In the past few weeks, we have witnessed a situation that has not only put the world at a standstill but also affected families and businesses. Many can’t afford to put food on the table as a result of the global lockdown to help contain the virus.
Agro Entrepreneur Ibenero Tobiloba Tolase is helping to alleviate the pain of many by providing them with food and giving them hope through her Teemark Food Company; where she produces and processes raw foods such as (Garri Ijebu, Yam flour and plantain flour).
With support from well meaning Nigerians she’s been able to feed over 200 families in light of the Coronavirus pandemic, as they partner with her to package foodstuff under four thousand Naira to feed each family in a bid to give hope, pending when things go back to normal.
The graduate of Pure and Applied chemistry from Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH) was inspired by her love for Agriculture and passion for food which started when She was young. Tobi loved seeing the smiles on people’s faces when they eat good quality food.
Aside from Agricuulture, Tobi is also passionate about issues that affects women and young girls, through her Girlscrib initiative , she helps sensitise women and teenage girls on the importance of menstrual health. This initiative also distributes sanitary pads to secondary school girls
She is the Creative Director of JEMBRIDALS, a bridal outfit. a one stop bridal shop for traditional wedding and asoebi and also volunteers for PROJECT SMILE, an NGO that reaches out to the orphans all over Nigeria.
She shares her inspiring story in this interview.
My childhood was fun and I am glad I had a mother is filled with wisdom and taught me all I know today, I am the eldest of two children and was trained well in all area not because I am a girl but because I would be a leader some day. One thing that was constant in our home was food to give to friends and families. My mum always told us never look the other way when people around you have nothing to eat and that lesson is what is guiding me till date.
Inspiration behind Teemarkfoods
Good food! My love for food and Agriculture inspired Teemarkfood. One of the ways I feel fulfilled is seeing people have access to quality food and which has been my mantra since I was a child.
Reception since Inception
It is a learning process, but I am grateful to God for wisdom to discern the pros and cons of the business. People have been very supportive and accepting of my initiative.
Support for Female Agropreneurs
Well, we are not there yet but times are changing we will get there eventually. We are not backing down, we will keep pushing till we are are at the front burner and recognised for our efforts as change agents.
Giving hope to those affected by the lockdown
There was a point in my life when we had nothing to eat as a family, it was a very difficult time and with that understanding, knowing that there are families out there who do not have anything to feed on but might be reluctant to ask from friends and families, the next thing I thought of was reaching out to them first.
Effect of the Lockdown and Coronavirus on Agropreneur
Honestly I would say transportation getting the food from one place to the other so people access to it easily, but we are doing our best to give hope and lighten the burden of people, we are also calling on well meaning Nigerians to help alleviate the pain of these people by partnering with us through her platform to feed more people.
Challenges of being an Agro Entrepreneur
Financial challenges: Agro Entrepreneurs not having Access to loans and enough capital to improve and increase the productivity.
Transportation: Government should help reduce charges and fees paid on farm produce that are transported from farm to urban areas
Education: sensitisation of our local farmers on technology and its advantages on agriculture is also very important because it makes the production faster and delivery to consumers quick.
Other projects and activities
I am working on a project called “Girlscrib” this is an NGO for women and teenage girls, the project will help Educate women on menstrual health and also provide sanitary pads to secondary school girls.
Being a Woman of Rubies
I believe I carry greatness within me and I am on a journey to transfer that greatness into each and everyone I come across by spreading love.
To young women who want to become Agro Entrepreneurs
I would say this first, Trust God to use you as a vessel for greatness, believe strongly in your self and lastly stay focus. When you have these three you become unstoppable.