An Ogun State-based agro entrepreneur, Seun Adegoke is set to make a large yearly turnover, after implementing a radically different method of cultivation, DANIEL ESSIET reports.
Choosing to go into agri-business is a noble decision yet a difficult one to make. Farmers could easily go out of business if the weather suddenly changes, or if the supply of good quality seeds goes low. But the Managing Director of Skapomah Global Limited (SGL) Farms, Mr Seun Adegoke, thought none of it, and instead put his hard work into farm business.
He has established a crowd farming platform where he has pulled investors to support his 2,000-hectare farm in Anigbado, Abeokuta-Imeko Road, Yewa North Local Government, Ogun State.
His platform had been slowly growing in popularity. His goal is to assist many Nigerians looking for new ways to make sure they could access fresh and quality food.
Thousands of hectares are cultivated with rice, maize, cassava, tomatoes, cucumber, water melon, Yams. The principal focus of the farm according to him is rice cultivation.
Towards the realisation, several boreholes were visibly sunk and an earth dam built for trapping water for irrigation. One advantage is has is deploying technology that allows new experiences for consumers, stable income for farmers, and that rethinks the whole cultivation, harvest, and logistic process.
He is integrating technology into agriculture activities.
For him, technology and innovation represent an opportunity to address the issues of the agricultural industry – such as loss of interest in food production, growing urbanisation and shrinking farmlands.
His mission is to help farmers to activate their land’s potential and to represent agriculture as a noble profession.
He wants to see young Nigerians choose farming as a way to prosperity.
Several farm machinery as John DeereTractors and implements ploughs, harrows, planters, ferilisers and boom sprayers adorn the farm.Land preparation is intense especially as rainfall, though delayed has set in. The variety of rice cultivation, Faro 44, in the area under irrigation is almost ready for harvest. The farm according to Adegoke is lucky there are no challenges with pest birds. There are, however, challenges from herdsmen who encroach the farms with their animals. Through irrigation, the farm intends cultivating rice at least twice a year. He then divided the land into small segments and calculated the investment made, labour cost, and the profit gained from each part. This gave him a clear idea of the economics of the farm.
He planted different crops in each segment to calculate the exact ‘investment versus profit’ ratio of each harvest. This helped him to decide what crops should be planted next. Initially, he faced his share of challenges.
He found themselves beset by the usual problems of farmers: low farm yields, high costs, and low farmgate prices.
Part of being an agri-entrepreneur is learning how to be productive by choosing the right kind of seeds,” he explains.
Availability of labour was another big issue as workers preferred to migrate to work in factories. He decided to switch to modern farm equipment, which were not so labour intensive. An example of the equipment used is an air condition tractor.
He was no stranger to long hours of working in the fields under the scorching heat, but what he could not believe was how farmers would remain poor – or worse – become poorer. He wanted to change the ending to his own story.
He had to learn everything from tilling the land to sowing the seeds. To promote income revolution, he explained that the government has to do a lot in releasing land and resources that can be shifted to higher-value.
Farmers,he stressed need efficiencies in productivity and reduced costs of production.
One strategy that worked wonders for him is finding a way round his farm needs to conserve funds.
Her relentless drive and thirst for constant innovation kept him on track
Over the years, he acquired more land and now grows rice, maize and tomato on huge acreage.
Yearly, he attends agribusiness fora to keep himself up-to-date on the latest agricultural technologies.
According to him, Nigeria is a large producer of agricultural products.
So for the sector to keep growing, he noted that it would be important for farmers to have easy access to the technology and resources that will serve them best.
He continues his efforts to promote agri-businesses as a sustainable and profitable opportunity for the population. “We’ve got a long way to go in our efforts to revolutionise agriculture – our company is still a startup,” he said.
Though he employs hundreds of people, he has been procuring the best technology to stay ahead of the competition.