young people

A TEEP ALUMNI TALKS ABOUT HIS CASSAVA BUSINESS, ADVICES UPCOMING YOUNG AGROPRENEURS

Photo Credit: Kolawole Omotola 

This month we interview Kolawole Omotola a young entrepreneur from Ekiti state. He is also a Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme (TEEP) Alumni, today he has a cassava processing facility where he packages “garri” for consumers within and outside his community. Omotola is one youth who have succeeded with support through business skills training, mentoring, access to seed capital funding and together with passion for entrepreneurship.

We introduce him as our Young Agropreneur of the Month, here he tells us his story, how he started and established his company “Oyinkola Enterprises” and how he overcame market acceptance of his product which was his major challenge. He discusses constraints to cassava business among others. Omotola ends with his future plans, recommendations for government and advice to upcoming youth intending to go into Agribusiness.

Introduction

I am Kolawole Omotola, a native of Ekiti state, a graduate of Computer Science from Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago Iwoye, Ogun State and the CEO of Oyinkola Enterprises.

I am a member of a big family with many siblings. I had no choice but to strive and cater for myself. This thought me to stay focused and be determined to never give up and be a great achiever. Growing up was indeed by God’s grace. I have great passion for agricultural activities and I have a goal to produce food for my community.

Starting up

I am into cassava crop processing, I am a garri maker! The major challenge that was faced while starting up was market acceptance. But with God it came as a success, our product was evenly embraced by all in the community.

 

Photo credit: Kolawole Omotola

Benefits

  • Agribusiness is my lifestyle; I personally made the choice of the business of agriculture. I am happy doing it because I am achieving my dreams. It gives me joy when customers give happy comments on the product, like your garri was wonderful; we so much enjoy taking it.
  • Oyinkola Enterprises have employees that help in the cassava crop processing. We have 4 permanent staffs and about 8 casual staffs with different roles. We have been able to create little jobs for the society as the women who come to peel our crops go home with little cash at the end of the day to help with their various family; we also train our workers to gain some skills, this we believe has its multiplier effect on our productivity as an enterprise.

Constraints

  • The hardest part of the business is the peeling of crops before grating and what makes this difficult is lack of peeling machine. We believe, as soon as the enterprise is able to get this machine, our work will be easier and faster.
  • Another issue we are experiencing is on some of our causal staffs who have little or no formal education; we are faced with the problem of starting with them from the crash.
  • Government’s inconsistent policy is also a major constraint that needs a positive change and adjustment. This will encourage more youths to be involved in the business of agriculture.

Future Plans

  • Even though we still purchase cassava crops from farmers to process, we are planning on cultivating our own cassava and increasing the quantity of our processed product.
  • We intend to venture into the business of industrial starch and cassava flour soonest.
  • We are planning to have a branch in Ekiti state before the end of the year and hope to have branches of Oyinkola Enterprises in different states of Nigeria as time goes on.

Recommendation to the Government

  • Kindly empower more extension workers to assist farmers on their farm to get it right on modern farming techniques and methods.
  • Help Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) by easing the process of getting the NAFDAC number for their products.
  • Ensure adequate access to agricultural machinery, like the tractor, plough etc.

Advice for Upcoming Entrepreneurs and Youths 

  • My advice is that you should be ready to face your life and prepare to start small because where you start from will not be where you will be in few months after starting. Start now and face the challenges ahead as life itself is a challenge. So this is a challenge worth facing to better your life, family and community. You will be proud you did!

Many youths always complain of fund as the major problem of not starting their dream business. But I will say it is not the first thing to consider if one wants to start. Firstly, seek for more knowledge on that particular business and before you are done with that, there will be provision of finance.

Oyinkola Enterprises on Facebook, Website

 

A lifestyle of Passion and Hardwork – Atinuke’s story on her Agribusiness and challenges

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Atinuke on the farm

This month we introduce you to Atinuke Lebile a young agro-entrepreneur without a family farming background but has grown for herself a lifestyle in Agriculture that is inspired by passion and hardwork. Atinuke started her agribusiness year 2014, today she has sole income from her 10 acre farm where she plants plantain, cassava, rice and vegetables while also processing some of her farm products.

Agropreneur Naija had an interview with her where she tells us about herself, how she started her agribusiness enterprise, challenges she faced when she first started up and how she was able to hold on despite the challenges faced.

Q1: Agropreneur, can we meet you?

Answer:  My name is Atinuke Lebile a native of Ondo State, Nigeria. I live in Ibadan, Nigeria. I am a rising young female, social agro-entrepreneur with apt interest in societal and human capital development. I manage La’Luce Foods and Integrated Services. I’m a Strategic Officer at Ogunmod Farms & Farmers and Farmers’ Academy and a Production Manager at Cato Foods and Agro- allied Global Concepts. I have a passion for feeding the nation and I’m so overly excited about agriculture. I was born in December!

Q2: How do you view Agribusiness?

Answer: Agriculture is a lifestyle borne out of passion. In this way I’m able to face challenges and head on when they arise.

Q3: Did you grow up on an Agricultural farm?

Answer:  No, I don’t have a farming family background.

Q4: So, what brought you into Agribusiness?

Answer: Passion and business. In spite of me being a graduate of Agriculture from the University of Ilorin, my venture into agribusiness was largely of passion and the need to do agriculture in a more attractive way like a real profitable business. The need to reduce postharvest losses experienced by farmers and develop the value chain of primary agricultural products also motivated me to go into agribusiness. I still strongly believe agriculture needs to become attractive especially to young people like me; we are the future of Africa.

Q5: When did you venture into Agribusiness?

