From agriculture to education and sports to entertainment, former Premier of Western Nigeria, Chief Obafemi Awolowo is known for initiating and implementing groundbreaking projects in the region and Africa in general. He was the brain behind the erection of the first television station in the region and Africa as a whole. He was the builder of the first Olympic stadium in Nigeria and Africa. He planned and implemented construction of the first skyscraper building, funded from the Cocoa proceeds, in Nigeria.
Despite being an indigene of Ijebu, Chief Awolowo concentrated these projects in Ibadan, a city which was created in 1829 as a war camp for warriors coming from Oyo, Ife and Ijebu. While he was alive, his critics cannot dispute the fact that he was a real visionary leader, who always sees the future by economising and concentrating available resources where they would deliver high immediate and delayed impact for the benefit of the people.
With more than one year of studying the business footprints and little successes recorded by Azeez Oluwole, the Chief Executive Officer of Farmkonnect, an Agritech company in Ibadan, our analyst notes that like Chief Awolowo, Mr Oluwole is seeing the future of agriculture beyond Nigerian space. In the last few years, through his company, Mr Oluwole has been able to exhibit some of the leadership qualities of the late sage, which transformed old Western Nigeria socially, economically and politically.
Like Chief Awolowo wrote Ibadan on Africa map as the city of first, Mr Oluwole will do same on April 29, 2021 as his company and staff unveil FarmKonnect Agricultural Electronic extension Service Centre (FAgEX) and the FarmKonnect Institute for Data and Agricultural Studies (FIDAS).
Our checks indicate that these projects/businesses within the Farmkonnect Agribusiness aim at enlivening computational agriculture in Nigeria and Africa in general. Our analyst notes with the establishment of the Centre and the Institute, Farmkonnect has set the foundation for the refinement of agricultural data [from the farms and off-the-farms] from Ibadan towards the creation of a new aspirational trajectory in Nigeria and the continent as a whole.
The Man Who Sees the Future
Obviously, these projects/businesses were not evolved without the support of his staff and other stakeholders who have interest in his vision and mission to transform agriculture in Africa towards sustainable food security and improved livelihood for smallholder farmers and investors.
Observation of his leadership style reveals that he gives people around him opportunity to innovate, experiment and take calculated risks towards value creation that uplift everyone in the society. Examination of some excerpts from the recent press conference held, as part of activities for the launching of the two projects/businesses, our analyst notes that his choice of words and presentation resonate with Chief Awolowo’s rhetorical strategy.
“FAgEX will enable us to monitor and receive live feeds from all our farms and greenhouses anywhere in Africa. With this initiative, we can also control certain operations such as irrigation and humidification remotely. This is first of its kind on African soil.”
- FarmKonnect Agricultural Electronic Extension Service Centre (FAgEX) is established with the intent to accelerate controlled environment farming practices in Africa. Leveraging modern technologies such as satellite imagery, drones, electro-optic systems, global positioning system, geographic information system, on-site sensors, etc.
- Apart from setting up new systems or creating enabling environments for digital agriculture in Africa, there is also a need to improve human capacity by increasing digital-data learning of farmers in the continent.
- …FIDAS is established primarily to increase knowledge and skills acquisition of stakeholders in the demand and supply sides as well as the business, dimensions of the agricultural value chain.
- This initiative will help businesses, individuals and governments to capture inherent values in data and insights towards tailored value delivery in the demand and supply sides of the agricultural value chain.
- It will also raise more business-oriented professional farmers through classrooms and field exposure to modern agribusiness practices.
- The vision of FIDAS is to enhance the use of smart processes, people and technologies for data and insights generation that help stakeholders make an informed decision towards responsible production and achieving food security in Africa by 2030 and beyond, while the mission is to contribute to the quality and data-driven workforce that can help Africa to transition into a new path in the digital data economy.”
- It aims to enhance quality research in the agriculture industry as well as help young entrepreneurs, emerging business leaders and professionals to understand inherent values of big data and data analytics in the industry.