Entrepreneurship In Yam Production

Entrepreneurship In Yam Production
  • PublishedApril 12, 2017

Nigerian entrepneurs have incredible potential to make agro business a  sector that fills a growing market niche and engages the youth. Olisaeloka  Peter Okocha and Samson Ogbole are prime examples. Their  determination and love of  agro innovations  have   led them to become  rising stars  selling  technologies  that  can  change  lives of food  processors. The two young entrepreneurs have established, PS Nutrac , a food technology  business, to  push an initiative   that  enables Nigerians  produce more than 1000 yams within a small space  for exports known as   aeroponics.

The technology enables farmers to plant yam in the air without the use of soil. The other advantage is that one can multipy,clean seed yam tubers in large quantities. They demonstrated the technology at Guiding Light Assembly, Parkview Estate ,Lagos.

As part of an effort to improve the production of high quality yam seeds, Okocha said the  company introduced aeroponics system ,the process of growing plants in air or mist-environment without the use of soil or an aggregate medium to help more Nigeria making money from growing food using simple technology with their homes, plots  and  few acres  of land.

He  said his  ultimate objective is to  help  entrepreneurs  acquire  simple  technologies to produce  food within their homes, reduce post harvest losses, create  jobs, increase smallholder incomes, food safety and nutrition while  contributing to the Gross Domestic Product( GDP) through export earnings.

Okocha and his partner, Ogbole share a common goal in enabling entrepreneurs to grow their business and get connected to the market. Ogbole is a critical part of the vision to using  aeroponics to  boost agro entrepreneurs  to start  their  food production businesses.

Besides, observed the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Ibadan Oyo State under YamImprovement for Income and Food Security in West Africa (YIIFSWA) project.

During  his  service, he worked in tissue culture laboratory and aeroponics system.  After his service year, he was made a research supervisor as he took charge of the aeroponics  system.

He further established the system in Biocrops Centre, Abuja  and National Root Crops Research Institute(NRCRI), Umudike, Abia State. He also trained both private and public institute staff for aeroponics technology.

It is to his credit that the process  increased seed yam systems and developed best nutrient composition for seed yam production.

Speaking on investment opportunity, Ogbole said with N250,000 investment in yam production using aeroponics, one can  make N1,200,000 annually.

The PS Nutrac boss  revelaed  that   soilless yam propagation system increase the productivity of seed and reduce diseases.

According to him: “ People don’t plant yams with the vines, so we realised that we can do that and actually increase the multiplication ratio and now what we are doing is aeroponics. One plant can yield about 1,000 seeds’’, he added

Ogbole said a wide range of products centred on yam ‘are going to open up new markets  for entrepreneurs.

With the technology, he said it will be possible for individuals and businesses  to produce  thousands of yams within a small place.

He  said : “You can start  with  a 20 liters paint bucket and a small pump. Fertilizer can be organic or inorganic, and even when inorganic; you will need a 25kilo gramm bag to feed 2000 plants for five years before it is exhausted.”

He said there are opportunities for entrepreneurs to explore  yam production for income.  According to him, his organisation aims to train people on how to build and maintain systems where plants can be grown in the air. This means that everything from lettuce and tomatoes can be grown without soil and this can even be done indoors.

General Overseer, Guiding Light Assembly, Pastor Wale Adefarasin, said his church supports every initiative to promote job creation and youth entrepreneurship.

Source: The Nation

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