In an exclusive interview with Queenie of Agrotech Africa Media , Mr. Lawal Ridwan Oladimeji shares his success story on Cucumber Farming .
Tell us about your farm and how long you have been in this line of agribusiness?
I am the director of Amram Farm Nigeria Limited situated at Odeda Ogun State.
My name is Lawal Ridwan Oladimeji , a graduate of Accounting from Uthman Danfodio University ,Sokoto. I hail from Ibadan , Oyo State. I am 29 years.
Specialized in vegetable and fruit crop production such as cucumber, water melon
I have been in this Cucumber farming for 4 years now,after my graduation from the university and made up my mind to move into agriculture considering the alarming rate of youth unemployment in the country.
How did you raise your start-up capital?
I started Cucumber farming with my personal savings.
Did you receive any form of training before going into Cucumber farming?
After my graduation from the university, my mentor Mr. Lawal Monsur said, “see Aburo don’t tell me you are looking for a job, you should get involve in agribusiness.”My response was like I don’t have knowledge on agriculture.
What I did was to enroll in a 3 -month intensive agribusiness training at Yinka Adesola Organic Vegetables at Oyo State and after the training, I had to develop myself personally and network with agribusiness experts and local farmers. Fortunately, they were able to share their wealth of knowledge and experience with me and presently I am still learning every day because learning never ends. Honestly, I have fallen in love with farming , ask me to plant anything, I will definitely get massive profit .
Have there been challenges and how did you surmount your challenges?
Yes, we all know that life is all about risk taking, in fact life is full of challenges ,have had lots of it before and will still face more because you keep learning every day from your experience in the farm.
When I first started my farming venture in 2015,I decided to go for watermelon farming.For a start , I planted on 5 acres and it was doing great at the beginning during the fruiting period , infact some persons that visited my farm, saw the amazing harvest and then invested into it, I was excited that I have arrived , so I planted again during the dry season because I had enough irrigation facility , so problem started around May 2016, when it was almost due for harvest, there was this heavy downpour that occurred that led to the damage of the watermelon, all of them got infected with fungi despite all my effort and I applied all the antifungi to no avail. I lost whooping sum of 1.2 million Naira , it was a bitter experience for me. The persons that invested in my farm were disappointed and were on me to pay them back their money.
So, I sought help from colleagues and after consultation , I decide d to go for cucumber farming in order to salvage the loss . Then , I planted cucumber on 5 plots of land and I realized 127 bags, I sold a bag at the rate of N3,800 and that time is nearly cucumber glut, I realized N456,000 in just 45 days , I was so happy and gave God the Glory , I planted again and again and that was how I overcame the challenges that I had initially as result of the watermelon loss. I was able to repay my investors within a short time . I am debt free and thank God for the intervention.
What are the things required for someone to start this type of agribusiness?
To go into Cucumber farming , you will need money first, then tolerance ,hardwork
and focus, and most importantly is to know what you are doing, acquire the knowledge you need and the necessary training on Cucumber farming.
Do you have a website ? Are you on social media network, where people can connect with you?
I am working on setting up my website, hopefully soonest You can whatsapp me on this line 0808571025 or call me on 07082272419,09030078505.
Do you run trainings where you can train other youths that want to start cucumber farming?
Yes, I run 3 months training on Cucumber farming and also other aspect of vegetable farming.
What advice can you give to other youth that are unemployed and those that are into white collar jobs, are you encouraging more youths to venture into agriculture?
I was motivated by my brother to go into farming, I am using this opportunity to motivate youth to go into agriculture.My advice for the unemployed youth is don’t wait till you get a white collar job , start your agribusiness with a token, invest into agriculture and it will surely benefit you, your failure today will serve as an experience for you tomorrow and experience is your strength. Get started now, in order to get there tomorrow. Thank you.