Connecting the Dots of Success

Have you ever met a person who doesn’t want to be successful? Ever queried the importance and necessity of success and why an average human being craves for it? Do you think success is for everyone? Irrespective of your definition and/or idea of success is, you will agree with me that success is not an instantaneous thing; there is a proven way, approach, and principles of success. I have learned through my journey that success is achieved through determination, diligence, dedication, and good decision-making.

I am a third-generation farmer by lineage, a trained agricultural economist, and a development practitioner. I was born on the farm; born to a farming family in an agrarian community at a much rather transitionary period of development- the explosion era of rural-urban migration. I grew up following my dad to the farm almost every weekend, as his work with the Osun State Agricultural Development Programme (OSSADEP) often keeps him busy and out of town during the week. Being a farmer himself, he prides in relishing the memories of farming with my grandfather.

As the last child, going to the farm was a fun thing to do. I only had to watch the birds in between different treetops while listening to their synchronous yet somewhat rhythmic chirpings. As I grew older I began to help my parents on the farm with minor tasks; little did I know I was learning the robes to what would become my career path.

The early exposure and experience on the farm seem to have crystallized my appreciation of nature, the value, and essence of food production, and the resplendent nature of a bountiful harvest. My interest and drive to make a difference in the Agricultural sector led me to study Agricultural Economics in my Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree in Development Practice (MDP) at the University of Ibadan, where I studied sustainability, climate change studies, and its implication for food security.

In the course of my MDP program, I got enrolled in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Financial Innovations course and got selected for the Milken Innovation Center’s Development Finance Fellowship Programme. I must say that the learnings from this fellowship have significantly impacted my understanding of planning and financing a development initiative. My project Implementation plan is focused on the deployment of greenhouse digital technologies for fruit and vegetable production in Nigeria amongst smallholder farmers.

As a son of a smallholder farmer; I have watched my father and his fellow farmers struggle with a changing climate, a shortage of rainfall, and low yields. This inspired me to ask some critical questions-  What if smallholder farmers can be given access to greenhouse technologies? What if we can create special financing vehicles to enable the affordability of these technologies for farmers? Are there partners out there concerned about this problem and in search of solutions?

As I continue to push forward in finding answers to these questions; I am convinced that life’s experiences are not accidental. I am hopeful to unlearn and learn new knowledge, acquire new experiences during my fellowship, and build partnerships that will enable farmers like my father to access climate-smart agricultural technologies.

What principles have helped you in connecting your dots to success? Kindly share in the comments.

Ife-Oluwa Olawale Caleb
Ife holds a B.Sc. in Agricultural Economics from the University of Ibadan and is currently finishing his degree in Sustainable Development Practice (M.Sc.) with focus on climate change mitigation, adaptation and resilience practices by smallholder farmers. He is working  on...
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