MyFarmBase Africa‘s Youth Start Up of The Month was created to tell the stories of young farmers and agricpreneurs alongside reaching out to prospective farmers to learn from their successes and failures with the sole aim of increasing food production and making huge profits from the different value chains in agriculture.
MEET ADEKOLA FEMI
Femi Adekoya is a first class graduate of horticulture and with a Master’s degree in view in Agricultural Development and Sustainable Environment (FUNAAB).
He is also a member of the international Society of Horticultural Science (ISHS), the world’s leading independent organization of horticultural scientists.
Being a very passionate fellow of Agriculture and its business, he runs an agric business, Agridec Ltd, cultivating and marketing various crops majorly veggies [Ugu, Amranthus, Celosia, Okro, pepper, tomatoes, watermelon, cucumber, cabbages, spinach, lettuces, Solanum (ìgbó in Yoruba) and many more.
His company, Agridec Ltd, actively offers agricultural consultancy in setting up/ establishing farm and farm management.
He is a SDG enthusiast who is committed to contributing to food security in the country.
Femi, whose motto is “Work with me, don’t work for me”, believes that workers are more effective and efficient when key responsibilities are delegated and entrusted to them.
However, he also added that the clarity of his own plans has set a clear course for his farm’s growth and enabled his workers trust his decisions.
MFB: Tell us about your agric business.
Femi Adekoya: We are majorly into the production of vegetable crops like watermelon, cucumber, spinach, gabbage and indigenous vegetables with a little of arable crops.
We also engage ourselves in animal production but at a small scale level with an intention to launch into integrated farming in the nearest future.
We also deal with sales of inputs like fertilizers, agrochemicals and other inputs needed for production.
Currently, we farm in a 2-hectare sized land and we hope to expand by 3 hectares in few months.
At the moment, I have two major full-time workers who are always on the farm whilst other needed workers are usually recruited for day-jobs and paid accordingly as long as they deliver.
MFB: When did you decide to go for Agribusiness and why?
Femi Adekoya: From my high school days, I have always loved everything agriculture especially, tilling the earth and sowing to reap.
I am always thrilled with the multiplication that takes place when just a seed is sown, to have of hundredth back in harvest. This wonder of nature ignited the passion for agriculture within me.
With this, I realised that, this is what I always love doing without being coerced to do it.
So I launched out to start growing plant and raising livestocks animals not only for the pleasure but to get some good income to support myself, and this started 2012 as an undergraduate.
I have since then being running this agribusiness, cultivating and marketing various crops majorly veggies [Ugu, Amranthus, Celosia, Okro, pepper, tomatoes, watermelon, cucumber, cabbages, spinach, lettuces, Solanum (ìgbó in Yoruba) and many more].
Apart from the passion I have for agriculture, I saw the need in the society, that food is an indispensable commodity, so i decided to be a solution provider in this regard.
I went ahead to get my business registered as a private liability company to ensure that it is legally covered knowing what the future holds for me in this agricbusiness.
MFB: What has been your greatest challenge and how are you handling it?
Femi Adekoya: The greatest challenge to every farmer at the moment is climate change.
Recently, rain flooded my farm of 2 weeks cucumber and also re-occured in September despite been familiar with the farm for over 2 years.
Climate change has altered and faulted the decision making process of farmers and is a major reason for low agricultural productivity.
Getting committed laborers have been a challenge too but so far, all our current workers are doing great. No matter how mechanized your farms are, you still need committed hands to help you work on your farm
Another major challenge is the cost of agricultural inputs used in production; they are unnecessarily very expensive, and have caused a great increase in production cost.
MFB: What’s your message to the youths?
Femi Adekoya: With the country’s population increasing by the day, for us to meet up with the demand for food, we need to produce more and this is where the youths need to come in.
Youths must step up and get involve in different aspects of the value chains – production, logistics, marketing, processing and distribution of agriculture products.
At the moment, we can not fight climate change, we can only embrace and adapt to it.
We need to create systems to reduce the negative effects of climate change such as green houses, climate information services, drones, irrigation system, amongst others, and youths are better positioned to understand and practice more efficiently innovative mechanisms in agriculture.
We need to embrace smart farming if we are going to keep up with the demands for food by the ever increasing population.
Youths must quit chasing white collar jobs only and see the amazing possibilities and profits embedded in agriculture.
Compiled and Reported by Iyanuoluwa Aliu