Answer:  I started agribusiness in the year 2014.

Q6: What Agribusiness do you manage?

Answer:  I am into cultivation of vegetables, plantain, cassava and rice. I package ofada rice, fruits, chips, plantain flour, garri, catfish in various sizes (100g – 50kg), and I’m also involved in agro-processing.

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Atinuke harvesting her corn from the farm.

Q7:  How many acres is your farm?

Answer: 10acres

Q8: Is farming your only source of income?

Answer: YES

Q9: What time does your day start and end?

Answer: My day starts at 4am and ends at 11pm

Q10: Does your family have an influence on your Agribusiness?

Answer: Yes, they do. They respect my choice and provide guidance where and when necessary. Even though while starting my dad was not happy seeing his only daughter going into farming. He has    been a great support, just like every member of my family. Financial and moral support from my family has really been encouraging.

Q11: Did you face any challenge while starting up?

Answer: YES!

Q12: What challenge did you face, and how did you deal with it?

Answer: Funding is a major challenge for startups and I wasn’t exempted in the funding issue. I also faced the challenge of standardization and certification by NAFDAC. I chose to start small to achieve my big dreams in terms of finance. I also learnt a lot from mentors.

Q13: What part of Agribusiness do you find hard?

Answer:  Primary Production

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Atinuke performing irrigation on the soil

Q15: What part of Agribusiness do you find most satisfying?

Answer: The part of having to create products through postharvest processing and cultivate to feed people

Q16: What is the difference in your Agribusiness now and when you started?

Answer: I am still operating at a small scale compared to where I would love to be, but I am not where I used to be. No matter how small progress is, it is still progress anyway.

Q17: Have you ever considered getting out of agriculture for a more lucrative career? Answer: Agriculture is the only sector that has the capacity to create many jobs. My passion has always kept me going. However, there are times that one just feels overwhelmed.

Q18:  How do you see your role in your community?

Answer:  My role in my community is a very crucial one because I provide food on people’s table.

Q19: How do you think the government should implement the change in the agricultural sector?

Answer: There should be strong input from the youths on policy formulations that can drive the agricultural sector in the direction of commercialization and business development. Agricultural inputs should be subsidized and marketing board should be developed.

Q20: Have you seen any change in the present government involvement with agriculture in Nigeria?

Answers:  I believe there will be a change. But I would suggest that they should improve on the achievements of the last administration

Q21: Do you think Nigerians are aware or care about mechanized farming?

Answer: Sure, Nigerians care about mechanized farming

Q22: What changes do you predict the agricultural sector in Nigeria will see over the next 3 years?

Answer: There is going to be more youth involvement. Agriculture will create a lot of jobs and it will benefit from diversified funds.

Q23: Do you have any neighbor, family or friend that have given up Agribusiness?

Answer: YES, a lot.

Q24: What made them choose to give up?

Answer: It was mostly due to the enormous challenges of finance, marketing, climate change, most importantly impatience.

Q25: Do you plan to extend your Agribusiness?

Answer: YES

Q26: What is your plan?

Answer:  To expand postharvest production and create more jobs. I intend to expand production to reach out to more markets.

Q27: What advice would you give a friend that is also an Agropreneur?

Answer: Take Agriculture as a business. It is viable when you give your best to it. Don’t seek overnight success. Agric will not give you sudden wealth but it will build you sustainable wealth. More females need to come into agriculture because females do things with more precision, care and passion.

Follow her on Twitter , Linkedin

 

 

If the youth can farm, Africa’s agriculture will be transformed.

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Africa is currently endowed with a large population of young people with 65% of the population of Africa being below the age of 35. These figures present an enormous opportunity that, if leveraged, could turn around the continent’s food fortunes and drive its economic growth.

During the just concluded Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Nairobi, US President Barack Obama announced a US$1.0 Billion fund for African youth & women. The youth are privileged to be experiencing unprecedented good will from governments, private sector and the donor community.

10 million youth enter the labor market annually. Two out of three inhabitants of sub-Saharan Africa are under the age of 25; Poverty, poor health, hunger and lack of education limit the potential of these youth to increase productivity and agricultural incomes.  With 40% of the total unemployed being youth and 70% of these living in rural areas, it is time the youth stepped up to their place in Africa’s agricultural transformation agenda.

This week, over 300 Youth agriculture entrepreneurs will gather together with private sector and academia at the Olive convention center in Durban South Africa for the CCARDESA Youth in agriculture summit for Southern Africa. The summit is poised to revolutionize and unlock agribusiness opportunities for the youth in this region.

AGRA sees the value and, in fact, the critical need of investing in empowering youth to strengthen and sustain the foundation for African agricultural transformation in the future. This summit provides a great opportunity to increase the understanding of the specific needs of young people, improving the capacity of youth to profitably engage in activities along the agricultural value chain, to improve youth employment and business opportunities along the value chain, increase small holder farm productivity and improve access to markets and financing, and to improve the policy environment for youth participation in agriculture and agribusiness.

Our intention to boost youth engagement and opportunities in agriculture is gaining traction. AGRA is supporting the development and deployment of ICT applications to improve input and output markets through its mfarms application in 17 countries. The number of mfarm beneficiaries over the last 4years is slightly over 73,400. This week, AGRA will also be supporting the development of more ICT solutions for agriculture through a hackerthon that will be running on the sidelines of the summit. The youth are willing to farm, but only if they can generate returns quickly. This therefore presents an opportunity for innovative solutions in financing and access to markets. That way we can have youth engaging in farming in new ways as well as working in the surrounding industries in terms of inputs, services and value adding agribusiness.

You can read the original post on AGRA WEBSITE