Joseph Ali is an Agriculturist, a passionate modern day educationist, a pragmatic leader and a Social Entrepreneur, Rural Developer and the Founder of COFARMS GREENAID REVOLUTION. In this interview , he bared his mind on why government should empower institutions in the agricultural sector to operate independently .
Can you tell us about your organization?
CO-FARMS GREENAID REVOLUTION LTD is an Organic Farmers community who are producing, processing and distributing Organic end products and inputs. COFARMS is founded in 2016 as an ICT Agricultural Company, e-commerce market for agricultural commodities who operates both online (www.cofarms.org, www.cofarms.ng )/on-ground farming systems that provide a profitable platform for agricultural investment. Our model helps to reduce the number of small scale farmers in our society by training and building them into communities of farmers who pull their small resources together to commercialize Agricultural production.
Looking at your journey into agricultural businesses, can you tell us some remarkable achievements you have recorded so far?
As an organization we have recorded a lot of successes over the past five years with a lot of challenges too but the journey has been God all through. We have built over 33 organic communities across 6 states and with the support of our partners European Union, GIZ, NICOP and others we have trained and certified 13,000 organic certified farmers across 6 states, built over 180,000 farmers into organic agricultural communities who today produce uniform commodities for other company’s raw materials for both local and the international market. We create the concept of the community Agriculture to eradicate isolation practice in agriculture space, reduce the number of small scale farmers by pulling their small resources to commercialized agricultural production, produce uniform commodities and access all input within their crop community with the focus of financial inclusion and modern day Agriculture using technology as a tool for gender inclusion.
We also pioneer the Nigeria Go Organic Project. The Nigerian Go Organic project is a project by COFARMS GREENAID LTD focuses on increasing Organic Agriculture participation in Nigeria through training on Organic Agriculture, organic input production and distribution, organic market inclusion and market linkage and financial inclusion for rural farmers in Nigeria. The Project drives good agricultural practices within rural farmers, celebrate the rural farmers, help farmers possess the knowledge required to convert farming to Agribusiness, start the conversion of farms and farmers to organic agriculture, provide new and improved knowledge on farming and deploy modern agro technologies/solutions to the farm to boost productivity, profitability and proficient of all agro actors within the Agricultural Value Chain and create linkages that connect all major actors to both raw materials and market. In 2021 the project expanded to Africa Go Organic with presence in Cameroon, Togo and over 16 states in Nigeria with reach to over 300,000 farmers in total.
What are you doing differently to carve an inch in the sector looking at the need for food security in the country ?
Ans. Work and let your result show other organization that is possible. When we started, getting organic certification looks impossible, with commitment we were able to get our organic certification and help other organization get their first organic certification. We believe competitiveness works better in partnership and where others see competition we see synergy. Today we have certification for different commodities yearly and produce both livestock and crops like (rice, maize, sorghum, soybeans, hibiscus, cashew, mango, cattle, goat, chicken, vegetables, beans, sesame, ginger, turmeric, coffee, groundnut, orange, potato, cassava, yam and moringa etc).
Where would you like to be in the next 5 years?
Ans. In the next 5 years by 2026 we will like to train and certify 200,000 farmers across Nigeria and Africa build a database of organic producing farmer to 1 million across Nigeria and 10 other African countries and be able to process all raw materials to finish product. The big picture is to meet the target of 1000 homes in Nigeria and other part of Africa eating our products daily, convert 25% Nigeria arable farmland to organic farmland, produce up to 42 million metric tons of organic certified food yearly and achieve market inclusion for organic foods in the local market. Gender inclusion and participation is something we are passionate about and we want to achieve 60% population of women farmers.
What would you like the Government to do more in agricultural sector to aid the growth?
Ans. Policies, infrastructures, regulations. With proper policies and internal regulation system of the commodity market, it can create new jobs for millions of youths in Nigeria. Government should empower Agricultural institutions to operate independently of the Government to provide good structure to regulate the agro sector. As of today the institutions are dependent of Government, making both the government and the institutions one and same entity. Government have failed in providing good structure making the commodity market porous, increasing inflow of dangerous agro chemicals that is destroying our farm land on a daily basic and also affecting the quality of life through the production of contaminated food with increasing health challenges.
What is your advice to the Government?
Ans. Government should start being Government by doing what Government is made to do (create policies to boost business activities and engagement, work on our infrastructure, put in place structures and regulations that help small businesses to grow and empower our institutions to operate independently of the Government) appointment and employment to Government offices should be done base on merit so as to increase capable hands to boost capacity and practical participation in the agricultural sector.
My Aspirations Is For All Nigerians To Own Affordable House- BSTAN GROUP President
Since the establishment of BSTAN GROUP one of the leading estate and property firms in Nigeria it has been a never-ending story of success for the estate firm, in this interview with journalists after unveiled 4 new brand Ambassadors in Abuja. JOEL AJAYI was there when The President, BSTAN GROUP, Dr. Becky Olubukola speaks about the new innovations, news affordable packages for all Nigerian, the challenges amongst others.
