A Baker Turns to Vegetable Farming through the HortiNigeria Project
KANO STATE, NIGERIA – Twenty-seven-year-old Na’ima Ado lives with her husband and their three children in Gaida, a community in Kumbotso Local Government Area.
The people of Gaida are well known for their farming, planting rice, sorghum, and millet. Though they also grow vegetables, they generally practice traditional methods that do not produce the high yields that Na’ima has been able to achieve.
Na’ima first heard about East-West Seed Knowledge Transfer Foundation and the HortiNigeria project through her husband, who was a core farmer with EWS-KT. As a core farmer, he regularly attended training events at another farmer’s demo plot, and he always came home with exciting stories about EWS-KT techniques.
Na’ima was a baker, but her husband’s stories piqued her interest. In her quest to know more, she requested to meet with the local Technical Field Officer, Halima Yassar.
Soon, Na’ima was on her way to becoming a vegetable farmer:
The Technical Field Officer explained the techniques to me, and I became even more excited. I quickly called my husband, who allotted me a piece of land so I could set up a demo plot.
The demo site was a little bit far from the house, and I worried about how to mobilize other women to travel there for training sessions. I decided to pay for their transportation and provide lunch for them to encourage them to come.
At some point, I became discouraged, as I felt I was losing a lot of money. What kept me going was the progress of the demo plot and the constant encouragement from my husband. I started spending more time on field monitoring, trellising, and pruning, and I was reporting any problems I had to Halima Yassar, who gave me all the support I needed.
My tomato plot became so attractive that other farmers noticed the beauty of the demo. They came to ask my husband for the secret and told him how they wanted their wives to participate in trainings.
The women who at first had come more for the lunch than the training began to come eagerly on their own to learn—and they brought more women, because my farm was a wonder to behold.
When the first tomato fruits were harvested, Na’ima shared them with her core farmers, which made the story of her tomato demo spread like wildfire.
The subsequent harvest was even more impressive, as we kept harvesting for 3 or 4 days. I harvested well over 30 crates of tomatoes, and the buyers were readily available because of the quality of the fruit.
I will forever remain grateful to EWS-KT and the HortiNigeria intervention for improving and empowering the livelihoods of women farmers in my community.