Farmers have hailed the enterprise approach, which the Federal Government has adopted in the development of the agricultural sector in the country.
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development recently stated that his goal was to use agricultural business and finance innovations to turn Nigerian and African farmers, as well as agribusinesses into millionaires and billionaires, a declaration, which agriculture stakeholders have described as motivational.
A lawyer and pig farmer, Mr. Boluwaji Iwajomo, said the minister’s statement is already engendering hope and optimism about the future of agriculture among young professionals, who have found opportunities in agribusiness, either as the sole area of investment or as an additional means of revenue.
“We on our farm have keyed into this statement and we look forward to the New Year with hope; we intend to expand and we are sure that with the revolution in the agricultural sector as we see under this present administration, the future for small scale farmers like us is bright,” Iwajomo, a barrister from Akure, Ondo State.
Iwajomo narrated his experience in agribusiness as a young graduate lawyer. “I started my pig farm about three years ago and I combine it with my busy schedule as an attorney. We started with 1 male pig and 2 females; because of the procreation and fertility history of pigs, we multiplied rapidly; feeding pigs is cheap, we visit local schools and eateries to collect left over foods and buy pig feed at a local mill. My networks of friends include Vet doctors and I have been helped by them to provide care for our animals. Today, we have grown rapidly with about 430 pigs on our farm. This Christmas, our net income in sales was in the thousands. I am an employer of labor, I pay salaries of two staff and business is growing and good, with a growing business, and my ever so busy law practice, I have been able to create additional income to help support our family.”
He itemised the lessons he has learnt within this space of time thus: “Economic sustenance is very simple, especially for young graduates,” stressing that “my case is a typical example.” According to Iwajomo, “with determination, there are many options out there that can create self employment. You do not have to be a graduate of agriculture to own and start a farm. Financially, starting on a small scale is viable if one makes it a priority. Owning a farm will not take you away from your primary profession, but it will add extra income to your pocket. You can be an employer of labor and help in feeding other families. If every young graduate takes a cue from this, the level of unemployment in the nation will reduce drastically.”
Iwajomo advised that “special mention should be made here of the policies of the current federal Ministry of Agriculture under the able leadership of the Honorable Minister of Agriculture, Dr Akinwunmi Adesina, for his supportive and farmer- friendly policies: Case in point is the Growth Enhancement packages that heavily subsidises costs incurred by registered pig farmers around the country. Other policies abound which have made it easy to purchase feeds at cheap prizes. My hope is that more funds and subsidies would be made available to help willing farmers.”
Iwajomo shared his experience of about five years ago just prior to his graduation from the university, saying “it was very worrisome looking around me and seeing that many graduates including my humble self were going to join the employment market with no hope, but depending on good old government to provide employment. I was scared and felt there had to be another way out, especially for sustenance.”
His story is now no longer that of uncertainty but of great prospects as he got inspiration from Brian Brett’s quote, that“farming is a profession of hope.” Iwajomo buttressed this by adding that, “indeed we see and live it on our farm on a daily basis.”