We Gift, Nurture Oil Palm Trees For Our Subscribers At Palm Rich Estate–Assetrise Boss



Rotimi Ojamamoye is the Group Managing Director of Assetrise Limited and a trained business development strategist and consultant. He shares, in this interview with

InsideBusiness Team, that palm tree farming holds a lot to Nigeria’s economy

(cont’d from last week)

How do you manage subscribers’ trust especially nowadays that Fund managers have ripped-off many?

To succeed in Nigeria, the formula is different from succeeding elsewhere. Here you need 80 per cent of God and 20 per cent of your efforts because definitely you can’t convince a man who has been broken before to trust again. But his spirit within him can tell of people who are genuine, and give it a trial. When we launched our Oil palm oil last year, the first person to buy into that product came from Port Harcourt. He paid N10 million without seeing us or know where our office is till date. He has not been here [our Magodo office]; his product matured, and he was paid January this year. He didn’t have to come to Lagos; his details are very open and you can call to confirm from him. His N10 million matured from his palm oil product and he was paid at ease. So, trust is not demanded, trust is earned. In this digital age, it is easier for an untrustworthy organisation to destroy itself because people will find out if it was fake. You can’t dupe people and stay longer. The way we transformed innovation, genuiness and quality service delivery into a brand success has earned the trust of our subscribers. The biggest capital in our business is trust. Capital is not the money in our bank because, after our interview on a national television, we received over 400 enquiries from Nigerians, and many of them have bought into our products without seeing us. Why? Because they can feel the trust in our product; they can make their findings in this digital age and it’s easier to find you out. For us, we have earned it over time and people have trust us with their resources because we have been able to prove ourselves.

Tell us about Palm Rich Estate and its uniqueness from others on offers.

Since our existence in this business, there is no estate that we have recorded huge success in two months like the Palm Rich Estate. The uniqueness in Palm Rich Estate is that when you subscribe but not ready to build immediately, we can plant oil palm on it and nurture it for you at no further cost. Some of us who are from a farmer’s family know that oil palm plantation brings good money, and so we introduced it to add value to the estate. My father was a farmer who owned over 100 acres of oil palm farms. I went to one of the best schools in Ondo and though my father died when I was 14, my tuition was paid from the proceeds of the oil palm farms up to my studies abroad. That’s iconic! So, I saw this as something that should be repeated and replicated.

And as we tell people, the best retirement plan you can create for yourself is to own a oilpalm farm. It is the most sustainable form of agriculture and recreation. Palm trees can be for the next 50 years. My father has been dead for some ages now but those palm trees are still there, serving his grand-children. When you retire, your oil palm trees can take care of your bills depending on the volume you have. It can serve as your trust fund for all your dependents. My tuition was paid from the palm tree farms not from oil wells. It can serve as a passive income even for younger adults like us.

Palm-tree farming is one aspect of agriculture that the government has ignored. In Ondo State, we have over 10 thousand hectares, 25 million trees planted over 50 years ago by NIFAAS (Nigerian Forum for Agriculture Advisory Services) abandoned by the government. During the Covid-19 pandemic, we rented some 130 hectares of land for farming. We also brought the palm tree farmers in the area together as a captive market for Zenith Bank. We also set up a Oil Palm Mill for them, and today, we are milling palm oil in Ondo State palm tree plantation. Yes, Flapcoop has 130 hectares of fully matured plantation where we mill palm oil in Ondo State.

We have planted on five hectares with the community of palm tree farmers that we have there, and we are harvesting. We are thinking of exporting. We saw this as something that can be replicated anywhere especially in the Mangrove area where the palm tree does well. When we go to Epe, though fast developing, Epe in itself will not be like Lekki in the next 10 to 15 years. So, why buy a plot of land, and leave it when you can plant cash crops on it that you can earn money from and your land is appreciating in value over the years. Before it comes to N100 million, you would have made all the money from palm tree farming. So, we introduce Palm Rich Estate, very iconic, well-embraced by the market. Today, we are glad we have Palm Rich Estate.

Are you saying that you will add value to the land by planting palm trees on it at no cost to the buyers?

The cost of the land includes planting and nurturing it for the next three years. It was N700,000 before now, but has increased to N1 million per plot. We will nurture it to fruiting in 18 – 36 months. But to be on the safe side, we promise 36 months which is three years. By the time it starts to bear fruit, the owners have two options: Either to outsource to us to manage or you employ a farm manager to manage your farm. We are currently setting up automated oil mills on the estate that will produce palm oil, palm kernel oil, local soap for extra purpose and create money from palm trees.

You must have engaged some people who attend to the oil palm trees. In all of this how many jobs have you created on the Estate?

On the 1,000 hectares, we have barely concluded 700 hectares, and barely planted on the 300 hectares. The Estate is going to employ over 1,000 people in both direct and indirect jobs. for the oil milling, cultivation, harvesting, security and even the by-products conversion. Local women are going to be employed, teeming youth population, bricklayers and many unskilled workers. To date, I can’t really estimate but I think we have done well over 50 to 100 direct and indirect employment with the size that we are right now. At the completion of the 1,000 hectares, we will employ many of them because individual units will be managed, and also for the by-products.

What is the size of the Nigerian oil palm market considering the huge population of the country

The market for palm oil is big and presently, Nigeria does not possess enough palm oil to service her needs. In both local and industrial consumption, oil is used in several industries for soap making, for chocolate, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals like PZ, Lever Brothers and so on. We have the resources to grow palm trees and supply the palm oil to them. Creating this estate is to first tackle our local supplies and once we are able to do this sufficiently, we can also export palm oil. We get a lot of support from Zenith bank. One of the iconic projects the bank has introduced now is agro-export. That is the kind of innovation we want. We are gradually tapping into them. As the project is maturing, we will get our licence, package the products, export and earn forex. (to be cont’d)

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