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Banker turned poultry farmer becomes champion for African agriculture

After graduating from university, and getting job as a loan officer at a microfinance bank in Ibadan, Nigeria, Ayotomiwa Yinka Ogunsua signed up for an online advertisement for a youth agricultural training programme

Ogunsua did win a place in the course, organised last March by the Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation program, or TAAT, a programme of the African Development Bank and partners including the CGIAR, a global research partnership. TAAT works to harness high-impact agricultural technologies to boost crop output and create viable opportunities for workers and entrepreneurs. Soon after, Ogunsua bought 50 chicks and started a business.

Dr. Martin Fregene, director for the African Development Bank, agriculture and agro-industry, said, TAAT has the resources, scientific and technological expertise, as well as proven implementation plans to benefit millions of African farmers like Ogunsua. As the continent’s leaders gather for the high-level dialogue on feeding Africa at the end of the month, Ogunsua’s experience serves as an inspiration for governments to commit to investing in Africa’s food systems.”

After the training, I saw agriculture as a proper business, not just a passion, I realised this is something I must make income from, as something to pay my bills, something that I can build on as an enterprise, Ogunsua said.

The CGIAR’s International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, based in Ibadan, south-western Nigeria, provides TAAT training courses that offer capacity building and technical assistance to African “agripreneurs”.

The training gave Ogunsua the technical know-how to expand his start-up, vive Verde, from water, agricultural and environmental services into livestock production. Atops Farms, Ogunsua’s poultry business, grew to include 500 birds by early 2021. 

As head of Atops Farms, Ogunsua does his part to advocate for Nigeria’s agriculture sector, appearing regularly on radio and television programmes, and working to change society’s perception of farming as a pastime.