From GrassCutter to Grace: Why Prince Arinze Onebunne Champions Agriculture.
Inspiring Entrepreneurship and Youth Employment in Africa …that’s our mission statement and if this story doesn’t cut it, I don’t know what does.
Fifteen  odd years ago, Prince Arinze Onebunne was seeking a means of livelihood. Today, he is as an acclaimed Animal husbandry expert, Trainer , Consultant and Advocate for Agriculture.
He is also the Founder of one of Nigeria’s biggest farms- Jovana Farms which has been ranked amongst the top ten farms in Nigeria by The Leadership, closely trailing farms owned by the former President of the country, Olusegun Obasanjo.
What made the difference? Farming, specifically Grasscutter farming. For the unschooled eye, Grasscutters may resemble giant rats, but they are not. Grasscutter meat is healthy, lean, white meat and can apparently be bred in commercial proportions.
As soon as he discovered that it was possible to make a living off rearing Grasscutters, Prince made his life changing journey to Gabon to acquire his starter batch, and he has never looked back.
A cousin of mine once dabbled into poultry farming -buying day old chicks and attempting to grow them to maturity. I say attempting because I never saw one that did.
They died in their droves, fell sick, had to be spoon-fed medicine and so on and so forth. I don’t know if Grasscutters are as fragile as chicks but whatever they were, Prince Arinze made it his business to know, overcome and prosper.
In an interview with the Vanguard, he stated;
“Grasscutter farming does not require millions of naira before you cultivate it. With N50,000 anybody can start it. All you need is some practical trainings on how to handle them and you start reaping it. Most importantly I can’t suffer unemployment.”
He also spilled a trade secret:
“It is advisable to buy them at tender age like four months old, that is the breeding stock stage. If you buy them and rear for four months, they will start having babies at eight months and you start making profit. It is more economical because you do not buy food for them unlike you do in fish, poultry and Pig farming etc, because they feed on grass. One female Grasscutter can give birth to five or eight litters (babies) at a period.”
Prince Arinze has since widened his net and gained expertise in animal husbandry with the inclusion of rabbits, quails, antelopes, guinea-pig and fish breeding at his Jovana farms. Through tried and tested methods, he has also developed a modus for identifying the right species, the right wards, grouping them according to their species and producing healthy offspring.
Buoyed by his success, Prince Arinze is a staunch advocate of diversifying the Nigerian economy and focusing on the Agricultural sector. He also urges undergraduate and young unemployed people to take their chances with rearing Grasscutters as it is the cheapest livestock to rear.
If you think this successful farmer is resting on his oars, think again. Prince Arinze has continued to research on modern animal production methods, conduct feasibility studies and has offered practical assistance to like-minded individuals who are interested in learning about Animal farming.
He has also realised the importance of social media in these times and his company maintains an online presence. Even farmers have been bitten by the techie bug.
Is this a clarion call for someone out there? Does this resonate with you?
Then my job here is done.
Follow us on Twitter: @Konnect_Africa
August 18th, 2015