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.
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.
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.”
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.”
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