Mrs Joy Njoku is a farmer based in Badagry area of Lagos State. Over the years, she has been able to build her business, Chemmang Agribusiness Management Services through resilience and a never give up attitude.
Trained by Songai farms in Benin Republic under a programme organised by United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to help young entrepreneurs in agriculture businesses. Njoku has expanded her pig farming business to other areas of the agribusiness as well as a training institute.
Recently, she was recognised by the Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN) as a model farmer under the Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme Fund (ACGSF). Speaking on how she was able to transform from an aspiring entrepreneur to a full agribusiness and institute, through her resolve of never giving up even in times when everything seems to have ended.
“I was trained as a farm consultant. I was trained to help develop farms for individuals, organisations and the public. So, after the training, I came back to Nigeria, and I set up my own farm to showcase to the world that anybody can do it.
“So, I started with a small portion of land I was able to get in Badagry with pig farming and cash crops as well as vegetable. I grew from the pig farming and cash crops to snail farming.
“Also, I was training some young people to join me in the farming. And so far, the people I have trained are all across Lagos states doing their own farming, I train them in poultry, in fishery, piggery and snail farming. I had been growing until 2018 when the swine flu struck my farm and I lost all my pigs. I started all over again and today we are here growing.”
For people in the farm business, she noted that, one of the problems our farmers have is how to get to the end users after production. “And because we don’t add value to our products we sell lower than what we are supposed to sell. So what we sell is not proportional to what we put into producing particular products,” she pointed out.
She noted that farmers are particularly challenged on how to add value to production and how to break even after production. Therefore, to break even and remain profitable, she said: “I found a way to add value to products by processing it. So I don only rare pigs, I have an abattoir, where I process it to meats and I sell. Right now we are looking at exporting to the countries that needed the most.
On what had kept her going on despite losing everything to the swine flu, Njoku said: “well, don’t give up. No matter how difficult it is keep pushing. One thing that has always kept me going is that when it is difficult, that is when it is ending. You can’t have it rosy all the time. So if you are able to cross that difficult path, the ending is always profitable. So my philosophy in life is never to give up. Just give your best to everything you do or you end up reaping a good reward.”