African Harvesters had conversations with Oluwatoyin Onigbanjo the Founder of a unique child nutrition company called Augustsecrets in an exclusive interview. She speaks on fighting hunger and malnutrition in Africa
Question 1: Can you introduce yourself and what your organization(s)does?
Toyin: My name is Oluwatoyin Onigbanjo, I am a Family Enthusiast and Child Nutrition Educator. I am the Founder of a unique child nutrition company called Augustsecrets. Augustsecrets provides families with 100% natural foods and snacks that helps children nurture and grow healthy in their first 1000 days.
In addition, we advocate for exclusive and safe breastfeeding practices while providing support, recipes and ideas for urban and semi-urban families to feed their children better to reduce the rate of malnutrition in Africa.
Our baby cereal products, Jadens Meals is named after my son who totally refused his foreign cereals and stuck only to 100% natural, homemade meals. He was such a fussy eater and that inspired us naming the cereals after him.
Jadens Meals are selling fast from major store chains nationwide, in Accra and African stores in the USA, Canada & UK.
On the side, I support women-owned food & family care businesses through various growth, mentorship and project management programs.
Question 2: How is AugustSecrets ending hunger and fighting malnutrition in Africa?
Toyin: Our vision at Augustsecrets is to bring innovation into how babies are fed; from pregnancy, to breastfeeding to introducing solids, so that the rate of malnutrition can be drastically reduced and minimized.
This is very important to us because our story is that of changing the narrative and behavioral change in feeding young children and families. It is a huge part of our story and how we started.
My son wanted only homemade meals while I struggled to keep up with my job and grow my career. How would I achieve this? I went round stores searching and hoping our local foods would be available, but I did not get.
This is why Jadens Meals pride in what we do.
It is homemade, 100% natural and also easy to make & store even for busy mothers; in addition to this, you are sure of what goes into your child’s stomach and our famers are also happy because those ingredients we used to call local, now have a spotlight on them as people are now understanding the nutritional benefits.
Question 3: Can you highlight the significance of Food Safety in food production and why food entrepreneurs need to embrace it ?
Toyin: I would strongly recommend more efforts on Nutrition Education. We have seen some improvements over the years through the work of civil society and various stakeholders, but I believe more can be done.
Nutrition education in schools and supporting nursing mothers to breastfeed at the workplace, including flexible working hours would all contribute to ensuring the rate of Nutrition security is achieved.
Nutrition is beyond just eating; it is a whole investment into the future.
The overall rise in the prices of food commodities also need to be looked into as this also has a huge impact on the prices of staples, inputs for nutritious food processing, etc.
Question 4: What is your perception about work life balance and how can you encourage women in Agribusiness to achieve work life balance?
Toyin: So many people say Work-Life Balance is impossible, except for Work Life Integration. However, we choose to look at it, I believe that women need support in order to achieve the balance. I believe that a women can have it all if we walk in line with our vision, if we are focused and have as much support as we can receive.
It is not easy raising families and growing companies.
Question 5: Can you tell us more about the Grow with Toyin community and how women across Africa can join?
Toyin: The Grow With Toyin Community is a free empowerment program where I share relatable free tips for women to grow their businesses, themselves and families. I have a link on my platforms where women can join for free. We have over 1000 women who look up to me to share daily struggles and how we triumph.
We look forward to more support in terms of scaling our businesses and careers as one big family.
Question 6: What is your favourite quote?
- Authenticity never needs validation to win. You always win when you are your original self and walk in line with your God-given purpose.
- Slowly, but surely; you may have challenges, storms on the way, as long as you believe in yourself, you also can do big things.
- Feed the children right today. Enjoy the future.