For over sixty years, Mr. Clement Hange has been a farmer in his community of Mbanor in Konshisha Local Government Area of Benue State, Nigeria. All that time he was happy with the returns he got from his farming efforts. However, when he got selected as a lead farmer to take care of a demonstration plot for his farmer group ‘Hange Multi-Purpose Cooperative Society Ltd’, he changed his mind on how he had been farming soyabean for over two decades.
In his words: “The transformation started when I attended a Pre-Season Training in 2013 that was organized by the N2Africa partner MARKETS II. I learnt about new production technologies for soyabean production in that training that changed my mindset completely”. He explained that he acquired all relevant information on the best agronomic practices for the cultivation of soybean and obtained a package of improved seeds, fertilizer and inoculants (supplied by N2Africa through its partner MARKETS II) which were planted on demonstration and later on his adaptation plots. As an eager and curious farmer, he decided to cultivate four hectares of his own land close to the demonstration plot with soyabean variety TGX1448-2E, which is considered a local variety because it had been cultivated for a very long time.
In addition to hosting the demonstration for his group, he ensured training of the members. He explained: “Not all of our members were able to attend the trainings and so one or two were always nominated to receive the training and teach others on their return”.
In Mr. Hange’s words: “My soyabean farm with improved practices did excellently well, the improved variety gave a yield of 1760 kg per ha while I only got 400 kg per ha from the local variety without inoculant. And not only do we produce, we sell as well. MARKETS II assisted a formal linkage to sell our produce to an organized market: the processors Hule & Sons Limited in Tarka LGA and Seraph Oils Limited in Makurdi. We also thank MARKETS II for the multi-purpose thresher given to my group. This has made threshing very easy and easy to handle increased production”.
In addition to grain production, the cooperative has been producing seeds for sale to interested farmers in the communities. They even sold ten bags of seeds to the Agricultural department of University of Agriculture, Makurdi in 2016. Apart from that, the cooperative has also increased the number of fish ponds around the community. These efforts result in relief, so that the members are able to pay school fees for their children. The increased production has enabled them to be financially liquid since they can sell their produced little by little and solve challenges.
The cooperative intends to diversify by increasing their involvement in cassava production as well as increasing the area under soybean production to ten hectares by 2018. “We are presently discussing with some banks to access funds to enable more members to have access to finance to increase their cultivated land under production as well. We are planning to purchase a tractor to enable us move around the heavy multi-purpose thresher that was donated”.
Mr. Hange expressed his immense gratitude for the support and knowledge that were given by MARKETS II and N2Africa.
Ucheibe George, Business Development Officer N2Africa Nigeria