Ima Nkanta

For Blesssing Akpan, the CEO of Inyene Agro Farms, Etinan in Akwa Ibom State, life is much more than making money. She teaches you with her passion for agriculture that life is all about identifying and solving problems of people around. Actually, what shrewd politicians have failed to deliver over the years, Blessing is achieving, quietly though. Her impact is beginning to hit the spotlight, and soon Blessing will become a global player in agricpreneurship.

QuestNews24 discovered this amiable and inventive graduate of business administration from Lagos State University recently when she proudly delivered her flagship product, Inyene Garri to her clients lately. We got talking and discovered that she was not your usual perception of farmers that look quaint and dragging. Blessing commands an irresistible ambience of a corporate career person but she will proudly tell you she’s a farmer; cultivating cassava crop in several hectares and also processing it into garri and other value chain.

She is an epitome of what global platforms like UN and World Bank are pushing for: raising young entrepreneurs and encouraging them to take to farming with the goal of minimizing poverty and unemployment. Blessing has taken the leadership by motivating herself into the avenue of wealth creation many would not dare; even without any government grant.

According to her, leadership is about solving problems. Nigeria is so endowed with natural resources that could make the country a goldmine of the world, yet millions of Nigerians daily grapple with poverty. Even graduates of agriculture themselves would prefer to line up daily for white collar jobs, but that’s not Blessing. She even abandoned her well-paid career in business management in Lagos to farming in the rural area.

That decision has paid off as she has become a source of inspiration to several rural farmers whom she has been helped off the shelves of poor production and poverty. Thanks to Blessing’s innovative approach to farming which provided new thinking and learning away from the conventional subsistent farming approach.

Though she’s yet to acquire latest technology and machineries in her farming mechanisms, Blessing has been able to let farmers know how to process large volume of cassava into garri and make more profit in sales than selling raw cassava to off-takers at marginal rate. Her business has employed scores of people and helped young people show interest in returning to farming.

At the beginning of the enumeration of farmers by government of Akwa Ibom State, Blessing threw her weight behind the exercise by voluntarily registering hundreds of farmers and also mounting education and sensitization programmes for farming groups to get registered.

What really led Blessing into agriculture? Some few years ago, she visited her country home, Etinan from Lagos and found out that her grandma was still cultivating cassava. Her inquisitive nature took her to the local farms where her grandmother was working. She was shocked to discover that the grandma’s approach to farming was still the same old method she knew while growing up in the community. It was a harrowing experience. The oldie was working really hard but poor, frail-looking and sickly. Blessing was overwhelmed with emotion which she quickly turned into passion.


Rather than asking the old woman to quit, Blessing walked up to her grandma and said, “Grandma, I want to join you in the farm business.” The woman was startled but happy that, ‘at least one of her grandchildren was interested in her farm trade.’ In few months, Blessing was able to acquire some hectares of the community farming reserves and hired locals to help clear and prepare for cultivation. As an inchoate, she had to apprentice herself under her grandma and the traditional farming team because she wanted to know all the traditional farming methods before transforming into model farming. According to her, she wanted to learn the ropes in local farming enterprise “to acquire all needed skills – from clearing the bush to cultivation, weeding, harvesting and marketing.”

Inyene Agro Garri

After her first harvest, she decided to weigh her crops to determine the market value, unlike the traditional way of determining the price through the physical assessment. That changed the pricing method and gave her more profit. And in no time, other cassava farmers emulated her. She later decided to process the goods into what is now known as Inyene Garri. The brand has since become popular due to its clean, crunchy feel with aromatic scent of traditional Ibibio garri. Inyene garri is safe for drinking or making eba, as its flour is neatly packed and sealed container.

Blessing has expanded her farm business in partnership with some Government agencies and banks. She’s willing to increase the value chain of cassava and other crops; expecting both local and foreign investors to plough in funds. Blessing is an inspiration to young ladies who consider farming to be occupation of uneducated people.

She said this in a chat: “Naturally, I like solving problems. I like adding value to people and make wherever I go better than I met it. I am inquisitive; that’s why whenever I see problems that others try to avoid, I look for a possible solution. This is the passion that led me into to farming, I wanted to solve the problem of hunger and also help local farmers improve their earnings,” she said.

Not only has she succeeded in changing the way local farmers work, she has improved their earnings and wellbeing. Through her philanthropy, local farmers in her community now have access to regular health care.

Quest News 24

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