Sabuwa Muhammad says she has not been using fertiliser because it is costly and difficult to get in Jigawa.
Sabuwa Muhammad, 42, cultivates a variety of crops in Jigawa State. The mother of three has a diploma in agriculture and home economics from Binyaminu Usman College of Agriculture, Hadejia, Jigawa State but says she loves farming.
In this ninth episode of our new series, she shares her experience as a woman farmer with PREMIUM TIMES‘ Oge Udegbunam.
PT: What crops do you cultivate?
Ms Muhammad: I cultivate millet, sorghum, groundnut and rice.
PT: For how long now have you been into farming?
Ms Muhammad: I have been cultivating for about 12 years now.
PT: Asides farming, what else do you do?
Ms Muhammad: For me, it is basically farming and that is all. But I am into livestock management too, specifically poultry, and groundnut oil processing.
PT: How are you able to manage issues concerning land?
Ms Muhammad: Personally, I do not have my land and I don’t have enough money to lease or rent. I use my husband’s land, which is always available for me.
PT: What is the size of the land?
Ms Muhammad: About two hectares
PT: Why did you choose your crops?
Ms Muhammad: I considered two basic things, which are soil and market. The soil in Jigawa is good for the crops I cultivate so they grow well and I have good output. Secondly, the market is readily available. I don’t have to wait for a long time before the produce are all bought off.
PT: Have you heard of improved seeds?
Ms Muhammad: Yes I have heard of improved seeds.
PT: Where do you get your seeds from?
Ms Muhammad: I understand that good seeds matter for I really do not preserve my seeds from the previous year, I buy improved seeds from Jigawa Agricultural Supply Company (JASCO).
PT: Do you use machines?
Ms Muhammad: I cannot afford to buy or even rent machines. I use human labour, which is cheaper.
PT: You have three children, do they help you on the farm?
Ms Muhammad: Yes I do use them on the farm and I pay them like I pay other workers.
PT: What is your average output per year?
Ms Muhammad: In 2019, I harvested 30 bags of rice but in 2020 I lost a lot because of the rains. For sorghum and groundnut, I harvested 20 bags each. These bags are 50kg bags.
PT: How do you preserve and store your goods?
Ms Muhammed: I store them in bags. There are these thick bags that preserve the products for a longer time, unlike the regular sacks. I pack them in these bags and store them if not sold off immediately at harvest.
PT: Do you sell all of your produce or consume some of them?
Ms Muhammed: Of course, I sell my produce and also consume from them as well.
PT: How is the market for your produce?
Ms Muhammed: There are markets where we sell but the price people want to purchase these produce are not favourable and reasonable at all.
PT: Do you have people (middlemen) who come to buy from you directly on the farm?
Ms Muhammed: No, there are no middlemen who buy from my farms. I take my produce to the market and sell there.
PT: Fertilisers are very important in farming, so how do you get and manage fertiliser?
Ms Muhammed: Fertilisers here are very scarce so I do not use them as their prices also are so much on the high side.
PT: Are there good roads connecting you farm to your home and the markets?
Ms Muhammed: It is one of the few good things we have access to here in Jihawa, there are good roads connecting my farm, markets and my home.
PT: There is a period between planting and harvesting called waiting period. During this period, that is the period where you wait for a crop to grow to harvest time what do you survive on?
Ms Muhammed: During that period I begin the groundnut oil processing and have enough time for livestock farming.
PT: The government supports farming and other agricultural businesses. Have you benefited in from such support?
Ms Muhammed: No, I have not benefited from any government support.