opportunity to create their own profile, share ideas, pictures, videos, network with other farming professionals around the world, purchase online and improve their operations through direct knowledge sharing.

Suppliers can also create a personalised online shop on AG1.global in order to retail and showcase products, services and advice to the farming professionals online.

AG1.global is a networking, educational and retail platform for the agri-market. It gives users the opportunity to network with farmers globally, educate their target audience through an e-learning zone, and sell farming products without commission through an online shopping centre. In addition, we run the Get Involved Outreach Program, where subscribing farmers can annually apply for support for small-scale projects. Instead of giving cash, we team up with the farmers and conduct the projects together. In total the platform has six feature areas:

  • Networking Zone
  • E-learning Zone 
  • AG1 Job Zone
  • Online Shopping Centre
  • Get Involved Outreach Program
  • Digital Training Portal

Connecting farmers to digital technology

My passion for agriculture came naturally due to growing up on farms in the UK. When I moved to South Africa in 2007 and got into the events industry, I was over the moon when we began creating outdoor farming trade shows in Africa, starting in Zambia and then expanding into Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya. This has then led to the natural evolution of AG1.global over the years, as these events have given me firsthand insight into the daily struggles of farmers of all scales on the continent. For example, these are the industry struggles AG1.global strives to solve:
 

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The website launched in August 2020 and has seen solid and steady growth since its inception. Being a web-based operation, data and analytics are key to the direction and focus of the company, giving us daily insight into the traffic and movement of the subscribers when they enter the platform.

AG1.global is a registered company under AG1 Global Consulting platform. We very quickly then developed it into a PWA (Progressive Web App) to make it more functional and user friendly on cellphones, the main devices used to visit the platform. In time we will evolve the platform again into a native app on Google Playstore.

Overcoming initial challenges

With all new projects, technologies and services there are teething problems and challenges that you either did not see coming or underestimated. We struggled with user challenges, needed to identify technology partners, and had to solve technical questions like which plug-in to use. Luckily, our experience in Africa and agriculture on the continent enabled us to manage these challenges timeously and without excessive impact on the project.

By far the biggest hurdle to jump is to access real farmers and get their buy-in for new technology in the field. Fortunately, we have partnered with some very prominent industry players and NGOs in our first year. This has alleviated some of the challenges around access to the farming market.

As the company is completing its first year of trading, we can quickly look back and take time to appreciate the things we have accomplished: from the initial creation and launch of the project, to new partnerships forged, our new digital training portal, AG1 Job Zone, the launch into Kenya with Massey Ferguson, ten sponsored SMEs in Zambia, competitions, staff expansions, well executed media campaigns, twenty investing suppliers and thousands of farmers engaged online... With the assistance and support from Musika and SNV in Zambia, we have managed to speed up the development process of AG1.global and have launched new features which were only planned for year two and three. You could say it’s been a busy year but a very productive and successful year at that.

For any new company or aspiring entrepreneur, I would strongly recommend that you look at your industry and your target audience. Identify other key industry players, NGOs and trade associations that are involved and approach them for collaboration, support and partnerships where possible. This will not only potentially de-risk your project but will also open doors and other opportunities to explore as you move forward with them.

We look forward to watching AG1.global expand into neighbouring countries, create new relationships within the industry and engage with more farmers globally. Welcome to a new era in agriculture.