A Paradigm Shift
The People of Gandu community of Danko/Wasagu LGA are predominantly farmers who always face hunger during the lean season which falls within the dry season of the year, this leaves the people famished, the village deserted and households vulnerable to diseases and malnutrition as they can’t meet their needs despite the yearly harvest embarked on by the community. The Village Savings and Loans Association were introduced to the people, though faced with stiff opposition and disbelief as dubious schemes has left the people without nothing even with their merger resources. After a successful introduction and participation from the first line of farmers (the risk takers) into the program, the community has recorded tremendous improvement in their farms, positive changes in their harvest and increased participation in the project’s components.
The Village Savings and Loans Associations introduced, was used as the basics for the selection of lead farmers from the community for the Farmers Training Field School (FTFS) as an avenue to train these on Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs), who in turn teach other farmers from their groups. These trainings, thus ensures the transfer of Knowledge within the community from the Extension officers to the rural farmers in the community and even to neighboring communities which is essential for the Project’s sustainability.
Mal. Isah Hakimi speaking on the behalf of the farmers, appreciated the Project for coming to their aid as they are now fully implementing the various practices taught, e.g. GAPs and dry season farming as those who heeded to the instruction of the Extension Agents got an increase in yield ranging from 80, 100 and even 120 percent. Water pumps were given at subsided rate of NGN 27,000 to the farmers, which also encouraged the farmers to take up the dry season farming on a large scale. He further declared that, ‘I can assure you right now that we are not only food secured but we have regained our self-esteem, respect from our families while a good number of us, now have other businesses we are doing because we have an improved family economy plus enough food to eat and we worry less ‘, also, ‘if only government can do a half of what PROACT has done for us then the whole Nigeria will be a better place to live in’.
Lack of access to credit, farm inputs like agrochemicals has further compounded the sufferings of widows in Nigeria, who are without social protection from the Government and even from their respective families as they are left without support despite being a recognized member of their respective families.
Madam Takwance Danchadi (F, 65) from Susu Machika community in Danko Wasagu LGA of Kebbi State, describes her experience and how the PROACT project has enabled her regained her freedom, “Ever since my husband died, it has been challenging as my two children still lives with me and I find it hard to pay for their school fees, even my late husband’s farm, I can’t cultivate as much as I want to as I lack the needed materials for the cultivation and as a result, our harvest can’t sustain the family through the lean season”.
She expresses her gratitude to PROACT for coming at this time through the Village Savings and Loans Association which has enabled her to learn the act of savings despite her merger allowances even on a weekly basis. Also, through her group (Kiwon Awaki VSLA) got fertilizers to apply on her farm which resulted to a harvest of 15 bags of grains and her fortune changed.
Mad. Takwance found out the importance of income diversification through the Income generating Activity organized by the project to increase the resilience of the rural farmers in her communities of operation. She engaged in the buying and storing of grains worth more than NGN100,000 from the market while reselling at a later date for better profit. These successes (i.e. a farm produce store alongside a thriving and productive farm) has motivated her to invite other community members to join a VSLA group as she is a living proof.
“GOD BLESS PROACT”
Pro Resilience Action – European Union Support To Food Security and Resilience in Northern Nigeria