Making Agribusiness Work: Oluwatoyin Zaka’s Experience and Participation for Impact!

May 18, 2023

Oluwatoyin Zaka, from Nigeria, recently participated in iCRA’s Facilitation and Coaching track within the course ‘Making Agribusiness Work’. Over the past four months, Oluwatoyin’s has developed skills to translate her professional expertise into more tangible impact for agrifood actors in Nigeria.  

Oluwatoyin works for Nigerian Stored Products Research Institute and trains stakeholders on business development. Her ambition is to alleviate poverty by supporting Nigerian farmers to build a stable livelihood. She has found herself grappling with frustration as her hard work failed to create the impact she aspires to. While she recognizes the pressing need for innovation in the agri-food sector, she often witnessed  innovative interventions falling short in long-term implementation. 


“Many a time l spun into action to solve my clientele’s challenge as soon as l knew their felt need or challenge. And over the years little can be recorded to have been achieved.”  


Recalling a previous project in Ijebu, Ogun state, Nigeria, Oluwatoyin described how the team sought to support farmers. The project introduced poultry and crop processing equipment. The goal was to enhance the value of their products and minimize waste. Yet, to her disappointment, the farmers remained unconvinced by these interventions. Instead, they expressed a desire for different innovations they believed would be more beneficial. 


“If l had the knowledge and skills of ‘Making Agribusiness Work’ then the story would have been better. ‘Making Agribusiness Work’ has given me better exposure, skills and experience that are yielding better results at work.”  


With her newfound skills gained in ‘Making Agribusiness Work,’ Oluwatoyin no longer rushes to implement solutions quickly. Instead, she recognizes the importance of taking time to accurately assess the needs of her stakeholders. Armed with facilitation techniques and active listening skills, she can tailor her expertise to each context, implementing lasting and impactful solutions. 

Oluwatoyin’s journey testifies to the power of strong interpersonal skills in effectively applying professional expertise. These skills, often overlooked in traditional education, play a crucial role in bridging the gap between knowledge and meaningful impact. iCRA’s course, ‘Making Agribusiness Work,’ fills this void by equipping professionals with skills necessary to thrive as agribusiness coaches and trainers. 

Are you inspired by Oluwatoyin Zaka’s story? Do recognise your own challenges in her experience? Check out iCRA’s course ‘Making Agribusiness Work’ and keep an eye out for more participants’ stories over the next few days!