Women in Agriculture: We no longer go to farm as usual because of kidnappers — Farmer


Safia Yahaya says the major challenge women farmers face is insecurity.

Safia Yahaya, 48, a mother of two who cultivates three crops in Kogi State, in the seventh episode of our new series share her experience with PREMIUM TIMES.

PT: Which crops do you cultivate?

Mrs Yahaya: I cultivate rice, cassava, and cashew.

PT: When did you start farming as a business?

Mrs Yahaya: I started farming about 20 years back.

PT: Land is often a major problem for women farmers. How have you overcome this in the last 20 years?

Mrs Yahaya: I started farming in the village where I made use of the family land until I relocated to town where I bought my own land.

PT: What is the size of the land?

Mrs Yahaya: The land is five hectares. Not very big.

PT: Nigerian farmers always find it difficult to get quality seeds. How do you get your seeds and where?

Mrs Yahaya: You are very correct and I am not exempted from these farmers. Sometimes, I get my seed myself, I have to preserve some of the seeds that I have. I get some from the anchor borrowers programme like in the rice aspect where I get rice for planting from the rice farmers association.

PT: How did you select these crop? And why are you not cultivating beans, sorghum and other crops?

Mrs Yahaya: I considered the soil, what grows well on our soil. I chose them because that’s what’s good for our land. If you plant something not good for the land you might not have much yield, so I plant these as they give me much yield. Secondly, for business. I farm to make money and take care of my basic needs.

PT: Have you heard of improved varieties?

Mrs Yahaya: Yes I have, like seeds from ABP are improved.

PT: Five hectares of land is quite large, do you use machines?

Mrs Yahaya: Yes I use machines, but gender-friendly machines like power tillers.

PT: Where do you get your machines from?

Mrs Yahaya: I bought one and sometimes the ministry of agriculture gives to farmers but we pay a percentage of the charge before they give us.

PT: Do your children assist you on your farm?

Mrs Yahaya: I don’t use my children as labour on my farm like I would employ labourers. They follow me to my farm to do the farm work when they want to and they are free while I hire labour from outside.

PT: What is your average output?

Mrs Yahaya: I mainly take record for rice. So before the flood came this year, I had already harvested almost 20 tonnes of rice.

PT: How do you preserve your crops after harvest?

Mrs Yahaya: I use the warehouse, which is not so big. I really do not cultivate, harvest and store. There are middlemen who gives money to farmers to cultivate and then take from the produce. I happen to be among farmers who run the business like this, so I don’t have much to put in the warehouse.

PT: Do you also consume from your produce?

Mrs Yahaya: I am a family woman so some of my produce get home for my family, then I sell also because that is the major reason I started farming business .

PT: Where do you sell your produce?

Mrs Yahaya : Aside from the middlemen who get some of the goods, I sell at Kogi State International Market.

PT: How do you manage disaster on your farm like flooding?

Mrs Yahaya : At the earlier stages there are always signs. If these signs are seen, the crops are not allowed to dry before harvest so I harvest them and take them home to dry.

PT: How do you preserve the goods you don’t sell?

Mrs Yahaya: This is very rare because of the middlemen transactions. But in situations where I have leftovers, I put them in sacks and put in the house.

PT: Does your husband support you?

Mrs Yahaya : Yes, he does. He does help me financially and physically as he follows me to the farm.

PT: Do you get support from the government?

Mrs Yahaya: We do get little support from the government but this support is not sufficient for us.

PT: Have you benefited from any palliative?

Mrs Yahaya: No, I have not benefited from any palliative.

PT: Do you experience discrimination from male farmers?

Source: Premium Times

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