Agriculture is progressively becoming the next big trade in Nigeria and indeed a priority in the government’s development scheme. As a result of this trend, young entrepreneurs or permit me to say “Agropreneurs” are becoming pioneers in this sector by investing their time and wealth in agriculture. Below is an interview conducted between our rep and Adenuga Adeniyi, a 24-year-old agropreneur involved in catfish business:
How did you get involved in the catfish business?
Adenuga: I got into catfish business after undergoing a 3-month training program in an Aquaculture institute in Ijebu-Ode (felimar), Ogun State. After my final year exams and prior to NYSC posting, I engaged myself in a routine by visiting farms in the region to gain hands-on experience in farming. I had always wanted to be self-employed and agriculture was the way for me since I had studied animal health and production in the University of Agriculture in Abeokuta. During strikes or school breaks, I engaged myself in one farm or the other. During my NYSC service year, I made up my mind to go into catfish business. Besides the experience and inspiration I got from doing menial jobs at the aquaculture institute, I was determined and driven to become my own boss.
Can you describe your typical workday?
Adenuga: My typical workday varies, depending on the tasks that need to be accomplished. When I wake up in the morning at 6am, I walk around the farm to observe the ponds and take notes of what exactly I need to do. These vary from changing the pond water, to changing the feeds of the fish, and treating the ponds if need be. The fish are fed twice daily, 9am and 4pm. Other activities include sorting, grading and making sales. There are days I start work by 6am and not rest until 5pm. Agriculture may be tasking some days and one must be passionate and hardworking to succeed.
What were the initial challenges you faced when you started and how are you dealing with them?
Adenuga: The usual challenges as a young farmer are access to land and funding. In my case, I used my family’s 3 plot of land for my catfish business and received initial start up funds from my parents and loans from my church cooperative society. Other challenges were market penetration, gluts, high feed cost, lack of infrastructural facilities like smoking kiln, feed mill and access to land for expansion purposes.
What is the skill set required for people looking to get into catfish business?
Adenuga: Besides interest and passion, knowledge and technical know-how are required for the catfish business. The ability to plan and make accurate estimates on input costs, for example feed needed for the fish to grow well is important for being successful in the business.
How much fish do you sell and what are the profit margins like?
Adenuga: I have a capacity of 15 tonnes, which is approximately 10,000 table size fish. With the method of staggered stocking, I am able to sell about 2-3 tonnes (2,000 fish) per month on average. My profit margins is about 25% – 40% of my cost of production, depending on other variables. So far, I have been consistent in covering my cost of production and I have also been reinvesting my profit.
What are your long-term goals in the business in the next five years?
Adenuga: My long-term goals are my expansion plan to about 5 hectares of land and diversifying my farming business into crops like plantain and cassava. I also want to include livestock in the near future as I currently have three Kalahari goat breed on the farm. In the next 5 years I want to be in a position to motivate other youths to venture into agriculture, and for my success story to be acknowledged in commercial agriculture in the country.
How do you define success in what you do?
Adenuga: Well, success comes from God. Success for me is achieving my goals in terms of expansion, being in a position to help people and adding value to agriculture in Nigeria. Most importantly, success is deriving happiness from what I do on a daily basis.
What advice will you give to other young people to encourage them to get involved in agribusiness?
Adenuga: My advice to other young people like myself is to believe in yourself and the capacity of your dreams. You must be sure to equip yourself with knowledge and training before venturing into any agribusiness. Having mentors in your business of interest is critical and it is also important to pay attention to the resources around you. You can start small and then gradually expand in capacity.
Tepebo Farms – 08025046865