“A woman is a natural incubator that can grow anything, mold anything into life. Any idea that drops in the lap of a woman [is] already on a well fertile soil, all it needs is watering.” — Amaka Chukwudum
Amaka Chukwudum is an alumna of the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) program and the CEO of Amicable Mondiale Farms, an agriculture company based in Lagos, Nigeria. Amicable Mondiale Farms specializes in crop farming, animal husbandry and exporting hardwood industrial charcoal, soybeans and other products.
Amaka grew up in the eastern region of Anambra State, working on a farm with her parents. Amaka felt embarrassed to work on the farm because agriculture in Nigeria is stereotyped as a job for the poor and illiterate. As she got older, her parents instilled a love for agriculture by showing her the benefits of hard work. Her mother’s motto, ‘Aka aja-aja na ebute onu mmanu-mmanu’ or “Hard work brings good fortune,” has inspired Amaka to change the narrative for agriculture in Nigeria.
Organizing Over 200 Farms in Nigeria
It was not easy for Amaka to find sponsors or help when she started. Instead of giving up, she worked even harder by taking out a loan, saving up as much as possible, and borrowing money from friends to get her business started. Regardless of the financial barrier, Amaka was dedicated to her passion and was determined to succeed.
She has helped set up over 200 farms throughout her career by offering services such as consulting, organizing and providing guidance for new farmers. She also helps new farms commence by training farmworkers and providing supervisory help until they can stand independently.
Organizing Two Training Programs
In addition to being the CEO and founder of Amicable Mondiale Farms, Amaka also created two training programs to help new farmers start agricultural businesses.
The ITIOF (International Training In Organic Farming) program helps entrepreneurial farmers find their passion for agriculture by providing a guided trip to the Republic of Benin. During this trip, young farmers are exposed to other seasoned farmers and given opportunities to work with them. Around 90% of participants decided to start farming due to their positive experience in the program. Click here to hear testimonials from past participants and learn more about the ITIOF program.
The EAT Right Initiative focuses on a “zero waste farm style” by teaching families to eat healthy foods and take care of their bodies. Training focuses on teaching women and youth small-scale farming in their backyards, with sacks or with household items. Through this initiative, Amaka has trained over 1,000 women and youth in rural and urban Nigeria about organic farming. Click here for more information.
While growing her business, Amaka faced many barriers as a woman working in a nontraditional career. Some people in Nigeria do not believe that women can handle big projects and the challenges of owning a business. Amaka chose to break gender barriers in her country by following her passion and encouraging other women to do the same.
“I urge every woman not to procrastinate any vision or dream you have as an entrepreneur. I don’t give up on anything, no matter the challenge, and that has kept me going. Ladies, pick up that vision, dust it, plant it and water it in your already fertile soil, and watch it grow. Every woman is a born entrepreneur. Never sit idle. Get to work. The world is waiting for your manifestation,” Amaka said.
For more information about the work Amaka is doing in Nigeria, visit this link and follow Amicable Farms on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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