As we celebrate the World Food Day today, I have the pleasure of interviewing the manager of Afrifarm and Seeders Venture.
She talked about creating your own business even when everything is at your disadvantage. You will always find a way to live your dreams.
It’s good to have you here. Can you please introduce yourself to our readers?
”My name is Joy Tope Akintan, and I am the farm manager of Afrifarm and Seeders Venture.”
Where do you hail from?
”I am from Ondo state but I reside and do our business in Otukpo, Benue state.”
Wow, that’s really a long distance away from home. What brought you to Benue state and how long have you been there?
”I came to Benue state with my parents in 2010 (that was after my secondary school education) and I have been here ever since. It’s about 9 years ago now.
Though my parents are no longer here, I am still here alone to get a life of my own and live my dreams.”
You talked about doing your business here earlier on, can you shed light on the business?
”My business is Afrifarm venture. It specializes in snail farming, snail management, snail production and snail packaging.”
It is unusual to see ladies do the hustling and bustling. You seem to be different from this societal mindset. If I may ask, what actually led you to be self-independent?
”Everything leads me to be independent. My family, my dad worked as a civil servant for many years with little or nothing to fall back on. He was educated and was conditioned that – he had to work for someone to make ends meet. And that has brought him years of wasted time and resources.
The society told us, ”go to school to get good grades so that u can get a good job”, and I always wonder, why must it be all about getting “a good job”?
Who are the people trained to own companies?
What special schools do people who own companies and businesses attend and why must they train us to always work for them?
That’s how I got to know that we have been erroneously schooled. So, I committed myself to self schooling. I began to read different books, I became so irritated by mediocre associations, and I change the network of people I mingle with.
I started doing many things that an average Nigerians would not do. I volunteer, I attend conferences/workshops instead of clubs and parties.
So, I broke out of the circle of the people who look for jobs as I create my own job and also give others the opportunity to earn a living.”
Everything you’ve said here is nothing but the truth. You got me at creating your own job. How did manage to do that?
”I did through my farm – Afrifarm Venture.
Afrifarm Venture is an agro-based company (duly registered under Corporate Affairs Commission) and what we do for now is snail production.
We make snail meal consumables to all Nigerians and Africans at their own convenience. We also have a sub outlet as well that supplies crayfish and locust beans seasonings in Nigeria. But our concentration over time has been in snail farming, snail business and snail production.”
It’s good to see so many women going into entrepreneurship. Gone are those days when our society believes that they belong to the kitchen. Joy, how fast is your company growing and how many years have you been in operation?
”We started about 9 months ago with 8 snails in a bowl and as we speak, we have over 5000 snails.
Social media has been one of our largest markets. In fact, social media is a blessing to us.”
5000 snails. That’s really a great number. Can you share what it takes to start this business?
- And the last is Capital
The mistake many young entrepreneurs make is that they put capital first and they miss it all.”
This is a deep statement. Where do you see your business in the next five years?
”We see us owning a food plant because we want to go fully into food production and many more consumable items that have their source in our natural food.
By then, we intend to have our branch offices and industries in the major states in Nigeria and extend to other African nations.
By the virtue of Afrifarm Venture, we want to create employment opportunities for hundreds of graduates in Nigeria and beyond.
Our goal is to make Nigerians and Africans healthy by offering them valued packed products from its natural source.”
That’s a great vision, my friend. Here’s my last question for you, if you will ever need support from the government or private sector, in what area of your business would it be?
”In the area of plantations – some of the trees are experiencing huge deforestation which is not healthy for our planet and that’s the reason why the Chinese/Asians are trooping in to exploit our natural resources because they know we don’t value it.
Study shows that in less than 10 years, the locust bean trees would have gone into extinction and no one is planting.
Also, we will need some machinery to enhance our production.
These are the areas we feel the government can come in for us, to save our continents from being sold out completely.”
I am really impressed with everything you’ve shared with me. You are indeed a role model for many women out there. In a few years to come, I hope to see you as one of the greatest female entrepreneurs to have emerged from Africa.
”My pleasure always.
I believe it is time to create wealth in Nigeria, by Nigerians and for Nigerians.
We love Nigeria, we love Nigerians and we love Africa. It’s our home and we must make it conducive for generations to come.
Thank you for having me in your interview series.”