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
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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