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Yesterday,I had a talk with an Oil Palm Farmer. His name is Ajibola Bateco. The CEO of Bateco Farms.
Nigeria is blessed with alot of resources ranging from coal,clay,limestone,Glass sand,zinc,Gold and some other unpopular resources. Even a few are yet to be exploited. E.g Kaolin,Marble and Barites.
Nigeria is a nation abundantly blessed with Agricultural resources and vast products. Before oil discovery,Nigeria’s revenue was gotten majorly from Agriculture. Unfortunately,Agriculture in our contemporary Nigeria,has been left behind in favour of oil.
Today,we have few Nigerians who specialise in Agriculture.
I hope that by reading this interview,we would all gain a bit of knowledge about Agriculture and also know more about the life of a farmer:
A chat with Ajibola Beteco
Q: Tell me about ‘Bateco Farms’,what do you do?
A: We help set up and manage Palm Plantations. We are also into processing of Palm Oil and Palm Kernels for local and export markets.
Q: When did you start your business?
A: I’ve been in Oil Palm business for quite since I was a teenage,but officially in 2017. I said since I was a teenager because my dad started this. He’s late now.
Q: Before we move further,I would like to know about your background and your qualifications.
A: Okay. I am from Ijebu-jesa,Osun state,but I was born in Lagos and grew up in Lagos. I moved back to Osun state in my teenage years when I got admitted into OAU to study ‘Politics,Philosophy and Economics’. During the holidays,I’m always at my Dad’s in Osun State….always visiting his Farms.I graduated from OAU with a B.sc in Politics, Philosophy and Economics. Currently serving as a Corp member in kwara state. My Dad was a farmer,he was into Arable Crops and Animal rearing before he passed away. I developed an interest for farming during this period.
Q: Okay. Do you supply to stores only?
A: No. Not just stores. Restaurants,Schools;some buy to repackage and resell,we also sell to those who exports.
Q: Do you have lots of competitions? How do you handle it?
A: The market is very large,even if you are operating at the local level,that is,processing and selling mainly to the local market. These days we have farmers coming from major cities to purchase from us. They repackage and sell in their cities where palm oil is relatively scarce. Some export it…the demands for palm oil in West Africa exceeds its supply. Most of its primary and secondary products are consumed daily. As a matter of fact,we need more growers.
Q: What is your advise to youths who have the intention of being an entrepreneur?
A: I think they should first discover their inner self. It all begins with knowing who you truly are. After understanding yourself,you need to develop passion for whatever you do….with passion comes the willingness to know more or be better at what you do. With consistency and the ability to persevere,you will get there eventually. Opportunities will surely come knocking. Even with the opportunities,come challenges,but the love you have for what you do will make you triumph.
Q: what advice you like to give the other Farmers?
A: Being a farmer comes with it’s own challenges but remember,there are always more than one way to get the job done. Things will not always work as planned so they need a little bit of flexibility as regards to how to go about it. They must be able to improvise. They should consider the place of technology in Agriculture 21st century modern farming revolves around technology.
Q: Thank you so much for your time.
Bateco Farms specialise in the processing of OilPalm.
Check out their Instagram handle below