[Interview] Utibe Uko, Founder, UniQuest Farms & Innovations Centre, Nigeria
Utibe Uko has his mind and eyes set on luring more youth into farming through his enterprise UniQuest Farms & Innovations Centre that besides working in vegetable cultivation, is partnering with young people in Nigeria through Agribusiness Cooperative Development.
He believes Africa’s food security future is pegged on having the youth actively involved in agribusiness. He talked to Africa Business Communities.
Tell us about UniQuest Farms.
UniQuest Farms & Innovations Centre specializes in vegetables cultivation, agribusiness coaching, mentoring and consultancy, agvocacy, Agriculture advocacy, and youths in Agribusiness Cooperative Development.
Where is the company located?
We are in Nigeria at Akwa Ibom, Eket, Suite 405 Editel Hotels, Enen Ekpene Close, Eket.
When was it founded and by who?
It was founded in 2015 by me but it now has shareholders and partners.
How is the company funded?
The company is funded from the profits we make from our farm produce, consulting engagements and other professional services and grants.
What are your company’s Unique Selling Points?
One of our USPs is the promotion of youth involvement in agribusiness, production of quality nutritious organic vegetables for schools and hotels.
How has the market responded to your products?
The market response with regards our products and services is at an average level at the moment. But with what we have, we are growing with it and extending our tentacles to gain more customers.
Who are your clients?
Some of our major clients are hotels, roadside grocery stores and open market retailers.
What are the ambitions of the company?
At the moment we are looking at having some of our products like the spiced peppers, both ginger and garlic, in shops across Nigeria.
What does your company need to grow and prosper?
We need technical support in the area of processing and packaging, funds for expansion and links to markets within the African continent.
What is the latest news?
Our lead partner Utibe N UKO recently emerged as one of the top twenty out of a pool of 157 youths in Africa in a challenge organized by the African Agribusiness Incubators Network (AAIN) to promote Agribusiness incubation in Africa. With this, new opportunities are opening up for us to expand our work.