Talatu Gomam is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Gomamty Global Services Ltd, a young agro-business firm in Jos, Plateau State. In this interview by KANGMWA GOFWEN she talks about what made her abandon International Relations after getting a Masters degree in that field.
How do you feel after setting up your rice mill?
I’ve always dreamt of having my own rice mill. This is my fifth year in rice business and I’ve spent so much taking my rice production to other rice factories, so I’ve always looked forward to the day I’ll set up my own factory. The night those machines arrived in Jos, I was so excited, it felt like I won a jackpot. Little did I know that the difficulty that comes with the installation processes will take back the joy I felt. After a month of ups and downs, the machines were finally installed and tested; the Gomamty Premium Rice Milling Factory was officially opened in December.
The joy this time was totally different, I felt fulfilled for once in my life and I felt like a part of me that was missing was found. That feeling can’t be explained, it’s something I’ll cherish for the rest of my life.
After getting a degree and masters in History and International Studies and International Affairs and Strategic Studies respectively, why are you not working in that field?
After getting my masters I look around to see if I can get a job in my field at places like UN, ECOWAS, Embassies, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the likes but there was none, fortunately for me, I saw that there was job opportunity somewhere else which is the agricultural sector and I decided to grab that opportunity. I’m glad I did because I don’t know if I would have made this much if I was working in my field. I’m that kind of person that loves productivity, I always wants people to feel my impact, so venturing into agro- business was the best option for me. Instead of looking for job, I decided to create a job for myself and others because I have over 10 employees apart from other’s working for me on contract.
What motivated you to go into agriculture?
What motivated me to go into agro-business were the broad opportunities in that sector, everything that concerns agriculture is lucrative. When I went for my Youth Service in Rivers State in 2015, I saw how very expensive foodstuffs are in that part of the country compared to Jos where I come from, so I decided to utilise that opportunity and venture into the business, to meet the needs of the consumers and to also make money for myself. Since then, I kept exploring other places and other agro products
How easy do you find the job of a middle woman in the market?
It’s quite easy, because most times, I deal with the farmers directly. Because I’m getting it from the farmers, it makes it easy for me to fix the price when I’m done processing.
Being in the food supply chain, do you foresee food scarcity as some predict and how can it be avoided?
I foresee the possibility of food scarcity too if the right thing is not done or put in place.
The continued conflicts, the armed banditry, kidnapping, and high inflation has affected farmers nationwide, this has reduced the productivity of the agricultural sector. The widespread flooding in the 2022 raining season damaged farmlands, which diminished harvest and increased the risk of food insecurity in the country.
Food scarcity can only be avoided if the government invests heavily in agriculture. The farmers should be provided with incentives that would enable them to cultivate their farms all-round the year to avert the possibility of food scarcity. And the government should also ensure price control in the market.
Agriculture is a major contributor to the country’s economy; do you think the government is handling the sector well enough to make it thrive?
Agriculture remains the mainstay of any nation. Everyone needs food to survive just as industries depend on agriculture to produce. The agricultural sector had relatively experienced some level of growth under this administration in spite of the challenges faced by Nigerian farmers. The disbursement of loans/grants to farmers has aid in promoting agricultural sustainability in the country. Some policies implemented by President Buhari e.g. the border closure has pave market way for most Nigerian made products especially Rice.
But again, a lot needs to be done by the government, because we are yet to realise the full potential in agriculture.
As a young entrepreneur, how do you stay focused on your business with the distractions that young people have around?
If you know where you’re coming from, you don’t easily succumb to distractions. I know where I’m coming from, I know how hard I worked to get to this point so anytime a distraction is likely to come, I remind myself of where I come from. I have mentors I look up to; their lives and achievements help me remain focused.
Your kind of business keeps you in the market all the time, how do you make out time for yourself and the things you love?
Seriously it hasn’t been easy, nothing good comes easy and big things come with sacrifice. I had to sacrifice a lot of things especially my social life to focus and build my company. As a young girl under 30, I should be ‘balling’ or enjoying myself but, I can’t remember the last time I hung out with friends, I don’t even have time to wear makeup. I barely have time to watch movies because I always come back home completely exhausted. You know I’m not just into rice production; I’m also into other production like sweet potatoes flour, yam flour, rice flour etc. I’m also into farming and all kinds of vegetables supplies nationwide, so I don’t even have much time to rest. Right now, I’ve made my businesses the things I love to do.
What’s your take on the coming elections and how do you think it would impact your business and entrepreneurs in general?
Well we’re all looking forward to the general election, this is one of the most unpredictable elections we’re about to witness, I believe the electorate will make the right choice and every vote will count. In the meantime, I urge all Nigerians who haven’t collected their PVC to kindly visit their centres and collect their PVC.
As a young entrepreneur, I believe in good leadership, so I’ll support good candidates that will ensure working system and create an enabling environment for my business to thrive.
Do you see yourself ever going back to practice what you studied in school?
I can’t tell for now, all I’m focused on now is building a big agro-business company of international standard. I want Gomamty Global Services LTD to grow and be like Dangote in nearest future. I want to go global, so practicing what I studied is not in my plan at the moment.
What is next for Gomamty Global Services and you?
For Gomamty Global Services LTD, we’ll keep growing, we’ll try and get more machines to ease the stress of production, get local and international partnership. Venture into other agro- products, move to our permanent site and be one of the biggest employers of labour in the country. And as for me, I’m focused on building the company and building myself intellectually especially in the area of business and marketing.
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