…if given a mandate, I will serve diligently
OLUDANIELs AND BIDEMI WILLIAMS
Odetola Saheed Temitope an indigene of Ogun State from Ifo Local Government Area, was born in the capital city of Oyo State, Ibadan, after eleven years moved to Lagos, a graduate of Federal College of Fisheries And Marine Technology, personal assistant to Regional Director of World Aquaculture Society, West Africa on Fishery Student Affairs, an African Food Survival Ambassador.
Temitope Odetola Saheed also known as Chimeremeze by friends from South Eastern Nigeria, the MD/CEO of TTS Integrated Farms Nigeria Limited is little above 3 decades. His products are on the streets of UK, US, Canada and Dubai.
He has vision to use fishery to turn youth away from hooliganism and other socio vices.
Can you tell us benefits of fish and fishery?
Fish is life, if you say you don’t eat fish, you lie, the water you drink contain fish, when you drill your borehole and submerge your pumping machine and it gives you clean water, directly or directly you have started eating fish, some fishes are lake fish. No living thing survives without water, lakes; streams can dry up easily if they lack fish.
There are different species of fishes, so fish is very important, doctors do advices aged to stop eating meat and take more of fish, fish is very important in our lives so we must eat it as much as we can.
There are lots of health benefits and economical benefits of fish that we are yet to tap into.
As an African Food Survival Ambassador, you can see the benefits of fish in my life, I started fish farming since 2011 and I have no regrets.
My fish exploits flew me to Abuja, I’ve featured on many TV programs to talk about fish, STV came to my farm to interview me, I’ve granted interviews on newspapers and magazines.
My aquaculture position has made me to be close to the office of Vice President of Nigeria, Prof Yemi Osibanjo, people of Guinea, Conakry, Liberia, Zambia soon we are moving to Sierra leone and Egypt.
Have you gotten awards to your credit?
Yes I have, I was recommended by my mentor, Dr. Bola Adekoya for African Food Survival Ambassador Awards of which after scrutiny I meet their criteria.
How helpful as AfDB been to agric in Africa?
Since Akinwumi Adesina emerged has the man directing the affairs of African Development Bank (AfDB), he has been championing the cause for Africans to be food sufficient, fast track youths engagement in agriculture to dissuade them from seeking greener pasture in Europe, with all the challenges he encountered he was given another term to serve as the helms man of AfDB that shows he knows his onion.
With Adesina on the top seat at AfDB how easy was it for Nigerian farmers to export their goods?
He brought some technical experts from the United State of America to train farmers on the do(s) and don’t(s) of products to be exported and how to go about it.
I personally, was exposed to so many dark areas concerning exportation of farm produce.
Has the bank be encouraging Nigeria farmers with soft loans?
During Mallam Sanusi Lamido tenure as the CBN governor he set aside 7-digit agric loan about N7bn, Bank of Industry and Bank of Agriculture where the coordinating bodies and a lot of credible farmers benefited.
The 14% interest on the loan was what put me off, there was also an oil and gas company that was into Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) offering loans to youths with 14% interest with lighter requirements which was not too discouraging, but loans to enhance agricultural produce are not suppose to be on the same interest rate as others, if they had really wanted to help? Their interest rate is not supposed to be more than 5%, because farming is not Bean cake and bread business.
Have you benefited loan from any corporate bodies?
No, I’ve only benefited training from Lagos State Ministry of Agriculture and Federal, including members of my group too.
Do you know if those farmers that collected loans defaulted or pay back?
During ARAGA 2017, representatives of Bank of Agriculture made a lot of confrontation accusing some farmers of their failure to pay back loans, and she vehemently said their failure will deprive other farmers from accessing loans in the future.
Are you regularly paying your tax on your company’s activities?
We were directed to register our companies in order to be eligible for loan assessment, so a lot of us did that through Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), though I’ve not collected loan from State or Federal but my tax status is intact.
As a fish farmer how many fingerlings can someone start with?
Let me say this, in the interest of young entrepreneurs who want to start aquaculture, you really don’t need huge amount to start the business, you could start with as little as N50,000 for hatchery and N15,000 for processing.
While I was with my uncle, with the aid of the training that I’ve under gone, I was able to do fish hatchery; injecting fish and fish processing while my uncle was only into grow-out, so I told him about hatchery, he wasn’t interested, as a practical person, I went to another farmer to permit me to do hatchery and he did.
When I left my uncle’s farm I started off with fish processing, whereby I bought live fishes worth N10,000 and gave N2,000 to a fish processing outfit to process it, I bought nylon for packaging, I spent roughly N15,000 and my fishes were ready to hit the market, neatly sealed.
