I am FARMER Samson Ogbole – I believe food production should not be seasonal because hunger is not; and that the process/product of food production must be healthy for the farmer, the consumer and the environment. Our mantra is – if food is a right, hunger is a crime. I am a tech enabler for agriculture practicing aquiculture (soilless farming – hydroponics and aquaponics).
I am the Team Lead for Eupepsia Place Limited (Soilless Farm lab) – where we use technology as an enabler for Agriculture. We grow plants without the use of soil, growing plants in the air and AI based irrigation systems for proper plant monitoring for optimum yield and predictability of food production. Agriculture for me is more than just food production (zero hunger), it is the foundation for sustainable development, job creation (no poverty), healthy living as well as national development. I believe agriculture must adopt the business mindset, technology, automation, precision, data and be climate smart. To this end, I have devoted my time and resources to building modern farms, exploring the latest technologies for agriculture, sharing and training others to adopt “the modern agriculture” to ensure together we can use agriculture as a tool to build the nation we so desire.
I have a B.Sc. Biochemistry Igbinedion University; M. Sc. Biochemistry, Ibadan; Biochemistry PhD candidate, Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta; Others: Disruptive strategy from Harvard Business School, Boston USA, Biotechnology from Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Introduction to Food and Nutrition, Stanford University; Introduction to population health from The University of Manchester, Greening the Economy from Lund University Sweden, Sustainable Agriculture for year 2050 from Wageningen, Agro-ecology and Sustainable Agriculture from The University of Western Australia, Public Health from University at Albany and a student of Machine learning and Artificial Intelligence at University of Austin Texas.
I am also (Member Royal Court), Ooni of Ife Kingdom and an awardees of Royal African Awards – a recognition of top 100 young Nigerians doing great things 2021, he is a two time TEDx speaker and a one-time TED speaker, I was recognized amongst the top 7 innovators in Africa in the year 2018 by CNN Africa, recognized by EFCC as one of the young and legitimate innovative mind in the year 2018, recognized as one of the top 100 global leaders combining profit and purpose to help achieve the UN SDGs in 2019 by Meaningful Business – MB100, Soilless Farmer of the Year 2019, the winner Future Agro Challenge 2020, and featured in the documentary – “Swallow – food security in Nigeria’s changing climate”.
I have been featured on CNN’s African Voices, BBC, BBC Yoruba, Reuters TV, DW, Channels TV etc.
What were the biggest initial hurdles and how did you overcome them?
Starting of as a farmer practicing aquiculture, the biggest hurdle was the dream and the pathway seemed unrealistic to almost every listener considering land was not seen as scare in Nigeria, wanting to grow plants without soil was seen as outrageous, not sustainable, not needed and for some a taboo – going against culture, tradition and religion. Free seminars, opportunities to speak in conferences, use of social media and the reality of climate change, impact of COVID-19 has helped to show why an alternative is needed.
What books are you currently reading?
The book I am always reading is the Bible as all my other books are judged based on the principle there in – along with this I am reading 9 rules of humans in the age of AI, Tribe of mentors and making brilliant work.
What do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first got started?
Structure and strategy are more important than ideas and dreams – hence I am taking time to build structures.
What advice would you give to an upcoming youth or talents locally and internationally?
For someone wanting to start, stay true to the process of whatever you want to do, don’t be about platforms but about the process. If the process is the – in time the result will align but if the result is right and the process is wrong, eventually the result will go wrong. I will end with an analogy – look at a baby, look at an adult: there are no organs or systems in the child that are not present in the adult and vice versa, the only difference is time – with time the child will become an adult. Same way as someone starting small, study the big organizations, understand the process and structures, replicate it and with time your small company will become big but if those same elements are absent then with time the small company will become extinct.