David Ikechukwu Oluwatobiloba Chukwurah: 9-year- old fish farmer on how he conceived Daves Farm
My name is David Ikechukwu Oluwatobiloba Chukwurah and I am the proud CEO of Daves Farm. I am 9 years old. I am currently in primary 4. The idea of Daves Farm was conceived when I was 5 years old (about 4 years back) when I was taken on a school excursion to a certain fish farm.
I was shown lots of different fishes and on our way out, I was handed a small life fish in a plastic with some fish feed. When I got home, I would feed the fish, change the water and ensure that nothing happened to my beloved fish. I was so fascinated by the fish and constantly checked on it.
Soon enough, I ran out of fish feed after I exhausted the gifted fish feed and the fish died.
I was more than sad. I thought I would get over it soon but no, I didn’t. Eventually the ‘desperate’ idea came to me to have my own fish farm. So I suggested to my dad who is a medical doctor to start up a small fish farm in our compound. He asked why I wanted fish farm so bad and I gave him enough convincing reasons that left him with no options. My dad yielded after so much pressure from me.
At last, the cat fish farm was started in September 2015. With a total of 500 fingerlings. they grew into big cat fishes, with the help of daddy and my uncle. Their water was changed daily, their tanks washed and my job is to ensure they are fed. The process seems so tasking but it’s so amazing doing all of this and seeing my fingerlings grow.
I also join in sorting the fish into various sizes after a few weeks of feeding. I also have the task of getting the fish out of the tanks to sell when dad and uncle are busy or not around. I am proud to tell you that as at today, the farm has grown from just catfish to rabbits rearing and snail farming.
Just like catfish farming, snailery is super-fun! Constructing the snailery can be tasking though, because the system you will use for your snail farming is dependent on a lot of factors like, type and size of your snailery and on the quantity of snails you intend to produce. Housing can be intensive, semi-intensive or extensive. In my own case, I’m running an intensive system which involves a controlled system so they are not affected by external factors. Aside from feeding and draining out the tanks, I have the responsibility of checking out on the snails. It has become a part of me to feed the snails to the extent that if I don’t, I’ll feel incomplete. In line to this, I keep the snailery moist as well as bringing the rabbits out of the cages for exercises. Rabbit rearing is also amazing. I am able to combine these three because I am so passionate in rearing animals generally. Again,
I don’t see them as the ‘animals’ people see them; I see them as my friends and pets so I know I am responsible for their well-being. So far I eat, they must eat. So far I am in good health, they must be healthy too. Even if I am not around, I beg people at home to help me take care of them and they’ve been so cooperative. The fishes and rabbits are given vitamins too.
Today, I have enough tanks to house my fish. Whenever I go to check on them, I feel proud and fulfilled because, I believe one thing is to have a dream; another thing is to make the dream a reality. Because of my ‘then’ burning passion, I walk like a boss, think like a boss, relate with people like a boss because I am one!
I receive orders from people all over the neighborhood and abroad. When orders come from abroad, we supply in large quantities. I smoke the fish at a neighbor’s oven for those that request for smoked fish. I constantly sell off and have to start afresh with the process.
My mum also takes an amazing part in my business as she does the recording of sales and helps with marketing both online and around direct contacts too. My family as whole has been supportive and helpful in this entrepreneurial pursuit of mine.
My mom has a side hustle in Gowon estate where all the fresh and smoked catfish, even snails are sold. The business has been a blessing for us. Other teens have bought a couple of rabbits to start up their own businesses after seeing the pace my business is growing.
Because of my love for fish, I started learning how to swim; so I go for swimming once a week. I am very good in class also that my teachers call me ‘brainiac’. I grasp very fast in class and love teaching others. At my leisure, I play chess, monopoly and ride my bike.
I would like to advice young ones like me to wake up and start doing something even if not for money at first, because it will definitely come helpful someday. No one can take your passion from you; and if well-nurtured, your passion turns to expertise and that is your asset. To me, I believe my future is not tomorrow but NOW. This shouldn’t take or substitute for your study but design a plan where you can have quality time for the two with affecting each other.
Never be surprised if you hear that I’m into poultry business also because that’s the next line of business I’m considering.
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