Sonday Ojo’s story: How a Local Farmer’s Family Landed a Guaranteed Short Time Income Source
My name is Sunday Ojo, and I live in one of the most remote villages in Oyo. Even with hard work and bumper harvests, my cassava and maize farm has never paid off due to glut and market forces such as middlemen and unattractive prices. To earn enough income to take care of my wife and children, I sometimes use my motorcycle to provide transportation services into town. Sadly enough, since cassava is a biennial crop, I would need to live on credit to sustain my family until I can harvest cassava to sell. With the aim of making more money and combating glut, my wife helps out in processing the cassava to “gari,” which is easier to store and attracts relatively better prices. In spite of all this, the financial challenge still persists, because I would need to wait a year to have any harvest from cassava, and the maize I often intercrop with cassava on my farmland only gives me minimal returns, not even enough to account for labor cost.
As fate may have it, I was introduced to the 2SCALE project through the cluster head early this year. Having been looking for additional sources of income, I gave all I had to the trainings and series of activities designed by the project. I went back to my village to replicate the same techniques I learned, and ever since, I have been greatly encouraged and even wished I knew about this project earlier.
This vegetable cultivation now provides me with the opportunity to earn short-term income to take care of my family instead of waiting for a year before cassava would reach maturity.
I have become the center of attention in my village. My hybrid tomato farm is staked—a practice never seen by the villagers before. I now have knowledge about and responsibly use ISFM, agrochemicals such as CalMag, insecticides, fungicides, etc. I also understand and apply good agronomic practices such as the use of a targeted application technique and burying of inorganic fertilizer 10 centimeters from the tomato stand. Through the cluster, I have been able to access a 100,000 naira ($316) loan to expand my farming activities. Comparing my tomato yield with other villagers’ farms who cultivate local varieties, I have more than 4 times yield and income from the same farm size. My harvested tomato can now stay for days without losing quality due to the long shelf life. Additionally, my family has been impacted financially through the project in that, instead of spending hard-earned money to purchase tomato and pepper to be used to cook at home, I now plant them myself and therefore save money.
An interview of Sunday Ojo can be watched below: