By Victor Akuma
Agriculture used to be a thriving sector of the economy in Nigeria. But since the country witnessed its oil boom, the sector has suffered many setbacks — ranging from government’s unfavourable policies to dwindling interest among the country’s youthful population.
Majority of young Nigerians want to be a doctor, nurse, lawyer or take up well paying jobs after school but only a handful are considering a future in agriculture.
This is despite the fact that the country’s unemployment rate is rising at the thick of every second while revenues from crude oil — which the government depends on for meeting its obligations to the electorates — are plummeting at an alarming rate.
Every year, universities in the country churn out thousands of graduates into the society but employment opportunities are hard to come by.
To address the situation, several youths in Nigeria are taking the gauntlet to provide job opportunities for the country’s teeming youths.
Enter Lucy Chioma Aniagolu.
When she graduated from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) in 2018, her goal was simple: to shrink the country’s towering unemployment statistics by educating the youths about untapped potentials in agriculture, using technological innovations.
This made her establish AGRODEMY — an online farm school. Lucy’s initiative has since continued to pull the strings having trained over 5,000 youths on various opportunities in agriculture.
Lucy is an indegene of Ezeagu Local Government Area of Enugu State with a degree in zoology and environmental biology. For over three years, she has developed a keen interest in leadership, entrepreneurship and agriculture and has served in various levels even as a student. Her job experience began when she was a two-time recipient of her alma-mata vacation job programme in 2017 and 2018 respectively. She also became the first female intern at the southeast zonal biotechnology center where she sharpened and improved her skills in research and agriculture which led to the discovery of her own company, Agrodemy in 2018. Lucy has been a part of UNICEF through multi-life savers NGO, global SDG project 2018. She was also among the entrepreneurs selected for the British council creative enterprise programme 2019, youth recipient of the sigma pensions and junior acheivement career and entrepreneurship programme 2019.
She was among top 100 people enlisted for the US consulate academy for women entrepreneurs 2019 and top 25 young entrepreneurs at the Nigerian Canada investment summit the same year.
In this exclusive interview with CRISPNG, she talks about how her fast growing enterprise (Agrodemy) has helped reduced the surging unemployment rate in Nigeria by providing guidance and funds for intended young farmers in the country.
Tell us about yourself
My name is lucy Chioma Aniagolu, I am 22 years old and I’m a graduate of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.
I’m the founder, AGRODEMY — online farm school. I’m also a farmer, business developer, researcher, market strategist, poet and actress.
I am also an alumni of the US consulate Academy for women entrepreneurs and British Council for Creative Enterprise program.
Tell us about Agrodemy
Agrodemy; coined from two words, Agriculture and Academy. It is a learning, information and advertising platform for agric business.
It is a platform built to:
Help existing agric business owners increase sales and brand awareness.
Help individuals increase their interest in agric business through idea analysis and trainings.
What brought about the idea of establishing Agrodemy and how many subscribers or students do you have on the site and how many have been certified so far?
Back then in 2016 after venturing into small scale fish farming and eventually interning with a research institute, I realized a lot of opportunities available within the agricultural sector that were highly untapped.
I saw a need to help youths get informed about this ideas and it’s implementation blue prints .
Alongside, having seen a whole lot of wrong information about Agricultural business, I took it up to help agric business owners monetize their knowledge and experience through digital contents and so far the journey have been amazing and impactful.
Agrodemy have trained over 5000 youths on various digital platforms and have certified a good number of them, but over all we have had students who built ideas with us, get funding and started a profitable business.
What are some of the courses offered on the site and their durations?
There are various courses on our platform. We have Agro marketing 101 and its duration is five days. There’s Agro sales school with a duration of seven days.
Content creation class for experts and the duration is 2 weeks and we have a whole lot of free classes.
Who should enroll at agrodemy, an agricultural expert or a bigginer and how much does it cost to enrol?
The people who should enroll on agrodemy are:
- Experts in Agric business looking to create a source of income;
- Agricr related entrepreneurs looking to increase sales
- Andy youths who seek to start off a business in the agricultural sector and need mentorship.
Averagely, our courses range from ₦2000 upwards and our ebooks from ₦500
There have been calls for diversification of the Nigerian economy, do you think the agricultural sector will fill the gap of Nigeria’s economic degradation?
Yes. The Agricultural sector is the mother of all sectors and hence I would always say it is highly untapped.
The sector has the capacity to fill the gap but a whole lot of awareness needs to be done to educate people on opportunities available as well as demand statistics.
That way, people begin to see ways of making their environment an enabling one in the sector.
What do you make of youths apathy about the said sector?
Youths are attracted by testimonies, hence if more testimonies are channeled to them the improvement would be massive.