There are several significant issues that have to do with Nigeria’s agriculture industry which should be identified, highlighted and brought before the attention of the policy makers to drive the vision forward. One of such is the fact that the agro-allied sector, involving the different stages of the food value chain is grossly under developed though has huge potentials untapped.
One highly experienced Nigerian food entrepreneur who can add the needed value in this regard is Mr. Adewale Okunoye. He is one of those few men who are multi-talented and skilled, with hands-on experience whose pedigree will benefit the brains behind how to move the sector in the 21st Century Nigeria. As a versatile food technologist who has garnered experience in various sectors of the economy he will make the difference, especially in the aspects of the agric sector currently bereft of skilled professionals. Indeed, the time has come when it should not be left for the charlatans and the unskilled men. A peep into his background will illuminate this position.
For instance, the young Adewale started his journey into the big Food and Agro Ecosystem when he got admitted to study Food Technology at the Federal Polytechnic , Ado – Ekiti about thirty five (35) years ago . The robust academic content, practical-oriented syllabus added to the tough, rigorous and yet balanced educational system of the school prepared him in no small measure to face the challenges of the future.
Luckily, while in school, the compulsory internship scheme offered him the opportunity to work with multi nationals like Glaxo Wellcome and Pfizer Plc where he cut his teeth as a budding food technologist. Good enough, there he was involved in New Product Development, Quality Assurance and Research and Development. He was also deeply involved as an intern in some projects that bothered on the inclusion of local contents in Baby Weaning Foods, Snacks and other product lines.
Also during his compulsory NYSC scheme he had his primary assignment in the globally renowned International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA), where he worked in the Trip Biochemistry Unit. This early exposure triggered the young man’s interest in the Agro segment of the expansive Food Value Chain. In his words Wale said: “ One of the main challenges that we encountered in the New Product Development during my internship was sourcing of the right raw materials and that triggered my interest in the Agro Chain. This interest was further crystallized by my IITA experience”. But that was not all there was to his vast experinces in the food industry.
“One of the main challenges that we encountered in the New Product Development during my internship at IITA, Ibadan was sourcing of the right raw materials and that triggered my interest in the Agro Chain.”
Adewale Okunoye (CEO of CITA Agro Services)
After graduation, Wale ventured into different sectors of the economy. One of these was that he worked as the Customer Care Officer of a Security company for about two years and then had a brief stint as a Sales Executive of another Agro Chemical company before he joined Ben K Agro Allied Investment Limited as the Head of Sales and Marketing. The focus was selling other company’s branded poultry feeds.
Worthy of note was that he single handedly initiated and orchestrated the company starting off its own branded feed called BEN K FEEDS. Due to his sound technical knowledge and experience in Animal Nutrition and Salesmanship he was able to grow the sales volume of Ben K by about 250% within the 4 years and he made the products and services an household name in the Animal feeds space, most especially in Lagos and Ogun states’ farming corridor.
Without any fear of contradiction, Mr. Okunoye is one of those Agro stakeholders who is in the industry not just as a meal ticket, but ventured into the industry because of his passion for all-round quality and value addition. In Wale’s personal life, those who know him do testify to his passionate commitment to service excellence and adherence to all laid-down quality parameters. His passion for result is quite outstanding that even up till the moment people still call him Ben K as he became like the face of the brand.
Subsequently, he worked with Chief Rabiu Farms, Ijebu Ode , a medium scale integrated farm as the General Manager Feed Mill where he compounded feed rations for the poultry birds and livestock from local ingredients . He worked there for about two years. It must be mentioned that he was able to compound low cost and very nutrient rich animal feeds that compared favourably with the leading commercial feeds
Having armed himself with the necessary skills, knowledge, expertise and experience Mr Okunoye sired Cita Agro Services in 2007 and since then he has not looked back even through thick and thins. Cita Agro Services is an integrated, innovative agro-allied company that focuses on production of nutritionally rich and affordable animal feed from industrial by-products and wastes. They are then packaged in a safe, clean and hygienic format.
Also to be taken note of is that Cita Agro Services (CAS) customizes its product offerings to meet specific needs and customer requirements. CAS is into the production of compound feeds for poultry, pig and fish. Currently, the company has a special product called Citamix Pig Feed Concentrate. It is a low cost pre- processed feed concentrate that can be converted to all the levels of pig feed rations.
With the Office located in Akute , Ogun State, clients can benefit from its services as it also offers advisory and consultancy in Animal Nutrition and in Agro Allied Value Chain (Feeds and Animal Husbandry).
With his proud pedigree in the sensitive sector he is definitely one of the Nigerians the state and federal governments should be looking out for to gain from his vast experiences, to make the dream of food security a reality.
Our big kudos to him.