Hunger remains widespread across Africa, affecting millions and millions of people. In the meantime, small-holder farmers - who are responsible for the bulk of food consumed in Africa - struggle to optimize their operations, find markets, and gear themselves against climate change. In 2012, Olaoluwa Bamigboye (31) from Nigeria decided he wanted to be part of the solution. In that year, he registered Heirs and Heralds International, an agro-food services company specialised in helping aspiring farmers to set up their farms and rendering other agricultural consultancy services. The aim: improving food security and supporting the Sustainable Development Goals.
Q. What is Heirs and Heralds all about?
A. We aspire to facilitate institutional reforms in the Agricultural sector in line with the continental strategy for education through youth training and development and stimulating entrepreneurship. We promote learning through participation, facilitate investment in agriculture through training sessions and farm visits, we organise Agrow tours (farm tourism), develop educational programs, render consultancy and advisory services, and help with the setup and management of farms. At the moment, we work in Nigeria but there are plans to expand into the rest of West Africa through strategic partnership and the sales of our products.
Q. You said you are focusing on youths. How important is it of youths to get involved in farming?
A. Students see farming as a last resort for drop-outs. It is, however, very important for youth to be engaged in agriculture, seeing so many are unemployed. Agriculture, in the meantime, remains a key employer despite urbanization and industrialization whilst food is becoming increasingly important due to population growth. Various modern and profitable agricultural sectors such as aquaculture, forestry and livestock can generate much-needed employment opportunities for the continent’s youth. Agriculture is the way to go now.
Q. How important is it for you, personally, to contribute to sustainable development and the SDGs?
A. I am passionate about supporting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and we contributed to the areas of No Poverty and Zero Hunger. I want to put food on every person's table in Africa through improved agricultural productivity whilst minimizing pressures on natural resources and supporting the SDGs.
Q. What has been the most challenging thing to set up and running Heirs and Heralds?
A. Access to funding and capital has been an issue, but so far it has been good. It could, however, always be better. Sometimes things do not work out as planned but we move on. We don’t give up as passion drives faster than profit.
Q. What are your three best tips for agripreneurs in Africa to help them succeed?
A. Firstly, commit yourself to add value as people only buy what they need. Create value for your immediate environment. Secondly, don’t give up and keep doing what you are doing. Passion drives faster than profit. Know why you have set up your own business and don’t look back. Finally, there is no second chance in life. Whatever you dream, you can do. Start now! Boldness has genius, power, and magic.
Q. Could you recall a success story?
A. We just concluded an Agrow-Tour to Landmark University, where tourists were exposed to different ways of farming and the latest technologies used. This visit was an eye-opener for most tourists, particularly in terms of modern and scientific ways of farming. After the visit, quite a few people considered a career in agriculture, including 2 young female graduates. They have since started their farms leveraging on the existing platform of the institution.