Agropreneur Nigeria

THOUGHT FOR FOOD CHALLENGE- An enabler for sustainable food security

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More than ever before the issue of food security is a priority for us all. Day in day out around the world researchers, scientists, policy makers and stakeholder from various sectors even outside the agriculture sphere are working hard to proffer sustainable solution to the issue of food security. They are in labs, workshops, meetings to conceptualize solution and map out way forward. Many of these ones are old and are doing these activities not just because of the 10 -30 years or less they have to live but because they are also concerned about what becomes of the future generation( young people like myself and the child unborn). They have a lingering question at heart

BY 2050 WHAT WILL THE OVER 9BILLON PEOPLE FEED ON?

Have you thought of this yourself? Have you got some ideas in your head on how things can be made better? Have you been discussing this with a group of friends a week or two back? Have you wondered about how you can contribute to this burning issue even though you are just a student? I HAVE GOODNEWS FOR YOU

For the past 2 years, young people, students from around the world have gathered to pitch ideas and solution to the issue of feeding the world in a sustainable and environmentally manner. They have met at what is known as the “Thought for Food” Summit. They meet here not to just pitch, they network, prize money is won and of course they party to their success. Watch this video that highlights last year’s event

This year will not be am exception as the THOUGHT FOR FOOD CHALLENGE is again open to student teams to sign up for this prestigious competition with over 10000 USD to be won. I personally have followed the #TFFChallenge for two years and I can tell you these three things

  • It is absolutely worth all the effort
  • I have not seen a team from West Africa or Nigeria qualified to the top ten teams that are able to pitch their ideas at the #TFFSummit.
  • This year provides an opportunity for teams of students in Nigeria and West Africa to show case their ideas and get the chance to pitch their idea

So what needs to be done?

The TFFChallenge allows for university students (Undergraduate-Phd) from all field of study to explore and generate sustainable ideas that can help feed the world. Take for example in 2014 the team FoPo Food Power from the Lund University Sweden came up with the idea to convert unsellable and almost expiring food into food powder with dozens of uses including space mission, humanitarian aids and lot more. The powder has a longer shelf life than fresh produce and preserves nutritional qualities, properties and taste. This team came out as runner up and went home with $5000.

I am absolutely certain that the teaming number of youth in universities in Nigeria can definitely come up with an idea worthwhile and the TFFChallenge gives you the place to showcase it.

Here is what is needed

  • Sign up on www.tffchallenge.com
  • Form your team of 3-5 students from different fields,
  • Begin the TFF Challenge and develop your Project.
  • All project development and submission is due by Dec 1 2015 as finalist will be announced on the 15th of December 2015.

We all have a role as young people to contribute to the kind of future we want for ourselves and the generation to come. And this competition is one avenue to do so.

Personally I encourage all Nigerian students who are innovative and have got great ideas to team up and sign up for the TFFChallenge.

For more guidance download the student info pack here

Agric Engineer uses ICT to provide support services to farmers

Yet again, BusinessDay Nigeria, sheds some light into my activities as a youth in Agriculture in the Wednesday 24th April 2014 edition of the newspaper. Spare a  few minutes and read below this piece by Yinka Alawode of Businessday

A young Chief Executive of Agropreneur Nigeria runs his family piggery farm and combines it with his knowledge of Agriculture and ICT to provide business support services to farmers.

Olawale Ojo has a degree in Agricultural Engineering from the Federal University of Technology Akure and a Diploma in Integrated Farming Systems from the Songhai Centre for Production, Training, and Research, Port Novo, Benin Republic.

His inspiration came after his course at the Songhai Centre, which served as an eye opener to him as he worked with other youths planning to launch agribusinesses.

He started Agropreneur Nigeria April 2012. The business provides business support services to farmers, especially young agriculturists. The firm also does advocacy and capacity building for young people. “We believe the future of the agricultural sector is in the hands of the youths when they take it as a business. So, we work on changing the mindset of young people and in turn provide information and business support to help them grow,” says Ojo.

To achieve this, Agropreneur Nigeria profiles successful young farmers called agropreneurs on the internet and share their stories so that others can learn. “That also serves as an incentive to these hardworking young people. We have also worked on agricultural research and share the information via social media to enable a proper understanding of what is happening in the sector,” Ojo says.

He explains that this business is targeted at the youths and it focuses on making agriculture attractive while at the same time introducing modern technology like ICT for agriculture and social media as a tool for knowledge and information sharing in agribusiness.

Agropreneur plans to have a considerable expanse of land separate from the family farm he runs, where youths can be trained in farming and can establish their own businesses. “We also want to engage rural areas by creating access to market for them and providing qualitative extension service for them, especially with the internet. I must say that a lot of youths are beginning to see that the agriculture sector is a gold mine,” according to Ojo.

 

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Youth entrepreneur using ICT to grow agribusinesses

Business

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has grown many businesses in several sectors, and young entrepreneurs are now using ICT to tap into the gold-mine inherent in agribusinesses. Olawale Ojo, chief executive, Agropreneur Nigeria, provides business support services for farmers and young agriculturists. Apart from advocacy and capacity building for aspiring agro-entrepreneurs, the business provides information and business support to help them grow.

“We do research and share the information via social media to enable a proper understanding of what is happening in the sector. We also profile successful young agropreneurs and share their story so that others can learn, and this serves as an incentive to these hardworking young people. I started the business April 30, last year,” according to Ojo.

Background

Ojo has a degree in Agricultural Engineering from the Federal University of Technology Akure and a diploma in Integrated Farming Systems from the Songhai Centre for Production, Training, and Research, Porto Novo, Benin Republic.

Inspiration

He says: “My inspiration came after my course at the Songhai Centre. It served as an eye opener for me as I worked with other youths from different parts of Africa exploring the agricultural value chain. So, using my knowledge of ICT, I provide capacity building services using social media as a tool for knowledge and information sharing to help young entrepreneurs boost their agribusinesses. Though the main target are youths, we also work with older farmers and investors in agribusiness generally.”

Challenges

The business no doubt has its own fair share of challenges. “Building a team and a structure for my business was a bit of a challenge. Financing was also challenging. I got help from older ones in the field and mentors I have met along the way such as the CEO of Centre for Urban Agricultural Development, the lady Olatoye, who was really helpful in my starting up. I also learned a lot from materials I read from research organisations.”

Future prospects

I have joined my parents in running a family farm. But I want Agropreneur Nigeria to have its own farm, a very big one, where we can give youths practical training in agricultural production/agribusiness so they can start their own businesses. We also want to do market facilitation for farmers in rural areas as well as provide qualitative extension services for them. Fortunately, more and more youths are willingly setting up agrobusinesses in Nigeria and in other countries. They are beginning to see that the agricultural sector is a gold-mine that needs tapping. And it is now time to act and start employing innovative ways to key into the sector, despite the challenges we have.”

This article about me was published the Business Day Newspaper Edition of July 22 2013