Agribusiness Heroes: 5 Powerful Stories to Inspire You
Home African CEOs Agribusiness Heroes: 5 Powerful Stories to Inspire You
African CEOs - June 23, 2023

Agribusiness Heroes: 5 Powerful Stories to Inspire You

The African continent is filled with young entrepreneurs whose exploits in agriculture have earned them recognition as Agribusiness heroes. These young entrepreneurs are changing the dynamics by providing solutions to the challenges that plague the continent’s agricultural sector.

These heroes have also positively impacted their local communities by training young farmers and creating employment opportunities in their home countries. In this article, we explore the powerful stories of these agribusiness heroes and explore 

Mira Mehta (Tomato Farming)

Mehta is the CEO of Tomato Jos in Kaduna State, Nigeria, which has received $10 million worth of investment. Mehta left the United States because of a desire to do something that was going to be highly impactful for a rural community. Her company, TomatoJos, farms and process tomato into retail packaged tomatoes. They also farm and process maize and cereals.

The agribusiness hero revealed said, “I went back to the U.S. in 2012 where I went back to school to acquire my MBS, Masters in Business Studies. That was when I started to consider what it will require to develop tomatoes into a company. I had the idea but I never dared to start anything at that time but going to school helped me gain confidence and courage to start the company.”

Last year, she launched a Tomato paste variant into the West African market. The new product, packaged in a 65-gram sachet, is the company’s first consumer product since the commencement of operations at its multi-billion-naira factory in Kaduna State

Her processing plant sits on 500 hectares of land under lease from the Kaduna State Government, with a potential tomato cultivation area of 300 hectares has received support from the Central Bank of Nigeria through FCMB, Goodwell Investments B.V. through Alitheia IDF, VestedWorld, the Acumen Resilient Agriculture Fund, The Morning Star Company, and other private investors.

Ana Phosa (Pig Farming)

Phosa is a school dropout who started her first pig farm in Soweto in 2004 with $100. She started her pig farming by equipping herself with information from books on pig farming and working with other farmers. Phosa who began with four small pigs started supplying meats to the local markets. In 2005, she signed an agreement to start supplying meat to Vereeniging Meat Packers. 

Her fish farming business expanded when she won a contract from a South African retail supermarket giant, Pick n’ Pay to supply 10 pigs to its stores every week in 2008. That contract opened her to another contract that allowed her to supply 100 pigs per week for R25 million. Phosa who currently has over 4,000 pigs is creating employment for the people in her community.

Lucius Kawogo (Cockroach Farming)

Lucius is an Agribusiness hero that is exploring a unique style of farming. As a cockroach farmer, Lucius said, “People thought I was mad when I started farming cockroaches and now it earns me a good living.” The farmer who hails from Tanzania revealed that he receives enquiries from customers outside Tanzania seeking to buy cockroaches. 

The African entrepreneur who was previously a carpenter hinted that he decided to turn to cockroach farming because he believed that cockroach farming will give him the success he desires. His farming has earned him a good amount of returns.

Olatunde Olufunmike Kechicha (Fish Farming)

Olatunde who won the Rising Star category at the 2020 Aquaculture Awards is the CEO of Imoran Farms Nigeria Limited. Olatunde started producing and selling catfish to retailers in 2017. 

Speaking about her fish farm journey, Olatunde said, I started very small after my undergraduate training – producing about 200 fish a year from a backyard system at home. I finished my bachelor’s degree in zoology and decided aquaculture was what I wanted to do, then went to do a master’s at the University of Stirling’s Institute of Aquaculture and since then I’ve scaled up production.”

With a current production capacity of about 12 tonnes of catfish per year, Olatunde sells half of her fish and smoke half for retail sales. She farms her fish in both earthen ponds and concrete tanks.

Femi Oyedipe (Cocoa Farming)

Femi who leads Loshes Chocolate got the inspiration to make chocolates when she battled with disappointment from a job she was expecting. As CEO, she leads her company in transforming cocoa, a natural and readily available resource, into fine chocolate products. 

Loshes Chocolate offers premium quality chocolate to consumers of all age groups and associated preferences. It also hopes to establish a chocolate processing plant suitably located in Lagos, to run a one-of-a-kind chocolate showroom, a boutique showroom showcasing the diverse confectionery and services they offer, and to capture the local market with a focus on borderless expansion.

Leave a Reply

Check Also

Lumumba Highlights Africans Facing a New Form of Enslavement Through Work Visas in the West

Prof. Patrick Lumumba, a popular Kenyan lawyer and activist, says the new wave of emigrati…