A big thank you goes to Madam Weeks that took interest in me because of my passion for fishery, at Abule Egba, she has an oven that was made for her from Institute of Oceanography mainly for fish processing, she allowed me the usage of her fish processing oven for free, while I was collecting money from clients for processing. I did that for four years before I left for greater challenges.
How old is your fish farm business?
I started 2014…6 years now.
After 1970, Nigeria deviated from agricultural activities due to oil boom, back then youth were interested in white colar job.
How do you think government can encourage youths to go into agriculture?
The government need to encourage the youth and enlighten them to see the huge prospect in agriculture, finance is also needed, the amount of money that African government budget for agriculture must be increased here in Nigeria. I will urge the government to implore the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practice Commission (ICPC) to be a watchdog for money budgeted for agriculture both state and federal to ensure the money gets to the grass root judiciously, by so doing those group of looters will be checkmated and youth that have the energy and strength will be motivated to farm.
Government either Local; state or federal should organise youth empowerment program that will encompass training to the point of startup capital, not organising training while some individuals will smile to bank from youths hard-earn training fees and they will remain a lay about due to lack of startup capital after the training.
There are different stages of empowerment, for me I also need empowerment to meet up my demands locally and internationally.
The market is large, Africans in diaspora are requesting for Vegetable oil, Red oil, Crayfish etc of which I’ve got the network to export but I’ve got no resources to meet up their demands.
Do you have political ambition?
As a leader in leadership position, I am the president of Youth in Agriculture, South-West, as a leader you will be encouraged and be challenged by things around you, due to fraudulent acts of some leaders, if I’m chosen to serve, I will do it diligently.
In a nutshell describe who Saheed Odetola Temitope is?
I so much believe in myself, whatever goal I set for myself, I ensure I achieve it, I am a hard working young man, no matter how hard the stormy weather is, with perseverance l sail through, honesty is my watchword, I’m discipline and neat, I don’t constitute nuisance, I mind what I do within and outside of my community.
In 10 years, where will TTS Integrated Farms be?
‘Next Level’ for me is to get a bigger place from where I am now, and I will put up my processing plant and lab, I have plans to go into grain farming, maize precisely, I have contacts of some meaningful Nigerian’s in the north to assist me with some plots of land even in Lagos too, Just like Gov. Makinde of Oyo State has many workers working for him in his company, I want to be an employer of labour too with a lot of staff on my payroll.
Also, I have plans to visit few African countries to impact the knowledge of aquaculture and preach how we Africans can be food sufficient and export excess.
The smallest prank you ever gone through?
I was a stubborn chap, that does what my parents said I shouldn’t do, I remembered a boy that insulted me and he is an Igbira boy so I insulted him by saying: “You Igbira that eats dog and there was this Igbira man in my Neighbourhood, coincidentally he was passing by, he heard me and concluded that I was abusing him so he came to me and said: ‘You are abusing Igbira? I’ll arrest you! Today I’m taking you to the police station!,’ as he advances towards my direction with the intention of dragging me to the station, I screamed and ran, I was shouting: ‘My mummy! Mummy!, I got home gasping for breath, because back then, we children were scared of arrest.(General laughter)
How do you relax?
(Laughter), I don’t take alcohol, I like eating fish a lot, be it cooked; fried; pepper soup or barbeque with yogurt it relaxes my nerves.
What kind of songs pleases you?
Any song that passes good message.
Your favourite artist?
Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, 9Ice and a couple of them, that has good lyrics.
Any message to Nigerians, home and diaspora?
Not really, I just needed to appreciate all those that have contributed positively to my upward movement in life, starting from my mother, Mrs M.J.O Odetola, Alhaji Abiodun Agbomabiwon, my uncle where I started from, he diverted me from studying law, he re-enrolled me for WAEC as a science student and paid for my extra moral classes of science subjects and made me a fish scientist, I am appreciative to Barrister Kenneth Onyema, who gave me a link that made me a millionaire, Maplewood, my present place where I train fishes was given to me by Mr and Mrs Adenike Oluwaseyi Agu, God bless them, I doff my hat to Chief Ojo in Osborne, I’m grateful for my first apperance on Tv, Mrs Oluwafunmilola Akinsanya, former Director of Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development a supportive god mother, I thank you Mr Remi Ahmed president Tilapia Aquaculture Society of Nigeria and Mr Nurudeen Tiamiyu, Barrister Taiwo Junaid, kudos to your exemplary support of me plus a lot of them too numerous to mention. I thank you all.