Meet Adedehinbo, a successful farmer who started with two spoonfuls of vegetable seedlings…..
Below is an excerpt of his interview with one of our correspondents.
1) Hello! May we know you?
My names are Adekoya Adedehinbo Oluwasegun, I hail from owe kija, Ijebu, Ogun State. I am a 25-year old graduate who comes from a polygamous family. I graduated in the year 2016 from the Federal College of Technology, Akoka where i studied biology science.
2) Did you venture into farming by chance or by choice?
I ventured into farming by chance and by choice. During my final year in school, i worked on a biological site where i planted corn. Since then, I have had the urge for agriculture but did not know how to go about it. After graduation, i saw a friend’s post on Facebook which got me more interested in Agriculture. From there, i hooked up with my friend and signed up for Farming for Empowerment and entrepreneurship development FEED1.
3) Why did you decide to venture into farming, as opposed to seeking a white-collar job?
I decided to go into farming instead of a white-collar job because unemployment is at its peak in the country. I ventured into it so I can provide food and fight poverty.
4) What were your fears before you ventured into the industry?
My fear was how to start. To purchase farm tools, farm equipment and farmland is huge and not everyone has the capacity.
5) Did you have any support, loan or grant when you started?
I started my journey with no tools, grants nor loans from anyone. I borrowed cutlass, hoes from friends to be able to start cultivation. I started with two spoons of vegetable seedlings and it has turned into a big thing for me today.
6) What is the greatest challenge you have faced since you started as a farmer and how did you scale through?
Bad roads, inability to get seedlings, non-availability of water, farm tools and equipment. This makes us (farmers) plant only for the rainy season. One of the biggest challenges i faced was when i did ugwu cultivation without having the right knowledge of the ugwu association and it made me lose lots of funds on it. I had my goods with me but on getting to the market to sell, i discovered that you have to join the association and this cost about twenty thousand naira which i could not afford. This made me lose most of my investment then. But now i have been able to know the pros and cons of agriculture with what i faced then.
7) At this level, what are the limiting factors you face?
When i started the agriculture journey, i started with a dump site; I started with other people’s land because i couldn’t afford one. The only period i work is very short and this has limited me to doing some cultivation and some, I am unable to do. I fear that the owner of the land i am using might decide to take it back anytime.
8) What would you admonish the government to do to help farmers like you?
The government needs to work on creating a good relationship with farmers. Most farmlands are far from the cities with bad roads, no farm equipment, no farm tools, and no borehole or irrigation system for the dry season. Therefore I admonish the government to invest, provide more farm machineries, and create good roads to transport farm produce from rural areas to urban areas. This will bring about a good economy for the government and citizens as a whole.
9) But come to think of it; your farm started from a dumpsite, weren’t you irritated by the sight or thought of toiling a dump site?
I was not irritated at all nor felt bad about it because the passion to create a clean fold, provide food to eradicate poverty and produce food to curb hunger was in my heart.
10) We learned that some Germans came to inspect your work sometime ago, tell us about it.
The Germans came in 2018 after hearing my story of how I started with borrowed farm tools and 2 spoons of seedlings. They were wowed by my story and came through Sipasi Olalekan Ayodele of ProtectOzone Livelihood initiative, their partners came from Germany to the country to view my work and they were happy by what they saw, and they went back to replicate some ideas gotten here in Germany.
11) If you were president for a day, what’s the first thing you’d do?
If I were a president for a day, hunger would be a thing of the past. A farm would be at the backyard of every household in the country where every citizen would have access to food. I would repair bad roads to enable easy movement for people, persons, and goods in which the government fails to do currently.
12) Do you aspire to expand your reach someday?
Yes, i aspire to expand my reach and i give it a thought every day on how to expand my land and poultry farm. Every day, I dream of having acres and hectares of land. I am working towards it and i know one day i will get there.
13) Are you single or married? If single, when will the bells be jingling?
I am single and not ready for a relationship that would lead to marriage at the moment. Very soon probably in three years if God has it the way it should, I should get engaged but now I am married to my job, academics, farmland and my future.
14) What is your greatest fear?
My greatest fear is the dry season and the season is almost here. Most farmlands will pack up again and farm produce will become costly and people will not be able to afford it. And this is the reason why the government needs to put in more funds and materials to farmers to enable them to sustain during the season.
15) What is your deepest regret?
My deepest regret is that I started with no funds. The only regret I have now is doing some voluntary work that take my time and at the end of the day, I won’t be well appreciated.
16) What advice would you give potential investors or Nigerians abroad who intend to invest in Nigeria’s agricultural sector?
I would tell investors that agriculture is not a money doubling venture. It is a venture that would give you a lot of money simply by getting your land because it is not good for beginners to borrow land. I would implore investors who would enter agriculture as a business to buy their land, build their farm House, get boreholes in their land and employ people that would work there. By doing this, they will see their profit, because Agriculture is God owned business.