Rebecca Osewa is the founder and chief executive officer of Yield Initiatives with the desire to contribute her quota in building and reclaiming Nigeria’s economy using the fashion industry.
Osewa has an extensive skill set in textile production from weaving to printed fabric with over 10 years in the creativity industry.
“I desire to participate in building and reclaiming the nation’s wealth that has been abandoned and lost, using the fashion industry as my office of service to the country.
“I consistently participate in government and non-governmental stakeholders’ engagement while developing and managing multiple projects with the major goal in mind,” she said.
According to her, the goal is to drive the development of the cotton-to-textile- apparel value chain and create markets that position women for economic empowerment through trade in Nigeria.
The British Nigerian-born entrepreneur said Yield Initiatives was born out of the frustration of a failed plan to set up a textile factory in Nigeria in 2016.
“After much market research, I realised the major challenges in the supply chain in Nigeria, I had to go back to the drawing board and re-strategise my positioning in the market.
The young entrepreneur noted that the Nigerian textile industry was once the largest employer of labour after the federal government.
According to her, Nigeria used to have 180 textile factories that employed over 450,000 people at that present time, not leaving out the uncounted numbers engaged in small weaving establishments, including those in the informal sector.
“Every factory now has closed down leaving millions out of work. Nigeria spends $4 billion importing ready-made garments and textiles into the country,” she noted.
The University of the Arts London graduate explained that Nigeria has a landmass of about 750,000 hectares, but only about one-third is exploited.
And to address this imbalance, Yield Initiatives is on a mission to revive the cotton textile industry to continue to build a more prosperous Africa.
“Focusing on a mindset shift and behavioural change, we aim to regenerate ecosystems, leading to social regeneration.”
“Yield Initiatives is dedicated to advancing sustainability in Africa and building a more prosperous society through education and up-skilling farmers and workers in the cotton industry,” she said.
“It’s time to break the systemic barriers and bring the once-thriving industry back to Africa,” she stressed.
“Sustainability will always be second to survival, but in building farmers’ resilience through higher-yielding crops, improving water access, and financing issues, opportunities for better, more sustainable, land care will follow,” she added.
Since the inception of Yields Initiatives in 2016, it has emerged as a leading cotton textile chain-supply medium and has expanded its operations across the country.
“Our operations are carried out in Nigeria, while our head office is in London. Yield Initiatives is working across six states in Nigeria surrounding the Central Savannah. Ebonyi, Edo, Adamawa, Gombe, Ogun, Kaduna.
Working very closely with our subsidiaries companies which are; Rebecca Osewa Farms Ltd, Rebecca Osewa Organic Seeds Ltd, and Rebecca Osewa Textiles Design Ltd.
Yield Initiatives provides incentives for farmers, focuses on rural women and youths with the provisions of awareness, training and extension services, and thereafter Rebecca Osewa Group Limited will buy up cotton lint from the farmers,” she said.
In the face of the digital economy, Osewa assured the firm intends to use digital marketing to enhance its presence in Nigeria and reach a wider audience.
“Yield Initiatives plans to launch our podcast in 2024 covering many topics regarding the development of the industry. With this dialogue, it will allow us to widen our reach and potentially build stronger working relationships nationally and internationally.”
She pointed out that the company is looking to work with high-caliber partners that are reimagining and creating a future that is brighter and are willing to share their expertise and collaborate with Yield Initiatives.
“We would also love to work with existing initiatives, to strengthen synergies and work in harmony with them.
To truly transform the supply chain in Nigeria, greater levels of investment are necessary, particularly for field-level programmes. We are inspired to have partners from philanthropic funding, impact investment, and government Nigeria,” she said.
According to Osewa, the major challenges hindering the transformation of the cotton supply chain in Nigeria are lack of visionary leadership, improper certified seed production, and distribution, among others.
“The weakness associated with the decline in cotton production in Nigeria is due to many factors which are as follows, disorganised seed in cotton production, lack of proper leadership, improperly certified cotton seed production and distribution, non-existence of satisfactory quality assurance and certified grading, poor domestic marketing and lack of consideration of the industry,” she explained.
She revealed that the company aims to build strategic partnerships to bridge the gap in the cotton textile garment sector in Nigeria.
“On August 18, 2023 Yield Initiatives launched the Nigeria Cotton Supply Chain Mapping project requesting proposals. We have selected the firm we want to work with.
The mapping project would take roughly six months to complete. Is an in-depth project covering every concept of the supply chain across the six selected states we plan to establish our operation of work. We are presently trying to raise N60 million to carry out the project.”
She reiterated the goal of the firm is to have over 100 hectares of land producing cotton to meet our domestic market and internationally.