For Ibukunoluwa Agbotoba and Zaccheaus Isuwa, agriculture, which used to be a job for the less privileged is now a goldmine which has the capacity to pay their bills and give other youths the opportunity of earning a decent living.
These two young people had the opportunity of sharing their experiences in agribusiness at a side event organized during IITA’s Board of Trustees meeting, which took place in April at the University of Bonn in Germany. Ms. Agbotoba, who is a co-owner of TopNotch Poultry, stated that the trainings, exposure, and mentorship offered to her during her incubation program at 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, which she runs with her partner, Yetunde Oginni with support from an Angel Investor, Dr Eric Koper; Ms. Agbotoba revealed that the business started with a loan of USD14,000 and had grown with a weekly processing of 500 birds, an annual revenue of USD90,000 and USD14,000 net profit.
On the growth of the business, she added that the demand for their product had grown and they were projecting a weekly processing of 1,000 birds, an annual revenue of USD200, 000, and a net profit of USD40,000.
Mr Isuwa and his partners on the other hand ventured into the production of sorghum grain and seed. Operating under the name Sorghi Enterprise, Mr Isuwa stressed that their business which is 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 USD50 million, and they (five persons) came together to start the business.
Mr. Isuwa said the business, which started in 2016 now has a demand of about 40,000 tons of sorghum to meet. He stated that they received a request of 20,000 tons from Honeywell Flour Mills Plc, 20,000 tons from Guinness Nigeria. The business which has shown good prospects through a cost benefit ratio of 1:1:6 is projected to increase by about 20 percent by the end of 2018.