Hunger, Starvation Confronting Downtrodden Motivates My Passion For Agriculture In Nigeria
- Mary Brakner
There can never be a doubting of the fact that this woman of substance Mary Brakner, is very attractively beautiful and radiant. She’s not only well -created by Almighty God but also endowed with brilliance.
Brakner, a Nigerian- born, Sweden -based Nigerian businesswoman is an international businesswoman and agricultural entrepreneur with other business interests in many European countries and Nigeria.
Her interests cover many business areas such as agriculture, fashion, event planning and export of finished agricultural products. She is the C.E.O, African Food House, Goteborg, Sweden, C.E.O, Yeyeoge Fashion Services, Sweden, former President, Nigerian Family Association, Goteborg City, Sweden and President, Matajet Global Resources Nigeria Limited.
This is an indigenous Nigerian company whose business activities cover Agriculture and agro-allied products exhibition and export. In this interview, Mary Brakner bares her mind on some of the challenges confronting agriculture in Nigeria and her contributions to the growth and development of the sector in the country. She also reveals her desire and her commitment to providing added value, improving and promoting agricultural products in both local and international markets..
Can we meet you?
My name is Mary Brakner, I was born in part of Yorubaland, Nigeria. I have been living in Europe for the past 25 years and currently based in Sweden. I am an event promoter and a farmer. It is my belief that everyone, young or old must fulfilled the basic needs of life. These basic needs, especially food must be met to live a dignified life. I also know that, from experience, lack or inadequate food is the resultant effect of poverty which ultimately results in unfulfilled life and living. So, as the leader and President of Matajet Agric Trade in Sweden and Nigeria, I know it is a kind of divine responsibility for me to impact the lives of the people especially, the less privileged.
What is your specific area of vocation and specialization?
As I have said earlier, I am first and foremost, a farmer, though I engaged in other vocations but agriculture, particularly crops production and animal husbandry are my areas of interest.
What is your assessment of agricultural sector in Nigeria?
In the early 60’s and 70’s, agriculture, aside from being the major source of growing food for local consumption, it was also a major source of foreign exchange, contributing more that 70% to the country’s Gross Domestic Products, GDP. With the discovery of crude oil in the 70’s in Nigeria, agriculture was abandoned by the people with government playing lip service to the development of the sector. One of the challenges confronting Nigeria today and indeed, the entire world is food scarcity. This has given rise to the wide-spread starvation and poverty. Today, there is wide-spread hunger, starvation, poverty and unemployment in the land. The need to contribute my quota to agricultural development to assuage the above mentioned problems are the driving force behind the establishment of Matajet Global Resources Nigeria Limited, a subsidiary of Matajet International Agric Trade, Sweden. I therefore consider our intervention, first and foremost as service to humanity and answering the clarion call by the Nigerian government on Nigerians in the diaspora to contribute their quota to country’s economic development. Through personal funding and contributions from our partners in Nigeria and beyond, we have within the short time of our existence organized agricultural products exhibitions in Nigeria to showcase the country’s agricultural products, provide added value, promote and expand local and international markets for Nigerian and African agricultural products.
At what time and why did you decide to venture into Agriculture in Nigeria and what motivates and drives your passion?
What motivates and drives my passion for agriculture is the recognition of the challenges posed by insufficient food such as hunger, starvation and poverty confronting the down trodden in the Nigerian society and the need to salvage the situation. I therefore decided to lead and co-ordinate a group of people who can work with me to tackle these challenges. It is an irony of life to see that with the availability of large expanse of uncultivated land, favourable weather condition, youthful, energetic population, Nigeria and indeed the African continent is currently faced with acute food shortage and hunger. It is sad that Nigeria cannot feed itself in spite of its huge potentials in human and capital resources.
To me, this is unacceptable and the narrative must changed. There must be missing links and the challenge, therefore, for me and my partners it’s to find and fix the missing links.
And what are these missing links?
