• Sunday, June 23, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

“We aim to have our own fully automated rice mill within the next one year”- Gbenga Eyiolawi

“We aim to have our own fully automated rice mill within the next one year”- Gbenga Eyiolawi

Gbenga Eyiolawi, is the Founder and Chief Trader at Titan farms, an AgriTech company that trades on agro- commodities across the country. In this interview with DIPO OLADEHINDE, he spoke on expansion plans and role government can plan to further develop the sector.

How much have you invested in your farm so far?

We have invested about half a billion naira into this project, Titan farms is an Agric-Tech company where we trade in agro-commodities from one part of the country to another.

This business started this year and we have gained the confidence of a lot of people as partners and distributors, hence the sporadic growth and presence of our brands in the towns in which we are present.

We buy rice paddy from farmers, process and bag them after which we sell to distributors. We do this week -in, week-out and at the end of the day, we and our partners smile when the company shares profits.

Why are you not present in the south-east and other markets in Nigeria?

Titan farms started this year, it’s our mission to be in every part of the country. We started in the south-west and as the popular saying goes ‘`charity begins at home’’. We have started here in the south-west and we plan to reach every part of the country and even Africa at large.

Presently we have distributors in Port Harcourt which is an indication of our growth and we are open to more distributors across the country.

We have amazing packages for all our distributors and every package, there is a rebate system that gives them good return and margin.

Read Also: Nigeria urged to position self to benefit from $20trn IOT global economy

What are your expansion plans in the next five years?

We plan to feed as many people as possible by offering affordable quality food.

We also have a food club where people can also order for raw food and get them delivered to their various homes if they want, these people can pay as they earn and when their money is complete, they get to collect their food stuffs.

Titan farms will also be organizing various agricultural programs for youths to encourage them to go into agriculture while grants will also be given to students. We will also have processing plants for agricultural products, with these plants we can service more of our market and spread faster. We aim to have our own fully automated rice mill within the next one year.

In what areas do you think the government can assist rice farmers like Titan?

By breaking monopolies. Most of those in Rice production business in large scales met favourable government incentives like tax relief, provision of land and funding of machineries. For new entrants like Titan, this is a challenge as we are still looking forward to the government to open more opportunities to us.

To be fair, the ban on importation on rice is a big boost to all of us in the industry as that is what brought most of us into the industry, I would say a big thank you to President Muhammad Buhari.

In addition, there is a paddy Aggregation scheme funding opportunity by the CBN for Rice processing and trading companies. So, I will say they have done super well to encourage us to push even harder.

That is not to say everything is perfect.

Our Government can do better by ensuring the security agencies on the road understand the difference between Nigerian Rice and Foreign Rice and not clamp unnecessarily on innocent Nigerian Rice traders moving their merchandise from one part of the country to another, hence leading to delays in the transport of goods.

The government can also help by providing more resources to farmers so they can expand and increase their output gradually.

There is also need for state governments to work more on promoting the growth of Rice especially in the south so we can have rice at good prices around the country, not just by going to the North.

Some state governments in the south set up rice processing plants but the question is, where are the farms in that state supplying them paddy? Little wonder some of these plants are redundant or at best, have low production output. The way forward on this is for us to have massive rice farms across the country, in places where the land can grow rice.

Another challenge is the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) registration. This is a major problem for most agribusiness as the process is too slow and we all know no supermarket will buy or display products that do not have NAFDAC number, neither can such products be exported.

Can you explain more about Titan foundation?

Titan foundation is my personal way of giving back to society. Basically, it is in three categories such as rewarding veterans in the entertainment industry, sponsoring the less privilege, and adopting some orphanages in Ibadan.

Educating the less privilege in Nigeria society is a right and not a privilege, if we fail to do so, it spells down for society. Educating these children will make them become useful citizens who will use the education acquired contribute meaningfully to society.

Most of these children have been forced by their parents and guardian to engage in petty trade and most of the income will not reach them.