Creating wealth and eradicating poverty require the painstaking building of new entrepreneurs through cooperatives. The President, Project Fix Nigeria, Mr. Olusegun Kowontan, is leading a movement in this direction. Daniel Essiet reports.
According to development experts, entrepreneurs and business enterprises create wealth, not government; government only provides the enabling environment for the private sector to thrive and create wealth.
The President, Project Fix Nigeria, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Mr. Olusegun Kowontan, believes that when this happens, it will be easier to lift people out of poverty through wealth creation cooperatives.
He noted that by spreading risk and pooling resources, co-operatives will offer people with little individual wealth a way to start their own businesses and build assets.
To this end, he said Project Fix Nigeria has launched a cooperative for Nigerians who believe in eradicating poverty and hunger. He said people can participate either as partner farmers or absentee farmers.
Olusegun explained that the goal of the initiative is two-fold: to fulfill the protein requirements of the people at a low cost and to create livelihood opportunities for farmers and retirees.
According to him, there is a real and urgent need for farmers and entrepreneurs to gain access to alternative livelihoods given the long gestation periods for arable crops and fruit trees to yield fruits or become harvestable, compared to fish farming, for instance, that takes a shorter time.
Olusegun said his organisation is promoting reshwater fish culture and cage culture that will explore freshwater and brackish water bodies in Lagos State for fish farming.
The project, he said, also focuses on integrated farming utilising the resources of public and private ponds and backwaters.
The system, according to him, is highly profitable and the yield is about three times more, with relatively low costs compared to land based fish farming.
While cooperative farming is desirable for full scale fish cage farming, he said it requires large capital. And to overcome this challenge, he said his organisation is opening an opportunity for small investors to participate in the project.
He explained that the biggest challenge for fish farmers is adequate water and this will not be a problem for cage culture.
He said entrepreneurs have to be empowered if the government is to make a head at reducing poverty.
This is because they introduce innovations and business ventures that generate profits and spur investment and growth.