My name is Aporu Richard, married, father of 4. I am part of the Damasiko Youth Farmer’s Group. At only 32, I have become a force among my peers and a role model in my village.
Above is my garden which I cultivate. My garden sits on 4 acres of land. I plants cassava, maize, citrus, potatoes, mangoes and green vegetables. I have planned my crops according to the farm plan model I learnt from FRA.
From his illustrations and the pictures above, Richard has demarcated his land into four pieces, one side for citrus, another for potatoes, the third for cassava and the fourth which is near his home; he planted his food crops like the green vegetables, mangoes and others.
Partnership with IDF, FRA is engaging farmers in improving their access to food which is one of the fundamental Human Right. Aporu Richard says, before my training from FRA, there was ignorance of not knowing what to do- what to sell, what to eat- but when FRA came, through the farm planning example, my family has food for sale and food to eat. With the abundant of food in the home, it has reduced cases of domestic violence as my family used to fight all the time due to lack of food in the family. I have been able to provide for my family’s school fees without any inconsistences for the past few terms. Our saving efforts as a family have improved, we were able to sell, save, buy a pig and some poultry plus hire labour for his farm, and this has increased my yields in the garden. Before FRA’s training, my family used to waste a lot of food due to poor planning for the little I had and the land I had. My planning ability has ensured that I use the land I have optimally. I have started using these ideas to plan immediately from garden preparation to planting, I no longer plant too much cassava for selling and eating in my garden. I have divided my land to include other crops. It is not the quantity of land or number of gardens we have, that you have which will make you prosperous, but the planning helps you prosper. Through this knowledge that my group acquired, we have made tremendous head way with other youth in other groups. We have been able to pass this information on to other famers in other groups who have adopted this method. My other group members have commended this system for it post-harvest handling priority that has helped them sell good quality crops like cassava. Of recent my group took bags of cassava to the market, we had people fighting for them because they were very clean; we were able to get more money because of the good quality.
Although this system has favored our productivity, there are challenges I face as an individual farmer and others that as a group, we face. We have been faced with declining soil fertility as farmers; this has been due to increasing floods, heavy wind among others. Our soils have destroyed our productivity. As farmers, we have also been faced with a pests and diseases problem, in our gardens. Personally, during the planting season, I have been faced with a challenge of lacking machinery for ploughing my garden. As a group, we devised a way of mitigating this through selling our labour in exchange for planting machinery like ox-ploughs, this method has helped us during our own planting days. The only challenge with this is that by the time we conclude laboring for them, the first planting rains have already ended, leaving us little time to prepare our own gardens. Water harvesting for our region is a common challenge, we lack water for our gardens which reduces our ability to be productive. As a group we ask that FRA connect us to markets in the city so that we get bigger markets than just selling in our villages. A larger market for our produce will help us get more money. We also ask FRA to facilitate exchange visits with other farmers from other areas. We thank FRA and IDF for their support in agriculture.