Today you unveiled 4 brand Ambassadors for BSTAN homes and property, what inform this step?
As part of vision to spread the good news of shelter as part of basic needs for life we, we try to unveiled Ambassadors who are part of us, every year to join us and promote our business as well to spread the good news of shelter.
And part of it is what we did today having signed for new brand Ambassadors for BSTAN group Service today.
Is this Ambassadorial unveiling and endorsement a rallying point for your business?
Let me tell you that, to push a brand, you have to promote the brand. If you have a good news, the best you can do is to ensure the good news is heard everywhere in Nigeria that is what we just did today.
We just don’t sell houses or plots of land, we build dreams and these people coming to join us as our brand Ambassadors is part of the vision of the company to promote our business, to spread the good news, build dream, give people shelter by ensuring they have a roof over their heads especially with our avoidable BSTAN homes products which are low cost housing for lower class, middle class and upper class Nigerians and we have project across the country and at the same time I am particular about those who can’t afford these luxury.
It will interest you to know that, 75% Nigerians can’t afford luxury because of the state of the nation therefore, if you are building houses that are expense its means you are building for less than 30% Nigerians so for us it’s like big brand.
Building collapses has been a serious threat in Nigeria, how do you think operators can tackle this?
Quality control is the answer for building collapses in Nigeria. I am a civil engineer, I am a Phd. holder in estate and for me it’s all about quality control there is no shortcut.
Also the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria, COREN and others regulated bodies should come out with regulations that can stop deficit in housing that can stop collapse structures.
Another solution is that people should also have a good orientation because when an engineer gave you a bill don’t just said it’s too much and go and give your project or the work to bricklayer it for both party and we need to put regulations and sanction in the industry.
You are been using Actors, Actress, Musicians to mention but a few. Do you intend to use more footballers like what you did years back when you unveiled sports man like Kanu Nwankwo as your brand Ambassador?
Of course, the answer is yes, for us we are not tribalistic, in BSTAN group. I call this company Nigeria, because we have almost all the tribes across the country.
And we are not religious bias, we have Christian, we have Muslim we are not also bias about gender, we equal male and equal female so, it’s a balance structure.
Same way for the industries we have people in Nollyhood, sportsmen, we people in the music industry, as our Ambassadors, we also have children as you can see today we have first kids legacies Ambassador
For us we promote this brand through people who have done well for this nation, this nation need to celebrate you and for us, we promote this people and their sectors, its open to sports men and women to be part of our Ambassador like we have done before.
What of media that serves as a tool for information dissemination, do you have plan for journalist?
The Journalists are very major integral part of nation building because without journalists information can’t be spread across everywhere, that is why for me be an advocate for youth in government, we are trying as much as possible to preach the gospel of right information, right Journalism we should do the right job, we should not be paid to give the wrong news we should give the right news.
We should celebrate the Journalists as much as we celebrate others people we need to celebrate journalists because there is no business you are doing now without information and journalists because you want your product to be sell.
So, we open to every sectors so far, is all about nation building it’s about economic stability, it’s about promoting the good standard living for the citizens of Nigeria.
What is your message to New Ambassadors?
We are expecting goodwill, good information, spread good news, represent the quality and standard of BSTAN brand, give out information to your people about avoidable home at BSTAN and how they can get, we have land as low as 850,000 in Abuja, we have house less than one million naira in Kuje and Ushafa with two years payment plan.
As for home Titans app, it’s a package that believes will deliver house to every Nigerians with as little as 1 million not a plot. While kids legacy is package for all Nigerian children through land banking across state in Nigeria which indicate that the more a child is growing the the money increases. With that property future of such children is secure.
We equally have the traders’ Scheme for people are into small business for, Mechanic, Drivers, School Shirt holders, Vulcanizers, Carpenter, with as low as N2,300 per day or N20,000 in a month, you can own a land after 2 years so, no matter you are earning, if the will is there, the win is there.
That is why this information needs to be spread across the country. We have what is called the kids legacy where parent can do land banking for their children and the loved ones so, the ball is in everyone’s court to pick this information and reach out to BSTAN for their property.
Can you tell us a brief history on how you started a BSTAN?
We start BSTAN group as far back as 14 years ago with the desire to own a home after owned a home, we thought of bringing some new things on board for people to own a home as a professional and we went into real estate business as an engineer to build avoidable homes for everyone and come up with opportunities and mortgage system that can cohesion the effect of not been able to afford the right mortgages through banks and saving that is not enough and we came up with different campaigns that can help people to own a home.
It is all about passion, for me this business kick off with passion for every Nigerian to own a home, passion for less privileges to own a home.
What are the likely challenges you face?
The challenges has been the the lack of support from government, Mortgages, the finance industry to reduce the effect of the housing industry where by our customers, the citizens of this country can assess the right mortgage to buy a property and of course the government ensuring that right infrastructure is put in place to promote estate development that is going on across the nation.
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