By Gertrude Onyekachukwu-Uteh.
OGBIYE AYORUNME SIMON is the CEO of Omorovie Fish Farm located at YAGEP Fish Farm Cluster at Egbokodo-Itsekiri in Warri South Local Government Area. He got enrolled in the Delta State Government’s Youth Agricultural Entrepreneurs Programme (YAGEP) in the 2016/2017 Cycle having searched for a well-paid white-collar job for four year after graduation. As a graduate of Agricultural Extension and Management from the Delta State Polytechnic, Ozoro (2013), he was one of the best Agricultural Science graduates whose names were compiled from state-owned higher institutions and enrolled in YAGEP in fulfilment of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa’s campaign promise.
Three years after establishment, Simon’s passion for fish farming remained unwavering. He has grown his business, standing tall among his counterparts. He has diversified into fish processing, stock supplies, and offers consultancy and training services to up-coming fish farmers. He speaks on his journey so far in Fish Production.
“I was suddenly invited for interview by the Delta State Job and Wealth Creation Bureau, Asaba after four years of underemployment. This was the turning point in my life. After the compulsory completion of a three months internship/training which added another feather to my cap, I was invited to YAGEP Fish Farm Cluster at Egbokodo-Itsekiri for the allotment of two fish ponds with 2,000 post fingerlings with sufficient fish feed to grow them to table size (1kg). I was equally given ₦50, 000.00 and placed on monthly stipend of ₦15, 000.00 for six months, which make up the production cycle.
“After harvest, I was able to purchase 100ft x 50ft piece of land in that same fish farm cluster for expansion purposes with five fish ponds dug on it. Presently I have six stocked fish ponds with 6,400 fish. There was a time I had about 10,000 fishes which I sold off. I have four pumping machines and I am able to care for my family and to pay my rent when due. I also got married from the proceeds from my farm.
“I also engage in the following services- brood stock of fish from fingerlings, post-juvenile to table size (1kg); fish processing (smoking and baking); agent service; consultation and organize seminars and workshops within and outside the state.
“Despite the challenges of inadequate funds, I look forward to practising integrated agriculture. In the next 10 years, I want to be among the first 20 successful fish farmers in this country. My candid advice to my fellow STEPreneurs and YAGEPreneurs is to dream big, be committed, disciplined and be driven to succeed.”