My name is Olalekan Obisesan, a 24-year-old Nigerian. I take delight in nourishing minds and bodies of people for greatness.
I hold a B. Agric. Tech. in Crop, Soil and Pest Management from the prestigious Federal University of Technology, Akure, Nigeria. And I serve as the Creative Director of TECMAO Resources—a social enterprise with the goal of contributing to the eradication of poverty and hunger in Africa.
I grew up in a part of Nigeria ravaged with Poverty, Hunger and Malnutrition despite the presence of abundance resources that have potentials to solve these problems. However, the need to change this situation inspired me to develop interest in agriculture since I strongly believe it is vital in my quest to tackling the aforementioned challenges.
An assessment conducted from November to December, 2016, by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) team in Nigeria showed more than two million Nigerians are displaced as at December, 2015.
When people are internally displaced, the menace, malnutrition, sets in as a result of poverty.
In Nigeria, no less than one million children die before their fifth birthday. Malnutrition contributes to nearly half of these deaths and that is why malnutrition is referred to as a silent crisis raging across Nigeria.
The need to combat this menace, among other reasons, inspired me to launch a Moringa project in Nigeria about two years ago. Moringa oleirera is widely known for its numerous medicinal and nutritional value. This plant has the potential to help reduce hunger, poverty and malnutrition in the world.
With passion and dedication, I have been able to contribute to environmental protection (mitigating the effects of climate change) through massive planting of Moringa trees. As at February, 2016, through my works with Voluntary Service Overseas (www.vsointernational.org), Face of Agriculture, Africa (www.faceofagricultureafrica.com), and few other local and international organizations.
I have been able to champion the planting of thousands of Moringa trees across three different states in Nigeria ;Ondo, Ekiti, and Kwara. Secondary school students in these states have also be involved in this project, the goal being to make then inculcate tree planting as a tool against the effects of climate change and also to help them develop entrepreneurial instincts.
In early 2015, I made up my mind to extend the frontiers of my impact by producing well-packaged and branded Moringa Powder in tea bags and containers and then expand the business later on.
Fortunately, I was selected after an online business competition and a series of screening exercises as one of the corps members that will benefit from the first of its kind Graduate Entrepreneurship Fund of the Bank of Industry.
The loan will be used for capital expenses of the business that will amount to about USD 10,000. Thus, giving room for other sources of funding for operating expenses, which will be up to about USD 5,000. The loan is already guaranteed, and winning this grant will go a long way to make the business successful since the Moringa trees I have planted will serve as a cheap source of raw material.
The need for people (mainly those in the rural areas) to live healthier, richer, and happier is my motivation. Some of the direct benefits of the project for my community are, first, the project will provide a source of livelihood.
Interested unemployed youths and rural women will be involved in the project. Land, Moringa seeds and other inputs will be provided for them to grow Moringa trees and at the end the day, our company will still buy directly from them.
Second, the products, for instance, the Moringa powder in containers will serve as food supplement in orphanages, rural schools, and most especially for the Internally Displaced Persons in IDP Camps.
And also, the Moringa tea will help every home live healthier and happier.
Third, since we are the first generation to experience climate change and we are the last generation to do something about it, there is a need to protect the environment from this menace. Planting of Moringa trees is a pragmatic step that would help in achieving this goal.
And to me, the benefit I tend to derive is that when the project sustains itself, I would be fulfilled as a young person making people live healthier, happier and richer.
Since a lot of challenges face most developing countries, creating a sustainable solution to a community’s felt need will go a long way. For the project to be successful, various awareness programs on the health benefit of Moringa will be introduced especially in the rural areas thus revealing the medicinal and nutritional benefits of ‘the wonder plant’.
As a social enterprise, the number of people that are able to secure a livelihood and those that benefit immensely form the nutritional and medicinal qualities of Moringa (especially the malnourished children) will be the actual measurable factor of success of the project.
Securing this grant will go a long way to making my dream a reality since the five thousand dollars will be used as operating expenses in producing well branded and packaged Moringa tea and powder.
My own contribution as the entrepreneur is to secure a factory building and also provide raw materials for producing the products.
Here is a budget of some major items that would make the project succeed:
- Generator plant USD 500
- Pipe bore water USD 2,000
- Advertisement USD 500
- Branding and packaging USD 1,000
- Consumables USD 500
- Salary USD 250
- Contingencies USD 250
Total: USD 5,000
It is great news to see the emergence of young entrepreneurs with creative enterprise that would add value to the environment and also to the lives of people.
Moringa production, however, remains a vital tool in rural reconstruction all over the world. People deserve to live Healthier, Richer and Happier and we are the turning point generation that can make all these happen. Yes! It is achievable, it is possible!
Blogpost and picture submitted by Olalekan Obisesan (Nigeria): Obisesanolalekan[at]gmail.com
The content, structure and grammar are at the discretion of the author only.
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