Agritech in Nigeria

INTERVIEW SECTION: AgriTech Solutions Would Become Very Invaluable to Scale Up Food Production levels

Agricincome: Can you introduce yourself and your Platform to our readers?
MyFarmbase: My name is Iyanuoluwa Aliu, an Agric-tech Entrepreneur and Business Strategist. I am the CEO, MyFarmbase Africa, a capacity building hub which leverages tech innovations, blended learning and instructor-led approaches to provide youths and middle aged with AgriTech, Climate Smart Agriculture and Agribusiness Skills across Africa whilst also connecting them with jobs/internships/funding opportunities. We are one of the leading capacity building hubs for Agriculture in Nigeria with about 10,000 youths in our ecosystem.

Agricincome: How long has the platform been running?
MyFarmbase: The platform has been running since 2017, but it was not until early this year that we changed to the model we currently run.

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INTERVIEW SECTION:The agricultural sector has space for everyone to play a massive role

Hello readers, I have the honor to present to you the next agripreneur to be featured in the interview section of this blog. I present to you a man with vast experience in plantain farming and its value chain: Okorode Christian of Millionaire Farm…Read further as you get to know more about him

plantain farming

Agricincome: Can you please introduce yourself to our readers and your farming background?
Okorode Christian: I am Okorode Christian, the Millionaire Farmer, founder of Millionaire Farms Limited, an agricultural company that is established to solving hunger, food shortage and unemployment problems in my region, the Niger Delta, first, then globally. I Studied Political Science as first degree at the prestigious Niger Delta University. Becoming a farmer was NEVER on the list even after bagging my first degree, it was at the NYSC Orientation Camp that I had an idea to go into farming (Specifically, plantain farming). When people ask me, ‘why did you venture into farming’? My first response is always, “It’s a God inspired idea.” Truly, it is.
After my NYSC, I went to my village and acquire plots of land and set up a one thousand plantain suckers farm from the prize money I won for coming up as the winner for the Public Speaking category of SHIFT (A talent hunt competition hosted by RCCG). My plan was to just set up a farm that will pay my bills while I look for job or engage in other productive activities that will generate money for me.
Few months into setting up my one thousand plantain suckers farm, I had an inner dialogue with myself (not to sound religious). I truly believe that it was God telling me “go fully into agriculture, expand and solve problems!”
(Within six months from that day, I leveraged on social media to raise funds from investors to scale my one thousand plantain suckers farm to a (10,000) ten thousand plantain suckers plantation and got Millionaire Farms Limited fully registered.) OR (In less than 2 months by just leveraging on social media, I had raised millions of Naira to scale my plantain plantation from a one thousand plantain suckers farm to a ten thousand plantain suckers plantation. And I had taught this with great result from my students.)
Now, it’s crystal clear why God gave me the idea to go into agriculture.
And this is it: To solve hunger, food shortage and unemployment problems in my region and beyond.
The journey has never being easy, however, by just answering to the call of becoming a farmer so many great things has happened and still happening to this young boy.
My work in the agricultural sector has attracted both international and national media to feature me on their platforms, including CNN. I got nominated for several awards including the prestigious Future Awards Africa Prize for Agriculture and awardee of the 30 Under 30 Most Influential Individual in Rivers State.
I am the founder of Life Class, an initiative to develop young leaders in secondary schools including, Farm, School to Wealth Africa™ another initiative established by me to groom the next generation of agripreneurs who are less privileged and make them global change makers. I have inspired thousands of people, most especially youths and trained over 500 people in agricultural related ventures. I am a highly sort after public speaker, writer and a strategist.
Agricincome: How long have you been in the business?
Okorode Christian: 4 Years
Agricincome: Why plantain Farming?
Okorode Christian: It was a God inspired idea, and the value chain in plantain is massive.
Agricincome: What has been the secret of the success so far?
Okorode Christian: First, it’s God, leveraging on social media and showing up strong.
Agricincome: what were the challenges you faced and the ones you are still facing since the inception of your business?
Okorode Christian: Funding wasn’t necessarily a challenge, this revelation came to me when I realized that there are people who are there to give you money to fund your ideas. All you need to do is to know how to sell your ideas to the world, people will buy into it.
Among the challenges I faced at the inception of my business is lack of adequate knowledge, adequate knowledge of the business of farming and farming itself. I ventured into agriculture with little or no knowledge about agriculture. I went into agriculture with just an exciting idea to be wealthy and make impact through agriculture without doing my homework.
Another challenge was getting well and dedicated farmers to work in my farm, this was a big challenge.
Transportation was an issue. In fact, most farmers face this challenge, and it’s a big money well if anyone venture into the value chain of agriculture by providing transportation services to farmers and buyers of agricultural products.

