Q&A: Eneyi Oshi is Transforming Agriculture through Innovative Infrastructure and Digitization

The enthusiastic young entrepreneur at the intersection of agriculture and technology (Agri-Tech) whose mission is to increase food security by providing equal market access to both farmers and consumers.

By Lebene Mawutor

In 2021, Eneyi Oshi was selected as one of the recipients of the Anzisha Prize, an annual fellowship that gives mentorship and financial assistance to entrepreneurs between the ages of 18 and 22. Eneyi is a farmer and agricultural economist who co-founded Maatalous Nasah and is the Team Lead at Farmisphere Nigeria. Anzisha Prize spoke with Eneyi about how she got started in AgriTech and the hurdles she has experienced as a woman in agriculture on the African continent.

So, as a child, did you have an interest in agriculture and what kind sparked your interest in this industry?

I grew up in a farming community and had often visited the farm. I came across a number of challenges that captivated my curiosity. That is why I enrolled in a five-year degree program in agricultural economics. After graduating, I began to experiment with many of the things I had learned in school, first with a chicken farm and then moving on to catfish production. My passion in research and development brought me here. In 2020, I co-founded my agribusiness, Maatalous Nasah, and after experimenting with various methods, I devised a food production system based on a pyramid structure.

 So can you tell us about Farmisphere and Maatalous Nasah? How do you build it, and how you’re operating it right now?

So with Maatalous Nasah, we fish chickens for meat and eggs, and we also have an eCommerce application called Farmisphere. As a result, urban residents may buy items from the convenience of their own homes or subscribe to our weekly food delivery services. We realise that many urban inhabitants desire to practice farming in their backyard; they want to have something resembling a mini-farm where they may produce their food. As a result, we devised a technology that allows them to operate mini-farms. We build this system in your backyard in a minimal amount of time. So you can produce chicken, catfish, and veggies all in the same place.

How did you come up with the digitalization aspect and integrate it with agriculture?

Markets were shuttered, schools were closed, and travel was limited during the peak of the COVID-19 epidemic. We had birds on the farm that kept laying eggs anyway; we had animals that needed to be sold, or else our production costs would continue to rise because we couldn’t stop feeding them, or they’d die. As a result, we needed to find a means to distribute these items outside of our usual marketing channels. So we launched WhatsApp, and we began adding photographs to our WhatsApp status for people to order while we looked for a strategy to deliver. After a few weeks of utilising WhatsApp and Instagram, we constructed an eCommerce app to allow more people to locate and place orders while working around doorstep delivery. This is how farmisphere came to be. We also discovered that other farmers in our neighbourhood were experiencing the same problem and were technologically incapacitated. As a result, we began selling their items as well.

 What has been your experience being a woman in agriculture operating your business in Nigeria?

It’s been fantastic, in my opinion. It’s given me an advantage because I concentrated on agriculture throughout my undergraduate studies. It is a tremendous field to study, although agriculture is more practical than theoretical. So many students are assigned to the academic pattern school and do not want to be linked with it, but being a female and being able to practice it and be happy to market it to the rest of the world has benefited me. So, aside from the fact that I’m in this field, the fact that I studied it and am passionate about it always distinguishes me.

 What are the most important things you’ve learnt as an entrepreneur and owner of an agricultural business?

So far, the most important thing I’ve learned is that agriculture necessitates patience. It has increased my appreciation for the process in general. That includes efficient lesson planning, patience, and the ability to show up every day, especially when working with cattle. It is not a one-time investment. You must work on it every day. Because one error might wreck your entire farm and investment, you must exercise caution.

How would you like to inspire other women to pursue careers in agriculture?

Because of the nature of the profession, it is now customary to be everywhere; I recommend that you select one area and commit to seeing it expand. Just concentrate on one subject and strive to develop it. So don’t rush or attempt to accomplish too much at once.

In what ways do you aspire to influence people’s lives and impact the agriculture business through your work?

I want to simplify agriculture, particularly cattle farming, to allow more fluid mobility. Agriculture in Nigeria is now of a low standard. And many individuals are hesitant to participate because of all of the risks involved. As a result, I’m concentrating on leveraging technology to simplify operations, making it more appealing and motivating for us to participate.

What aspect of working in agriculture gives you the greatest joy and fulfilment?

I recognize that no one can survive in our world without food. It helps me understand how important my position is in one of the most crucial industries. My work is essential because there is no food or future without farmers.

With the advancement of technology in various fields over the last several years, holes in the market have been filled. The significance of food security cannot be overstated; after all, we all require it to exist. Eneyi Oshi is succeeding in agriculture because she has researched and understood that having an eCommerce application that farmers and customers can utilise would allow everyone to participate.