Several Young people and interestingly young women are doing Agriculture as a business this days. One of them is Our Young Agribusiness Person(YAP) of the Year – Angel Adelaja, founder & CEO of FreshDirectNG and winner of the She Leads Africa(SLA) Accelerator 2016. We decided to have her share her story to inspire other young women across Africa – that access to land shouldn’t be a deterrrent to farming, please enjoy the interview.
Please tell us about your person (What drives you, what are you passionate about?)
I am Angel Adelaja. I’m the CEO of Fresh Direct Nigeria. We bring fresh premium organic produce closer to market with our Container Farm Technology. Using hydroponics and vertical farming within a shipping container, our Container Farms are able to grow directly in urban areas. This means that production is brought closer to market or AT market with ease.
As the CEO my role is multifaceted. I created the company and oversee overall business development and strategy but I also am hands on in farming, designing our technologies, data collection, staff training, etc. Its not difficult because it’s a passion for me. I love agriculture! I am fascinated with growing things and making things for impact. I think i’m driven to to make an impact and live a life of service in what ever way I can. That is something that has been a major calling for my family from the time of my great grandparents, grandparents, parents and now our generation.
Please, tell us about FreshDirect Nigeria (Where do you see your business in the next 10 years?
What if we could make agriculture exciting for youth, lower the risk, do it year round regardless of location, with little to no Land… no SOIL, cutting out long transportation times with the use of a simple technology? Fresh Direct is solving the problems typically seen in traditional farming using our Container farms. Fresh Direct Nigeria is focused on helping youth enter agriculture in a way that is not backbreaking, is fun and lowers the risk of failure with the use of technology. Right now we are an early stage company but we hope to be able to on board 10,000 youth in areas that cut across agriculture and urban farming, distribution, sales/marketing, ag-tech and automation and much more. By God’s grace, in 10 years time, we will be a company established across Africa as a solution for high quality premium produce.
How do you plan to get there?
We are focused on impact. As a small enterprise we focus on market-driven growth and building an ecosystem that is solid, sustainable and efficient. As a social enterprise we focus on doing all of that as well as bringing our community along. We’re currently based in Abuja, but plan to scale to other cities based on demand. Of course we also keep innovating with our technology and providing the best quality of produce.
What is your encouragement to African Youths?
We are more talented, wise and resourceful than we are given credit for. I tell youth that they can be or do anything they want to. The power is in their hands. The key is unlocking the wisdom by always seeking it. The same smartphones and social media that elders say we use to take selfies and chat also have the ability to educate and enlighten. Seek the things online that will answer questions for you. Use Youtube, Google, Wikipedia and blogs to research instead of for entertainment. Reach out to people to learn. Don’t be too proud to volunteer in exchange for wisdom. Never think there is any task that is too little or beneath you because this life has unexpected twists and turns. Everything, good or bad, if taken as a lesson makes you stronger. Lastly, sometimes the craziest idea really is quite revolutionary, people just don’t realize it until it is and the person they called idiot or insane is thus labeled a genius.
Clarion Call: If THEY don’t offer you a seat at the table… Build you OWN Table. As youth, lets build businesses, invest in other youth-led businesses, employ other youth, mentor other youth and support youth in government. If we become an economic block, we wont wait for those who occupy positions of power to think about throwing crumbs towards our education, employment, well being and future, we’d have the power to demand it and achieve it.
*Any other information (Especially how our blog readers can reach to
Hope you enjoyed reading this interview and have been inspired by it, feel free to follow the FreshDirectNG Social media channels above…Thanks.