Who are you and what are you working on?
My Name is Musa Friday, founder Besko-Osha Farms, an agro-consultant, Farm Management, and also Backyard Farming in Nigeria.
What motivated you to get started with Backyard fish Farming?
I have never in my life thought of becoming a farmer, the thought came during my Service year in Edo State when we were told that we are over 3000 Youths corp members serving in Edo State.
Then I did a statistics, I multiply the figure ( 3000 ) by the number of states we have in Nigeria then I discovered that it’s a lot and there’s no job out there and the Youths keep passing out from the system every 3-4 months because as at then, we have 3 Batches passing out.
I said to myself that I need to find a way out that instead of looking for a job after my service, I will rather create a job for myself and also help my society in terms of employment.
That was when the thought of farming came to me then I started acquiring knowledge about poultry business and Management, I worked with a local poultry farmer for free and I also went to one of the biggest poultry farms in Agbor just to seek knowledge.
After I have acquired some knowledge, I formed a monthly contribution group with my corp members, it was that money I used to book for my first-day-old chicks and I was running the farms with my allawee.
My target markets were the community and my corps members. I sold to them and make a profit.
What problem are you solving with your startup and how are you solving it?
one of the unique problems that I’m trying to solve is to make sure that every home plants what they eat at home in their Backyard.
That’s the reason I started Backyard Farming by helping people develop their backyard into farming by this every home will have healthy food to eat and it will lessen their cost of feeding which eventually decreases the prices of food in the market because most people now plant what they wanted to eat at home.
Backyard Farming is the act of you utilizing the small availability of small space in your backyard to grow your own food for yourself and your family and at the same time still making money from it by selling the remaining produce from that your Backyard.
So one of the ways to solve the hunger problem in the country and provide jobs for the Youths and also development to the community is by Starting a Backyard Fish Farming program which I have helped a lot of people and most of them started small and some of them are now into commercial farming now.
The Backyard Fish Farming is a program whereby you can start your own Backyard fish farming with a startup capital of ₦100,000, I will give the client Starter kits which are A Tarpaulin pond size of 5″6 with 1000 standard Fingerlings with a bag of feed and drugs, I will also give the Client an ebook that cost about ₦10,000 for free and the person will also be under my Mentorship and Consultation for free too.
And in terms of sales, I will bring an offtaker that will come and buy the whole fish.
What differentiates you from other farmers?
What really Differentiate me from other Farmers is that I was able to associate myself with other farmers in different fields aside from my own area of specialization that is one the reason why I went to Leventis Agricultural Training School to learn further about mostly everything about Agriculture both crop, livestock, and Agri-business. Aside from that, I always attend events and seminars on Agriculture In other to expand my scope of the business.
How do you get customers for your business?
We have Central Market for all Agric produce, for instance, the Mile 12 international market and Ile Epo in Lagos are for vegetable Market which happens to be the largest in the country, most farmers all over the state bring their produce there, we also have those that do come to the farm and buy directly, we call those ones off-takers. So there are different ways we can get customers, we either take it to the market or we look for off-takers, but I prefer taking mine to the Central Market.
What were the biggest challenges you faced and the obstacles you overcame?
Generally, the challenges most farmers are facing are pricing. we don’t have a well-regulated body that oversees the pricing control of our products and this is really affecting the farmers and making the middlemen and women stinkingly rich instead of the farmers.
The middlemen determine the prices of agro-produce instead of the farmers.
How I was able to solve the challenges was to eliminate the middlemen and sell directly to the end users.
And lastly, Government should be able to fund the agricultural sector by providing a ground level for farmers and subsidizing some other things.
What are some of your sources of learning and inspiration?
I don’t joke with learning, that’s why I surrounded myself with people that we both share the same goals and how we can achieve them.
I have learned a lot from people that are ahead of me in farming, those guys are my great learning source.
Advice for others who want to get started or are just starting out with farming?
My advice is very simple, they should just remain focused. The Agricultural sector is one the largest sector in the Country they should just pick a niche and start small no matter the millions they have to throw around, learning is very important when starting out, they will learn how to climb the ropes and, before they know it, they’ll have become an expert in that niche. Moreso, join a community and attend seminars and events.
What books, podcasts, or resources do you recommend for entrepreneurs out there?
The good thing is that information is now easy to come by compared to when we started back then, We will have to travel widely to be able to learn whatever things we wanted to learn in our own niche.
But now information is everywhere, so what I will strongly advise them to use is YouTube.
Where would you like your business to be in five years?
My plan for the next 5 years is to establish a farm Estate and also be part of the people that will end hunger in Africa and beyond.
Most importantly be able to create employment for thousands of our youths and also contribute to the GDP of the Nation
How can people get started with farming?
Anyone can start, but the issue is to go for learning first, don’t just start farming without learning the tricks behind it, if not you will fail. We have several Agricultural Training Schools now some are free while some are paid.
Just make sure you acquire adequate knowledge about it before starting.