I came across Okoronkwo Nwanyieze’s farming business on Instagram earlier in the year, and since then she has continued to wow me with her greenhouse farm produce. So we had a chat with her about her business and what it has taken to come this far.
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Am a practical farmer! I train young youth who has passion for Farming. I don't write books I domestrate in the field what I know…. Farming is above e-book is more of practical …….it's not easy but believe me is a quick money maker .for example this veggies am holding takes only 45days to be ready for sales… And you can harvest it twice a week or more than that depends on your market demand and management…..
Pelleura: Welcome on board. It’s nice to have you on this Interview.
Okoronkwo Nwanyieze: Thanks ma.
Pelleura: Please can you share details of your background with us?
Okoronkwo Nwanyieze: My name is Okoronkwo Nwanyieze. I’m from Abia state; a graduate of Agronomy from Michael Okpara University Of Agriculture Umudike. And I’m currently based in Lagos.
Pelleura: What were your dreams like when you were in school?
Okoronkwo Nwanyieze: Well, talking about dreams, I had wanted to be a food scientist (FST) student but I didn’t get the course, so studying Agronomy was really out of my dream, because I didn’t know what the course was all about to the extent I was so ashamed to mention my course to anyone. Even my friends were laughing and making jest of the course name. After my first year, I wanted to change course but my department refused so I had to continue, but I told myself that as soon as I finish, I will go back to school to study my dream course. Well, here I am today, enjoying Agronomy…
Pelleura: Please tell us about your Greenhouse farming business.
Okoronkwo Nwanyieze: After my NYSC, which I did in Ogun State, one of my cousin sister called me and told me that their company (dizengoff West Africa Limited) was into greenhouse farming technology. In this type of farming system they grow their crops inside a confied tent; not actually tent, but that is what it looks like. So they where using it to grow veggies like tomatoes, bells, cucumbers etc. I applied and by God’s grace I started working with them till I resigned and now on my own. So I’m into greenhouse farming system.
Pelleura: What prompted you to start it?
Okoronkwo Nwanyieze: What prompted me was the day I saw this greenhouse during our training and the big tomatoes and bell peppers growing inside it. I was surprised because I had only seen those kind of tomatoes and bells in shoprite which where imported. So to me, I was anxious to know how possible this was so I became interested to learn more.
Pelleura: What major products do you grow and sell?
Okoronkwo Nwanyieze: I grow majorly tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, Bell peppers (capsicum) different colours,(green,red,yellow and orange)Hot pepper(Habanero) kales etc
Pelleura: I tried copying you by starting a small tomato garden and I was not impressed with myself. 😂😂. So please, how do you manage to keep your produce looking fat and fresh?
Okoronkwo Nwanyieze: 🤣 Farming is not something you copy and do! you have to undergo training especially in this type of our farming. You must know the (dos and don’ts) of the farming before you can go and practice, If not, you will not achieve your desired goal.
Pelleura: Do you train people on how to farm? If yes, what does your training entail?
Okoronkwo Nwanyieze: Of course I do. As a matter of fact, I have so many young boys who are either practicing on their own or managing for my clients in different states. There is even one who is using it to train himself in school in PH. The training doesn’t take anything so long as you have passion for it, you’re hardworking, ready to deny yourself some pleasures; what I mean by that is, some farms are not in town where there is urban/city life so you must be ready to patiently stay and learn.
Pelleura: How has the response been from your customers?
Okoronkwo Nwanyieze: My customers always want more. But sometimes I don’t meet their demand in terms of supply because plenty people need our produce.
Pelleura: As someone who is into greenhouse farming business, what is a typical day like for you?
Okoronkwo Nwanyieze: Sometimes hectic, sometimes stress free and fun especially when some crucial activities have reduced.
Pelleura: What are the obstacles you’ve faced as a woman working hard to build something for yourself?
Okoronkwo Nwanyieze: Lack of financial support, high cost of farm input, middle men issues in the market, some government policies etc, sometimes these things try to discourage me but I keep pushing and trusting God I will get there.
Pelleura: Presently, what are those achievements you’ve made in regards to your greenhouse harming business, and what future goals are you aiming for?
Okoronkwo Nwanyieze: One of them is proving science wrong. You know back then in school we where told that crops do well only in loamy soil, but I have been able to grow crops in pure Sandy soils, clay soils and they did very well. I have used coconut backs to raise seeds and they came out well. I’m aiming to have a very big farm all over the state, and to change agricultural system in Nigeria where Agric courses will be hot cake in University and students will come out and be employed, and Nigeria will become a better exporter in veggies.
Pelleura: Wow! That’s a huge one, and I pray you are able to do it all. So how have you used social media to your advantage?
Okoronkwo Nwanyieze: Social media has helped me because I have gotten so many customers from there and so many people know what I do now.
Pelleura: If you were to do it all over again, what would you change about your business?
Okoronkwo Nwanyieze: Ha! I will change the fact that I didn’t start in time because if I had know what this course was back then in school, I would have gone far.
Pelleura: What advice do you have for women who want to start their own agrobusiness?
Okoronkwo Nwanyieze: What I will tell anyone who want to go into agrobusiness;
- Make sure you have passion for it.
- Try and undergo training before you start.
- Don’t start big, start small and expand.
- Don’t try to compete. Farming is not about competition. Be willing to learn new things and new ideas. Farming is not E-book, it is practical.
- Be patient because farming is a gradual processing.
- Know what veggies you can grow and stay on that.
- Finally, always pray and commit your work to God.
Pelleura: Awesome points you have up there. Thanks, so, so much for your time. It was nice having this chat with you.
Okoronkwo Nwanyieze: You’re always welcome. Thanks for having me.
So that’s our chat. If you’re interested in starting your own greenhouse farm, or you meed a major suplier of veggies, you can contact Okoronkwo Nwanyieze via the details below.
Instagram handle: Instagram.com/okoronkwonwanyieze
Business Contact details: For calls 08068446324 and for WhatsApp 09082554658
PS: If you have a business or product/service, or ideas you want us to know about and share, kindly contact us here