I am Ogbole Samson, 33 years of age residing in Ibadan, Oyo state, Nigeria. I am a Biochemistry graduate from Igbinedion University, currently running masters in Biochemistry (specialty in drug metabolism and toxicology) with University of Ibadan and also Common Wealth of Nations MBA with National Open University of Nigeria, Victoria Island Lagos. I work with Yam Improvement for Income and Food security in West Africa (YIIFSWA), International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Ibadan, Oyo state. I grow plants without the use of soil – and grow them in the air/misty environment instead. This process is referred to as aeroponics.
It is no secret that a young Nigerian isn’t interested in agriculture because being called a farmer is seen as degrading. With the fall in oil prices, there is a great need for the diversification of the economy and agriculture remains the greatest weapon in this time of economic pitfall. Working with YIIFSWA, IITA, I was introduced to the aeroponics system as a corps member for a year and I have been in charge of the aeroponics system for yam for two years.
I wish to train, set-up and help maintain the aeroponics system on a small and large scale for vegetables, flowers and fruits. My choices of crops are motivated by what is needed for a healthy growth and yet has remained elusive to those who need it the most.
The price of land is going astronomical as civilization and farmers are at logger heads for limited land. There is also the need for diversification for the economy with the oil prices going down; crime is on the rise with people losing their white-collar jobs. With the aeroponics system, aside from the obvious reasons for aeroponics cultivation such as: reduced use of water, planting anytime of the season, reduced use of insecticides and pesticides, able to plant in previously untillable areas, faster plant cycles, there is also the attraction of generation of income, automated systems for reduced labour and an opportunity for everyone to practice basic agricultural practices for healthier crops for better life.
In addition I will also introduce the use of organic fertilizer for those who prefer organically grown plants. The death-age has reduced drastically in the country from 120years to 70years-80years interval despite the better hospitals as compared to our forefathers. The reason isn’t far-fetched as it has to do with deterioration in our feeding habits. We have become starved of fresh foods, but with aeroponics system that can fit inside the house, we can at least produce fresh vegetables for our consumption, have flowers in our sitting rooms for cleaner and fresher air.
Aeroponics system will ensure food security, increase health, diversify economy and increase revenue via exportation of agricultural produce. The aeroponics system will also be beneficial not just for Nigerians but for Africa even in areas predominantly deserts as this ensures plants can be grown anywhere irrespective of weather and soil type.
I will be using local materials basically for the construction of aeroponics system for small and large scale farmer. The principle is simple – a timer, pump, nutrient tank, plant chamber/support system and timer.
Firstly, I will through my social and PR platforms meet with both individuals, private and public organizations as well as agricultural NGOs for establishment of aeroponics systems. I shall also conduct training sessions on how to set-up aeroponics systems and also maintain the systems.
Secondly I will go to secondary schools to introduce the system to the schools, and also establish a small system for the school. The school will be charged a token for this demonstration and establishment of bucket-aeroponics systems with tomatoes. These trainings shall be done during Parent-Child meetings of the schools so that both the students and parents get to know about the systems and the benefits. I have penciled 10 schools in Lagos state from which I will begin the introduction of the systems already such as Greensprings School, Corona Schools, etc.
I have introduced people via social media on the aeroponics technology, the importance and the need for diversification of the economy. (facebook – Sreach aeroponics www.facebook.com/groups/440513576154546/ – open group and www.facebook.com/ogbole.samson and also on twitter @Gsreachliteracy with 412 followers). I have built a small 20 liters bucket size aeroponics system model that can grow 5 plants.
Having worked in the aeroponics systems for 3 years (1 year as a corps member and 2 years as a technician in charge of the system) I have in this period: developed best nutrient combination for shooting/canopy formation for yam and tuberization of yam, trained staffs of both private and public institutes such as National Roots Crops Research Institute (NRCRI), Umudike, Biocrops Center, Abuja etc, established aeroponics system in Umudike and Abuja, production of seed yams from vine cutting from the aeroponics system, increased effectiveness and efficiency in the yam aeroponics system in IITA.
I will use the money in the following way:
To build models for presentations and tool box ($2,100),
Projector – to aid explanation/presentation ($500),
Banner and 2000 glossy pamphlets ($1,000),
Generator, Inverter and battery ($1,000), and
Miscellaneous – transport, printing etc ($400).
Every school visited will be charged $1,000 for the presentation and an aeroponics models. I also intend to visit religious organizations, restaurants and relaxation centers – as the cost of producing their vegetables is cheaper and healthier than importing.
In the first 3 months, I will be building capacity and from the 4th month to 6th month of operation, I will be able to service at least 5 schools monthly, would have built he system for at least 6 families and in the construction process for 3 companies.
In a year, I will be able to employ at least 10 more hands, cover more schools, build for more families and partner with companies for construction of screen houses to ensure quick delivery.
By March 31st, 2017, aeroponics would have been integrated well into the mainframe of agriculture for subsistence production of vegetables, gardening flowers, certified clean seed production and also commercial production of crops.
The staff strength under me should be at least 10, and also we would have empowered 20 youths who wish to own their systems, 200 families with the aeroponics system, 60 secondary schools with functional aeroponics systems, established a clean tomatoes seed farmer and 3 commercial aeroponics systems owned by private organization or agricultural NGOs.
Blogpost and picture submitted by Ogbole Samson (Nigeria) – ogbolesamson[at]gmail.com
The content, structure and grammar is at the discretion of the author only.
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