Canadian University Dubai (CUD) graduate, Farouk Dalhatu, has transformed his undergraduate engineering project into a successful sustainable farming enterprise, all while continuing with his education through the CUD Master of Business Administration programme. Known as Al Zira’a Tech, the business is headquartered in Farouk’s homeland of Nigeria, where he is introducing local farmers to technologies that promote agricultural best practices.
Formally established as a business in 2021, Al Zira’a Tech was first conceived when Farouk was in the final year of his Bachelor of Computer and Network Engineering Technology degree at CUD. In anticipation of a series of upcoming enterprise and technology competitions, Farouk and his team started to build on this idea for a technology-driven solution to help eradicate the problem of low food supply and to boost agricultural production and efficiency.
Engineering graduate leads sustainable farming enterprise alongside MBA studies
Revealing the background, Farouk said, “My goal was to educate farmers and show that they don’t have to work with conventional agricultural systems of the past. The idea was to merge integrated farming with precision farming techniques, and support farmers to adopt technology and develop sustainable farming best practices. The project was well-received in several student competitions, so I decided to take the idea back to Nigeria and explore setting up a business.”
Al Zira’a Tech soon established itself in the marketplace with three core services. Farouk explained, “Firstly, we provide farming advisory services, which educate farmers on best practices around integrated farming, organic farming and precision farming. Secondly, we supply hardware technology, including surveillance cameras and sensors, which monitor important metrics such as temperature, humidity and soil salinity. We also provide organic fertiliser, which is more sustainable and cost-effective, and delivers a greater crop yield, which can also allow locally grown produce to be certified as organically produced products.”
”The MBA at CUD is teaching me how to make clear, sound business decisions across a range of fields, from HR and legal, to procurement and logistics.”
Feedback from Al Zira’a Tech’s growing client base demonstrates how Farouk’s undergraduate project is already having an impact on his original goal. Hadi Mutallab, CEO of the Dattaku Projects and Farm To You Limited in Nigeria said, “The technology allows me to remotely monitor all of my projects from my phone, which has been an amazing solution. The organic fertiliser is already outperforming the traditional products we had been using and the end of year harvest is looking good.”
Away from his entrepreneurial endeavours, Farouk decided to return to CUD to further his education with an MBA in General Management and Finance. He explained, “With an academic background in engineering, I didn’t know much about the world of business before starting Al Zira’a Tech. I soon recognised the need to build my knowledge and credibility as an entrepreneur, to develop the theoretical understanding alongside the hands-on experience. The MBA at CUD is teaching me how to make clear, sound business decisions across a range of fields, from HR and legal, to procurement and logistics.”
Speaking about his plans for the future, Farouk added, “My ultimate goal is to bring Al Zira’a Tech to the UAE to further advance organic, sustainable agriculture. I think it’s only right that the technology should be applied in the place that it was born.”