Theresa Odu, the CEO of Odu Farms in Abuja, Nigeria, discusses the challenges she faces in the agricultural sector due to a lack of capital.
After retiring from her job in the aviation sector, Odu ventured into farming to support her family. She started with vegetable farming and gradually expanded to include poultry and fish farming.
However, she faces constraints in terms of financial resources and labor shortages.
Odu highlights the difficulty in raising sufficient capital for her farming business. She initially used part of her gratuity as startup funds but continues to operate on a small scale due to limited capital.
This restricts her ability to invest in farm machinery and a proper irrigation system, leading to challenges in production and farm management.
The widow also expresses dissatisfaction with the work output of her employees, suggesting that young people, particularly graduates, are not willing to work on farms that lack proper mechanization.
Odu believes that creating a well-equipped and attractive working environment would attract educated workers and improve productivity.
Another obstacle she faces is the high cost of animal feed and fertilizer. Odu mentions that feed prices have significantly increased, affecting her ability to stock an optimal number of birds for her poultry farm.
She expresses the need for more affordable feed options and the possibility of producing her own feed if she had the necessary equipment.
Regarding government support, Odu mentions that loan initiatives have not been effective in helping farmers due to high interest rates and bureaucratic challenges.
She also discusses issues with land ownership, as her farmland has not been approved by the government, creating uncertainty and potential conflicts with developers.
Insecurity poses another concern, as Odu’s vegetable farm is frequently visited by cattle that damage her crops. She employs security measures such as barbed wire but faces ongoing threats to her farm.
Despite these challenges, Odu supplies her produce to various locations across Nigeria through partnerships with shops and distributors.
She believes that if more people, especially young individuals, engage in farming, Nigeria’s food production would improve.
However, she emphasizes the need for better farming systems and infrastructure to attract and retain the younger generation in the agricultural sector.
Odu expresses her desire to explore export opportunities for her vegetables, but the perishable nature of the goods and logistical complexities have hindered successful exports thus far.