Rotimi Williams, an ambitious 35-year-old Nigeria entrepreneur and rice farmer, owns the second largest commercial rice farm in Nigeria by land size.
Williams, a former journalist, is the owner of Kereksuk Rice farm, which is situated in Nasarawa state in northern Nigeria. The farm currently sits on 45,000 hectares and employs more than 600 indigenes of Nasarawa.
In a country whose citizens consume more than 5 million metric tons of rice every year, with a significant portion of its consumption needs being sourced from imports, Rotimi Williams is on a quest to change that, because he believes Nigeria can attain self-sufficiency in rice production in the near future.
The young entrepreneur attended king’s college, Lagos. He obtained his first degree in Economics at the University of Aberdeen. He further obtained a Master’s degree in Economics from the same institution.
Williams says his quest for more knowledge led him to enroll for yet another Master’s degree at the School of Oriental and African studies, London where he gained an MSc. In Financial and development studies. Upon graduation, he landed a role as an analyst at the European Economic and Financial Centre London.
On his return to Nigeria, Rotimi Williams got a job at a premier bank where he was promised to sit on the agriculture desk where he hoped to gain enough knowledge of the Nigerian agricultural industry and develop himself from there.
He was frustrated at a point so he had to quit banking and decided to move into agriculture fully. He had to learn everything as he had no experience, nor background in farming. But he read a lot on it and took all the risks because he needed to do something others were not really interested in. He did his calculations and promised the community some returns. That was the winning strategy.
He had challenges with machinery services for harvesting and for threshing, procurement of agro-chemicals as well as, good planting material. The absence of these contributed immensely to poor harvests at the onset.
Notwithstanding these challenges, Williams has been able to make some good returns on his investment. It became more interesting as the days went by as he had bought a processing mill.
He believes the success of his farm is based on a “we” attitude, rather than “I”, calling the operation a successful teamwork. He has been blessed to have wonderful people who agree to work with him.
Williams believes his farm’s success is tied to the community and his dedicated employees. He believes agriculture has to feature prominently in the nation’s development plans if the government hopes to achieve a prosperous future for Nigerians.