Thank you very much for the question, one of the fundamental missing links or challenges confronting the development of agriculture in Nigeria is largely insufficient funding, others are lack of modern technology, improved seeding and scientific approach to driving agricultural business and make it attractive and profitable to the teeming youth in Nigeria. These are highly sophisticated and expensive equipments that are not affordable to average Nigerian farmers who have engaged in subsistence farming all their lives. Part of the missing links also include inadequate investment, lack of agricultural infrastructure such as irrigation systems, lack of modern storage facilities, bad roads across various farm settlements in rural communities and lack of efficient transport systems.
As a major player in the agric-business, what is the corporate vision of your brand, Matajet Global Resources Nigeria Limited?
Matajet International Agric Trade, Sweden is the parent body of Matajet Global Resources Nigeria Limited. The company is established essentially for the production and sales of food crops within Nigeria and in the international market. Our primary focus is to organised and co-ordinate existing local farmers, establish partnership and business relationship with local and foreign investors, cultivate large and expansive farmlands in Nigeria to grow various food products, animal husbandry and other allied products for local sales export to African and European countries. Our aim, primarily is to through our farming activities encouraged the Nigerian youth and graduates to see farming as a vocation and lucrative and rewarding business venture. We also have it as part of our desires to be the biggest food basket in Nigeria and Africa, provide more impetus across agricultural value chain, to use agriculture as means of empowering men and women through the creation of employment opportunities to our teeming youth and stamp out poverty and starvation from our society. We have succeeded in assembling a group of committed and dedicated staff to help drive our vision. With access to large farmland, availability of funds from our partners and prospective local and foreign investors and with the envisaged support from the Nigerian government and it’s agencies. We are set to professionalize farming and take agriculture in Nigeria and Africa to the next level. At Matajet, we have succeeded to assemble a committed and dedicated team of professionals to drive our corporate vision and objectives.
Funding, storage and appropriate pricing of agricultural products are some of the challenges facing agricultural development in Nigeria. how do you hope to navigate through these challenges?
A: We have always known these challenges and we have designed a multi-faceted stakeholder approach to tackling them. As a corporate establishment, part of our strategies is to source for both local and foreign investors and stakeholders who will be brought on board to drive the vision by contributing their expertise, funds and technical capabilities towards meeting and surpassing our corporate target. We have also been talking to many local and foreign investors who have shown interest in our brand. We are equally prepared to engage local existing farmers and private sector, seeking the support and collaboration of relevant government agencies, agric cooperative societies, Bank of Agriculture, Nigerian Chambers of Commerce and Industry across Africa and Europe, the Nigeria Export Promotion Council, N.E.P.C and other critical stakeholders across the agricultural value chain for adequate financing, favourable land tenure agreement, infrastructure and technological development. To drive our vision and prove to the world that we meant business, Matajet Global Resources Nigeria Limited in November, 2022 organized agricultural products exhibition at Oyo State Secretariat, Ibadan. The Agric Exhibition was packaged to provide an avenue for Nigerian farmers, agric entrepreneur and other stakeholders in the sector for interaction, collaboration and exchange of ideas and strategies to promote and grow their businesses. The exhibition also provides local and international markets for farmers to showcase and sell their farm products. As an annual event, the programme is also used to assess and monitor our activities in Nigeria, celebrate our modest successes, create public awareness, attract more investment opportunities and also to encourage and reward our high performing staff for higher dedication.
What’s your message to Nigerians, especially the farmers?
I will love to use this medium to salute the entrepreneurial spirit, the courage and drive of Nigerians in the diaspora, who have, in spite of the challenges, invested their hard-earned money in the various sectors of the Nigerian economy, particularly, agriculture. I will also like to appeal to other Nigerians that have not done so to please come home and contribute their quota to nation’s economic development. In the same token, I will like to plead with our people at home, those that are blessed with the means, to support and encourage, through appreciable investment, the entrepreneurial efforts of the patriotic Nigerians, who have come home to invest in the various sectors of the country’s economy. I am very positive that through collaborative efforts, sincerity and strong commitment, we all, can, in a short time, liberate our people from the yoke of hunger, starvation and poverty.
Contact Mary Brakner,President, C.E.O, Matajet Global Resources Nigeria Limited on Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com