READ MORE: How to Start Plantain Farming in Nigeria: Beginners Guide
Agricincome: How do you market your products?
Okorode Christian: We have off-takers, however, we take it to the market when we don’t harvest in large quantity.
Agricincome: Most people think plantain farming is a get rich quick scheme what is your stand about this?
Okorode Christian: I am smiling deeply right now. I believe that they are misinformed by blogs and people who just wants to part with people’s money. Honestly, agriculture as a whole is not a get rich quick scheme. I always tell people that the first law of agriculture is patience. Agriculture takes a lot of time, smart and hard work. There is money in agriculture, however, it is never a get rich quick scheme.
Agricincome: Most youths find it difficult to start farming because of the issue of funding and access to land. What do you think can be done?
Okorode Christian: I am a firm believer that the first thing you must have to start any business, most especially agriculture related, is not money. I raised over a Million Naira to scale my one thousand plantain suckers farm to a ten thousand plantain suckers plantation by just leveraging on social media, most especially Facebook.
When I got the idea to start my own farm, I had to go to my village to acquire the land, most people want to have their farm situated in the city. They want to start big or never. Unfortunately, most of them don’t have adequate, concrete, and practical knowledge of what they are going into.
Agricincome: What advice would you give to youths seeking a career in agribusiness?
Okorode Christian: Agriculture is profitable, the opportunities are enormous, the agricultural sector has space for everyone to play a massive role in the value chain and be extremely successful. You don’t have to own a farm to be a player in the agricultural sector. Identify challenges in the agricultural value chain and build quality solutions and the Money and other good things will come your way.
Get adequate knowledge and play big. However, start small and grow big!

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aeroponics farming

INTERVIEW SECTION: AEROPONICS FARMING IN NIGERIA

The biggest threat to Zero hunger and Food security in Nigeria is inadequate fertile land and inadequate viable seed free from pest and diseases. Aeroponics farming in Nigeria is one the modern farming techniques that have been able to solve this problem to certain extent.

This interview on Aeroponics farming will open our minds to few hidden things about Aeroponics farming in Nigeria. I have the honour to present to you Mr Onasanya Abiola Lawrence the Research Supervisor in Charge of Aeroponics System at IITA Ibadan. Read further as you get to know more about Aeroponics farming in Nigeria.

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taro agric farm

INTERVIEW SECTION: Youths should embrace Agriculture as a viable Profession and Vocation

Hello readers, I have the honor to present to you the next agripreneur to be featured in the interview section of this blog. I present to you a man with vast experience in Poultry Production who is shaking things up in the Livestock industry: Akintaro Olamide of Taro Agric farm…Read further as you get to know more about him.

Agricincome: Can you introduce yourself and your farming background to our readers?
Taro Agric: I am Akintaro Olamide, I am the founder of Taro Agric consulting/Taro Farms. I studied Animal Science for my first-degree from the Faculty of Agriculture, Obafemi Awolowo Univerisity, Ile Ife and proceeded to earn my Masters of Science from the same faculty. I have had passion for agriculture for over a decade almost going to two. When we started the student in farming project then at the Obafemi Awolowo University Ile ife, the university was able to bring in students who have passion for agriculture. I was the pioneer coordinator of that project; we started in June 2005. It was born out of a driving force that young people should be able to embrace agriculture as a viable profession and vocation. That has been the driving force ever since then from my university days. Thank God for where I am and for where I am going.
Agricincome: Why Livestock Farming?
Taro Agric: Hmmm….That is the agribusiness part of it (laughs)…..We have tried a lot. When one is starting something, one would want to try a lot of things until one gets the right thing to do -the one that best suits. While I was a student at the university, the university administration then, magnanimously granted us 100 acres of land, and we were able to cultivate more than 25 acres mixed production. There were maize and cassava interplanting for 2-3years. I also managed the department’s fisheries unit. That is part of the trying. After I graduated I went to serve in Niger state. I ventured into cowpea production as a corps member. By the grace of God I won the Governor’s Award as the outstanding corps member of the year. I did a little bit of cowpea, I ventured into fish farming which was my major in the university (Fish Production). I did a little bit of cattle (laughs)…..
Afterwards, when I left Niger State, Taro Farms ventured again into fisheries, piggery…(laughs)….we even did and we are still doing Bee production (honey). As a business enterprise, having tried different agribusinesses, we had to streamline to one that will give us:

    • Quick Returns on investment
    • Ability to scale up.

And that was how we finally settled into poultry farming. We started with 100 birds at the back of our house; we grew to 200, from 200 to 400, from 400 to 650 and from 650 to 2000. We started growing but it wasn’t as easy as I’m saying it. There have been failures, challenges and growth altogether. When we went from 400 to 650, out of 650 birds we lost 400 birds and it was a devastating moment. But I thank God for where we are today. That has been my short sojourn so far in agriculture.
taro agric farm taro agric farm
Agricincome: So what is the capacity of your farm and the staff strength?
Taro Agric: At present, we have a 30,000 capacity and we are anticipating to expand any moment from now because we have enough land to expand. The two sites are sitting on a combined acreage of 10 acres and we are looking at leasing more facilities to expand our production. As at today, we are at 30,000. We have a staff strength of about 15 staff members. We outsource sometimes, but they are part of us on a part-time basis.
Agricincome: What has been the secret of the success so far?
Taro Agric: GOD…(laughs)….God basically, then persistency, hard work, and a never die attitude. We started this farm with a single pen.
We had some miscalculations in the business and we exhausted our funds. We started looking for funds and much of what we got were at very high interest rates. From 3000 birds, production dropped to 1000 birds. I remember a time one of my protégés came that he wanted to assist me and when we really started work, the guy just suddenly said he was no more working. He complained that his health could no longer cope with the volume of work and strength the work required. I could remember that night of May 2017, brooding in one small room on the farm, we left the farm around 11 pm. We were to go and pick up day old chicks in Oyo state by 5am the next morning. I envisaged he would tell me he was tired, so I already made up my mind that whatever happened, I wouldn’t be dettered. By 5.00am, I was already in my car driving to Awe in Oyo State to pick up the birds. I got a text message from him when I was already far on the express road. He sent to me that he could not come that morning that he couldn’t even stand up from his bed. He also said he would not be able to continue working with me on the farm.
From that 1000 birds, the farm grew to 2500 birds, from 2500 birds we grew to 8000. So God, persistency, doggedness and being open to opportunities help a lot.
Most of our awesome moments were in our lowest moments when we thought oh!!!! What is happening. Many times, I just sit down to browse the internet, I make use of opportunities, apply and get the facilities.
I remember my wife would always tell people then who intended to work with me “Are you sure you can work with him”. HARD WORK, it doesn’t kill, though those periods could be challenging. There was a time I single-handedly took care of 3000 birds for the first 3 weeks. The contractor that came to sink our borehole saw the magnitude of work I was doing, he said: ‘Oga don’t kill yourself, I will help you find someone that will assist you’. He got me a staff to assist, I got another person and that relieved me. Then, we started increasing from there. The God factor cannot be overemphasized. Those are the things that are pushing us and has brought us to where we are and we see this as the starting point. We have a vision of a full self-sufficient Africa in Food Production. That is the drive.  Africa has the land mass, the labour; what we need is the direction, if we can get the directions right we are hitting it right without rocket science, without too much of technology, we can get it right, we can feed ourselves in Africa. In Nigeria we have the Arable land, we have the human resource to fulfill all this, the direction is critical.
Agricincome: what were the challenges you faced and the ones you are still facing since the inception of your business?
Taro Agric: Challenge…..challenge…The major challenge is funding and challenge of committed staff and sometimes marketing, but we have good success as regards that.
Agricincome: How do you market your products?
Taro Agric: We do much of collaborations; we collaborate with large industries that need our products because we sell in volumes, we also use online marketing (social media) and traditional media (Prints, Radio, and Television). But more importantly, we do collaboration. We have memorandum of agreement with some of the big players in the industry and they pick up our products.
Agricincome: Most people think livestock farming is a get rich quick scheme what is your stand about this?
Taro Agric: (Laughs)……it is not!! , because, for example, in poultry farming the profit margin is not that wide. What you need is volume, because the more the volume the bigger the profit margin and so it is for other livestock production (piggery, Fishery, Snailery etc.) It’s not a get rich quick scheme. As a matter of fact, within the first 3-5 years you still keep investing like every other business. Doing Agribusiness the appropriate way takes time, effort and determination. Without all this, no appreciable success could be made. When we started with 100 birds, one principle I learnt then was to market your products well before they are ready so you will not be pushed to an edge when they are ready. The three major things that affect Agribusiness are:

  • Funding
  • Marketing
  • Value Addition

taro agric farm
Agricincome: Most youths find it difficult to start livestock farming because of the issue of funding and access to land. What do you think can be done?
Taro Agric: Start small. If I tell you how I started you will see the need to start small. I stopped consulting because talk is cheap. I have trained more than 10,000 people in several areas of agriculture, different parastatals including the Nigerian Army. I told myself ‘let us have something to show, let’s roll up our sleeves’ as my mentor do say. Let the youths roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty.
After I completed my NYSC, I went to seek the permission of the Royal father of the town where I served to give me some land and he graciously gave quite a large portion of land which I used for my cowpea production. Starting Agriculture is about determination.
Also through God’s direction. I saw an abandoned fish pond in my host community, I met with the owner to let me use it as he wanted to convert it to a self-contained apartment. I went to Abuja from Kontagora Niger State which is about 6hours drive to purchase fingerlings and I started using the fish pond. This was how I started. From there, we bought our own land and it keeps getting better. There is this popular saying “when there is a will there is a way” let’s give less of excuses and more of actions to get things done.
I traded my Nysc certificate for 3 years to secure a fund of #250,000 and if anybody is still willing to give me funds, I’m still willing to lay down my certificate. That was the fund I used for the fish and cowpea production. I also did a little bit of cattle production from it and I returned the money after 2 years. We made some loss and we made some profits but we are better.

Another thing is that youths should open their eyes to opportunities. Opportunities are available particularly now in the internet age, a lot of opportunities, agencies online that we could access.

Agricincome: Any advice for youths seeking careers in agriculture?
Taro Agric: Like I have been saying “Start Small” success they say is 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration. For upcoming youths that want to go into poultry farming, your altitude is determined by your attitude. START SMALL, if it is 50 birds START. The profit I made from my first production was used to buy a property; that was the first property I ever bought in my life at my teenage years.
Be open to see investment opportunities
How thirsty are you for success? Young people say No to laziness, Yes to Hard work and persistence. Challenges will come but be open to opportunities, be hardworking, be committed and in just a matter of time you are shinning.
Agricincome: Any specific Goals for Taro Farms?
Taro Agric: Our goal for this farm is to build a transgenerational corporation that will outlive us. This is a corporation that will outlive several generations just like Ford, Chrysler motors that have evolved over 100 years. And the paramount goal is not just to amass wealth but to have a food sufficient Africa. A Nigeria Nation that will be food sufficient.
Agricincome: Thank you for your time sir
Taro Agric: you’re Welcome

Adekoya Dehinbo

INTERVIEW SECTION: I started farming with no tools, no capital and two teaspoons of seeds

Hello readers, I have the honor to present to you the next agripreneur to be featured in the interview section of this blog, I present to you a sustainability Preacher who is shaking things up in the Agricultural Sector. Adekoya Dehinbo of Ads intergrated farms …Read further as you get to know more about him

Agricincome: Can you introduce yourself and your farming background to our readers
Adekoya Dehinbo: My name is Adekoya Dehinbo, am a graduate of science biology from a prestigious school named Federal College of Education Technical Akoka Lagos State, a sustainable preacher, and hunger fighter.
After my NCE program, I was unable to get direct entry Admission due to funding issues which made me build my capacity by learning more and adding value to myself.
My urge for Agriculture started in my final year where we worked on maize planting on our biological garden.
I was introduced to ProtectOzone by my good friend okubote Anuoluwapo late last year during the FEED 1 training which I became a participant with the help of my friend and Olalekan Sipasi, as the training was going on before I joined. I was trained by CYFI Economic Empowerment Team on Poultry production and Vegetable Farming in the year 2017. In order to replicate the teachings, I started my farming business the same year even before the project came to an end.

