• Blessing Akpan, CEO, Inyene Agro

I learnt about the hidden treasures of agriculture in 2016 through a group of young talented individuals who desired to overhaul the way agriculture was practised in their communities. We spent a week diagnosing the problems facing farmers and the way forward. We came to a conclusion that agriculture has the capacity to create sustainable wealth for ourselves, jobs, boost food sufficiency and economically grow our country’s GDP.ic

Without hesitation, I joined the group and gradually, we grew from 10 to over 700 people. It was a melting point of existing farmers and aspiring farmers coming together to form a cooperative society called, Agropreneurs Cooperative Society (ACS). I became the cooperative secretary. It was through this platform that I saw practically a goldmine in agriculture, as farmers were showing reports of their business activities and the emerging opportunities.   

Although they cooperatives offered aspiring farmers ample opportunity to know about the challenges in the business, particularly that agriculture was not ‘a get rich quick scheme,’ as it required perseverance and dogged determination with discipline in every aspect of the business, I was not deterred but went all out for it. That informed decision helped me to approach the business with vigour and determination not to only cultivate but explore the value chain opportunities.

In 2017 I started my agripreneurship, acquiring 14 plots of farmland at the cost of N14,000 for two years in my community. As a starter, it was strategic to begin small, avoid wastage, learn the ropes and master the terrain before making bigger investments.

Today, I have 2000 hectares partnership deal with Akwa Ibom State government and technical support from IITA. I have also been able to build my processing plant; Inyene Agro Processing Factory. We now process cassava to Inyene Agro cassava flakes popularly known as garri. Our brand of garri is of exportable quality, some of our consumers tag it Garri wey go Harvard.


Commercialize it

To make it big, you must go commercial. That’s not just producing in small quantity for few buyers in your neighbourhood but targeting larger market. Your farm business must be beyond the age-long subsistent practice. If you have determined to make profit and smile your way to the bank, go beyond subsistent capacity, commercialize it. To achieve this, you need a large farm space from 10 hectares. A hectare is a size of a football field. Then select a particular crop of your choice and focus your energy and resources on it, aiming at the bigger market that will draw buyers to you at little or no cost.

Create value for your products

Do not stop at just cultivating and harvesting your crops. This practice may limit your earning potential. Consider value addition to your harvested produce, this will increase your revenue. What do I mean by this? Seek the knowledge of how you can turn your raw crops into other products.  

Farmers who sell their harvested crops at the raw state only get paid a fraction, say 10 percent of the worth of their goods. But anyone who takes a step further into turning their raw crops into another products has added value to the product, he or she makes more money. This is called value chain or value addition.

Value addition is the only way farmers can earn better for their labour. When I started cultivating cassava, my first experience trying to sell the raw cassava almost frustrated me out of pursuing my goal. I met many other farmers with good quantity of cassava in the same small community market. Who then will buy from me and at what price to pay for my labour and earn me profit for my investment? Truth is that I didn’t sell the goods. Why? Because the prices offered were not worth my efforts, investments and expectations. What did I do? I decided to turn the raw cassava into garri. That was when my heavens opened for me and today, we have a functional processing factory, churning out exportable quality of garri.

Be focused

 There will be temptations to take you off your dream or goal but focus will keep you there long enough for you to make money and expand. Once you have gathered information about the type of crop you want to venture into and its value chain, it is important to be focused on achieving your goal, else if you want to be involved with more crops than you can handle, you will run out of money as agriculture demands capital from land preparation to harvesting. The process needs steady income dedicated to its care for it to grow as expected. Therefore, stay focused, do not engage in things that will wear out your passion and resources.


Every crop has its cycle of growth and no matter how fast you want to start reaping your harvest, you must wait and tend to its needs until it has matured enough, otherwise you lose your money and peace of mind. You cannot harvest when it has not matured or ripened for harvest. Perseverance is the culture you must internalize and build into your planning.

Be vigilant and security conscious

Pilfering is a major concern of every farmer. Your investment can be stolen by the labourers you employed, or the persons in the community if you do not mount surveillance over your crops by always inspecting the farms. Many people take delight in harvesting where they did not plant, you must implement security system to protect your farmland by getting the community involved in policing the investments. Let the community leaders know that they too have a stake in the success of the business through employment for their indigenes as labour. When you get them involved, they will pay attention to the farms and ensure the investment is protected.

Be a person of Integrity

Integrity should not be found short in your character as this can be the only currency you have to trade within your agricultural journey.  Being a person of integrity will attract and sustain a healthy relationship with all stakeholders involved in running your agricultural business.

You will succeed but start with what you have.

Quest News 24

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