BusinessDay

Tunde Coker: Building agribusiness for health-conscious Nigerians

Tunde Coker is the founder of True Call Farms, a startup focused on organic agriculture. The young entrepreneur is also an IT Engineer and soccer enthusiast.

His idea behind True Call Farms is to create organic farming with international standards for other farmers to follow and to provide healthy foods for health-conscious Nigerians

“We grow sweet potatoes, cassava, cucumber, and rare snails, selling them locally while the potatoes are processed into flour. In addition, our sweet potatoes benefit diabetics and people with high blood pressure.

He earned a Bachelor’s in Business Administration and a Bachelor of Science degree in Distributed Information Systems from the University of East London.

Apart from being a farmer, he also has over a decade of experience in IT solutions. He believes his business will help improve the growth of local food production and provide job opportunities for youths through the farm.

“To be honest, it’s a need I see in Africa, particularly Nigeria. We have numerous possibilities to demonstrate what Africa offers to the world. Unfortunately, we are yet to fulfil the target due to ineffective government and capacities,” he said.

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When Coker started his business, one of his primary goals was to provide jobs for Nigerian youths but sadly it has become futile as most of them are lazy and prefer earning fast money. “This has resulted in us hiring from the neighbouring country and it is painful since I wanted TrueCall farm to be for Nigerians.”

As an advocate of food security and Sustainable development, he knows how simple it is to cultivate and use chemicals, which is the principal source of damage even in the western world.

“That’s why we set out to remedy it by planting, watering, and the use of natural manures,” he noted.

The indigene of Ogun state believes that organic farming is the best way to improve the future of agriculture not just in Nigeria but worldwide and in doing that, the country must effect change by going back to how our forefathers planted.

He also believes that to ensure more sustainability worldwide especially in Nigeria, the government should encourage organic farming by giving loans for agricultural activities. “I believe this will help farmers meet financial needs in purchasing some seeds, hiring machines, etc., thereby boosting agriculture.”

Some of the challenges listed by Coker behind the slow progress of organic farming are honesty on the part of farmers who claim to be organic but are not, poor infrastructure in running the business and insecurity in farmlands.

“The government needs to give farmers lead ways and bring expertise to help them export their products. For instance, I have been trying to open up collaboration to achieve food security in Nigeria, especially in my state. Still, all efforts have been unsuccessful,” he complained.

He also added that the country needs to create organic farmers’ associations in Nigeria as they do in the US and that farmers need more exposure with training and seminars among others.

In the next five years, he sees his business as being one of the leading mechanised organic farmers in Nigeria. The reason behind that is to enjoy the benefits such as increased productivity, reduced health hazards due to manual or over labor drudgery, encouraging large-scale farming and creating employment for youths.

Apart from his passion for youth development, Coker constantly expressed kindness, love, and gratitude to God with his involvement in the foundation work with his younger sister Nike Coker-Folaju at the Labake Coker Illuminant Foundation named after their mother.

The activities of the foundation involve distribution of furniture to underfunded schools, distribution of equipment, education sponsorship, laptop, and backpacks, distribution of food items and cash gifts. More than 2000 lives have been directly and indirectly touched by the works of this foundation.

“Our main goal is to support widowers and orphanages homes. So instead of building our own, we collaborate funds with the likes of Stella foundation, and support,” he said.

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