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Diekolola farms

INTERVIEW SECTION:There is Real Money in Agriculture

Agricincome: Please can you introduce yourself to our readers and your farming background?
Diekolola farms: The journey began in 2014, with a dream conceived by the founder and CEO of the company; Diekolola Adebiyi.
The founder was trained on vegetable farming by agritopic Ltd Custom bus stop Ibadan Oyo State Nigeria. He receive his training under the tutor of Mr. Solomon Samuel Adetoye Odunayo.
The company was duly registered in June 2016, as an agricultural company, saddling farming, with a goal of feeding nations and creating opportunities in the sector
Within few years of professionalism, we have been able to train farmers, establish and manage healthy farms for our esteemed clients, and also create employment. Well, we have just begun!

 Diekolola Adebiyi  Diekolola farms
It has not all been rosy. Our faith in God and passion for farming have kept us going strong. We are not where we ultimately see, neither are we where we used to be. Read More

SailThrough Farms limited

Interview Section: Agriculture: Beyond raising animals and cultivating crops

With our undaunted commitment to insight and to inform youths and the diaspora about the importance of agriculture in leveraging the Nation’s economy, I have the honour to present to you Oluwafemi Excel Salami of SailThrough Farms limited, an Extraordinaire Agro Entrepreneur… Read further as you get to know more about him.

Agricincome: Please can you introduce yourself to our readers and your agricultural background?
SailThrough Farms Limited: My name is Oluwafemi Excel Salami. I am both a Civil Servant and an Agro Entrepreneur. A lot of people think of me as an Extraordinaire Agro Entrepreneur because of the volume of experience I have and how much I have helped many get into agriculture/agribusiness. I am also called “the King of poultry feeds making” because of the unique concepts I have discovered that helps poultry farmers save at the least 30% on feeds cost just by making their own feeds. These methods/concepts have been taught to people in our master classes which they have applied with amazing results.

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Agrik Matas

Interview Section: Check your passion before venturing into Agriculture

With our undaunted commitment to insight and inform youth and the diaspora about the importance of agriculture in leveraging the Nation’s economy, to get them participates in agriculture, Agric Income team decided to embark on educative farm tours. This informed our choice of visiting a well renowned farm in Osun State. The courtesy visit took us to Agrikk Matas Ede, Osun State. I have the honour to present to you the CEO of Agrik Matas, also the President All farmers Association of Nigeria Osun State Chapter… Read further as you get to know more about him.
Agricincome: Please can you introduce yourself to our readers and your farming background?
Afolabi Kayode Read More

kinzo farms

INTERVIEW SECTION: All Farmers Will Be Rich This Year: Kinzo Farms

Hello readers, I have the honor to present to you the first agripreneur to be featured in our interview section of this blog, I present to you a swaggerlious farmer who is shaking things up in the Agricultural Sector. Akinbolu Elemide of Kinzo farms…Read further as you get to know more about him.

Agricincome: Please can you introduce yourself to our readers and your farming background?
Kinzo farms: My name is Akinbolu Elemide CEO Elkinzo Agro Limited. I was fortunate to be part of a farm set up by an Executive Director of a Bank and the contract was given to a consultant from Niger state and my role was to supervise. I made it easy for the consultant who works for Ministry of Agric Minna Niger state, by telling him to stay there and give me orders on what to do and we successfully carried out the job, although he was coming to check up every weekend. I saw the opportunities in Agribusiness and I began to attend training 5 years ago and later started my farm.
Agricincome: How long have you been in the business?
Kinzo farms: 7 years
Agricincome: What attracted you to agriculture?

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