Sharing Our Successes Series: Vol. I
From time to time we will be sharing with you stories about our farmer members. These stories will highlight the role that access to the Babban Gona credit program has played in transforming their incomes, yields and living standards, providing them with access to greater opportunities.
Emmanuel Garba for instance started farming at a very young age, beginning with a small area he carved out at the back of his family home in Nasarawan Doya, a farming community in Kaduna State. Both his parents were hardworking farmers, and everything he knew about farming he learnt from watching them. Even though he would have loved to go further with his schooling, earning a living became a necessary priority in order to survive.
Emmanuel, a 25-year-old bachelor remembers his farming experience before joining Babban Gona. He heard about the program from his friend who had been employed as a BGT* and the offer was without doubt an answer to his problems. For many like him who depend on the land for sustenance, a lack of quality inputs and capital at the start of the farming season was a major hurdle to cross every year. With the training he received on good agronomy practices in maize cultivation, Emmanuel’s yields on his 1ha farm for the season were more than twice what was usual for him before, increasing from about 18 bags in the previous season to 28 bags as at last harvest. Babban Gona’s credit program and support throughout the farming season were crucial elements of Emmanuel’s success, giving him timely access to quality seeds, fertilisers and herbicides and ensuring that he had a stream of income during the year through the quarterly bonuses.
Emmanuel is a youth who is seeing his dreams come true. Because of Babban Gona, and from the proceeds of this farming season, for the first time in his life Emmanuel was able to own a motorcycle. More than being just a vehicle for transportation, owning a motorcycle for him was a sign that life was getting better. In his words “Babban Gona has changed so many people’s lives. I would like to tell everyone to join so that their own story can change too”. Emmanuel dreams of becoming the No. 1 farmer in his community, continue to have prolific harvests, and make enough money to pay for his wedding, launching him into the next phase of his life as a married man, another evidence of getting ahead in life.
Through our model, we provide support to farmers such as Emmanuel; youth with small land holdings; with little or no access to capital; and without family labour to rely on (as opposed to older farmers who have children that help out their farms). By placing them into Trust Groups and providing timely access to credit and inputs, we give these youth a profitable alternative to joining insurgent groups- to stay and till the land, make money for themselves, and become agricultural entrepreneurs supporting other farmers like themselves.
Read more about our model here. In case you missed it, also watch our MD Kola Masha’s TED Talk on ‘How farming could employ Africa’s Young Workforce and help build peace’.
*BGT : Babban Gona Trainee. This is the first entry point into Babban Gona. BGTs are in training to become MIKs
*MIK: Meaning “Mailura da Ingatacen Kungiya” . These are the extension agents assigned to each Trust Group, who manage their farms and provide support from the beginning of the planting season to the end.