Youth Agripreneurs: Agriculture is a goldmine
For Ibukunoluwa Agbotoba and Zaccheaus Izuwa, agriculture–which used to be seen as a job for the less privileged–is a goldmine that has the capacity to pay their bills and give other youth the opportunity of earning a decent living. Both agribusiness entrepreneurs had the opportunity of sharing their experiences in setting up their businesses at a side event organized during IITA’s Board of Trustees meeting, which took place in April at the University of Bonn in Germany.
Agbotoba is a co-owner of TopNotch Poultry, which she runs with business partner Yetunde Oginni with support from an investor, Dr Eric Koper. She stated that the training, exposure, and mentorship offered to her during her incubation program at the IITA Youth Agripreneurs (IYA) resulted in a shift in her perception about agriculture.
TopNotch Poultry is a small-scale, commercial feed-to-fork broiler enterprise, which aims to establish a reference-farm with feed mill, breeding, incubating/hatching, processing and retail/food units for research, training, and demonstration in best-fit technologies, and practices suitable for youth businesses. In addition to fresh chicken, TopNotch also provides smoked, grilled, and fried chicken.
Giving a presentation on the business, Agbotoba revealed that the business started with a loan of US$14,000 and had grown with a weekly processing of 500 birds to an annual revenue of $90,000 and $14,000 net profit.
On the growth of the business, she added that the demand for their products had grown and that they were projecting processing 1,000 birds weekly, an annual revenue of $200,000, and a net profit of $40,000.
Izuwa and his partners have ventured into the production of sorghum grain and seed. Operating under the name Sorghi Enterprise, Isuwa stressed that their business, located in the North- Central part of Nigeria, targets large- scale processors and farmers.
He added that during their incubation program at the IITA research station in Abuja, they realized that the sorghum business is worth $50 million, and that’s how five youths came together to start the business.
Izuwa said the business, which started in 2016, now has a demand of about 40,000 tons of sorghum. He said that they received a request of 20,000 tons each from Honeywell Flour Mills Plc and Guinness Nigeria, two big business enterprises in NIgeria. The business has shown good prospects with a cost benefit ratio of 1:1:6, and is projected to increase by about 20 percent by the end of 2018.
Previously published on IYA Bulletin