My name is Ojehomon Oritsebubemi Aigbodion, 32, of Maryland, Lagos. I lost my Mum at the age of two. I live in Sabongida Ora (originally called Evbiobe), Owan West local Government Area of Edo State, Nigeria.
I will break the gap between farmers and consumers, local and international. I came into agriculture with little experience on farming, but l was well grounded with information technology, which I gathered while working with Etisalat Nigeria and mass communication, which I studied and came out with Hnd in Moshood Abiola Polytechnic.
I came into the agricultural sector through buying produce (plantain, maize, cocoa, and cassava called Garri or grand an converted to flour ). I hauled these products to cities and made a profit as a middle salesman between farmers, wholesalers, and local consumers in Lagos.
I later discovered buying from farmers was a risky business considering the capital cost of produce and accompanied with haulage/tax on carrying produce interstate along with personal profit. This would also be increased by wholesale agents and also increased by retailers, which makes the cost of produce in the cities high.
Yes, at times I smile to the bank with profit. But please note there is a disadvantage which I personally experienced: You’re buying from farmers at a particular cost excluding transport and operational expenses. There could be serious loss when expected selling price drops below your cost price of purchasing produce.
I decided it was time to be the source rather than a middleman. It was that very moment I decided being a farmer was my major goal.
- I have planted 12 hactares of plantain
- Poultry with 6 weeks old broilers 200 at five-weeks-old, 150 layers, and 2 weeks old broilers 107 (I have land space that can manage over 20,000 birds. The land is 200 metres from a residential area.)
- I have achieved 2 h/c of cassava (planted)
- I have achieved 15 h/c of land space for Maize (Not planted awaiting April planting season, due to lack of irrigation system)
How will I implement my project?
I intend bridging the gap between farmers and consumers by creating s supply of fresh and cheap produce, directly from my farms and fellow farmers around. I will also create an awareness campaign among farmers around Edo state (Owan west is active already—Sabongida Ora Youth Farmers Association) by creating a mobile delivery system with fresh produce direct from Ehimika farms.
I have been able to organize free training programmes for over 300 farmers on acceptable seedlings, pest control procedures, and bookkeeping.
For Ehimika Farms, mechanized farming would utilize its strength to bring all farmers along Owan West and East together to all have a common goal of striving to establishing a common channel for food supply locally and for export.
I also would consider exploring other areas of agriculture after our first year of being mechanized on already planted crops.
My farms would use its compliance with information technology to continue exploring agricultural training experts locally and foreign to share their experiences with us.
Our association has not been fully registered under the laws of Nigeria. I came up with the idea of setting up a common ground where our voice could be unified and understood. So far, we have been able to get the attention of nonfinancial bodies, both locally and internationally, through the Internet.
Ehimika Farms has set up various social media channels (Facebook, Ehimika Farm) and a news-stand on current affairs in agriculture as they affects us generally (www.ojehomon.com). This brings in global and local companies intrested in ordering our harvest, and also have been seeking procedures and details on how export works.
Ehimika Farms, in collaboration with Monsanto, organized free training for farmers all around Sabongida Ora on the need for mechanized farming and hybrid seedlings.
Benefits for Me and My Community
I would be empowered by expanding farm for commercial farming and also would create a huge awareness considering the level at which I have been encouraging youth like myself to key into agriculture as a profession
My community has already started seeing the level at which we the upcoming educated farmers intend taking agriculture.
I have sent various petitions and complaints to the authorities as regards the only existing road for over 50,000 local farmers moving produce out of farm before selling to middle agent or transporting to city markets themselves with unbearable hardship. The Federal Government has responded and work would soon commence on a 60% constructed and abondoned project 12 years now.
Personal and Community Benefits
There are a few disadvantages of farm mechanization such as: being dangerous if not handled properly, initial cost of investment is quite high, and some may argue that the tools are not environmentally friendly. Nevertheless the benefits far outweigh the disadvantages.
In my own opinion, agricultural mechanization will play a vital role in aggressively boosting food production, thereby promoting employment and also making agriculture more attractive to youths, who are the next generation of farmers.
- Tractor (Expansion) Rent = USD 500
- Micro irrigation system (All-year planting possible) USD 1,000
- Haulage Truck (movement of fresh produce in large quantity for wholesale and retail). Renting would be implemented presently, while a projected purchase date would be planned on income from plantain and poultry (broiler sale)
- Minivan for retail distribution (Distribution implementation) USD 2,000
- Poultry Expansion, USD 1,500
Profit from plantain sales in three-months’ time, would be added to truck purchase price to reduce the logistics cost of moving produce.
Poultry farming would create income within one year to purchase a truck for haulage to cities
Plantain farm and maize farming would be and all year harvest due to irrigation system
Blogpost and picture submitted by Ojehomon Oritsebubemi Aigbodion (Nigeria): ehimekafarm[at]outlook.com
The content, structure and grammar are at the discretion of the author only.
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