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How Almajiris, youths make money from sorghum, rice in Yobe

Yobe is an agrarian state with the potential to produce crops such as sesame, sorghum, rice, and gum Arabic on large scales but poor knowledge…

Yobe is an agrarian state with the potential to produce crops such as sesame, sorghum, rice, and gum Arabic on large scales but poor knowledge of good agricultural practices worsened by the regional armed conflict of Boko Haram has prevented the state from achieving optimal production.

Despite obvious challenges, Daily Trust on Sunday came across young farmers in Damaturu the state capital of Yobe found passion in farming and made it a medium of job creation and self-sufficiency for them.

Daily Trust on Sunday also gathered that young farmers and almajiris who come from neighbouring states to acquire Islamic knowledge make brisk money from sorghum and rice production.

Umar Amadu a 17-year-old told Daily Trust on Sunday that despite several challenges he has been planting and harvesting rice and sorghum for 2 years now, which which has given him some financial stability.

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He said farming and harvesting of rice and sorghum have helped him to take the responsibilities of his sick mother and purchase furniture for his elder sister who got married last year in Yusufari LGA.

‘‘It has been 14 years now since our father died, our mom shoulders our responsibilities. However, life became difficult for us to eat three square meals and other necessary demands.

‘‘As a result of the harsh economic realities, my mother became unsupportive which was why one of my uncles took me to his home in Geidam where he and his family live.

‘‘He (my uncle) used to take me and his children to his farms to work and from there I began to think that I too can have a farm for myself,’’ he said.

‘‘Two years after I acquired skills and training in rice farming and production, a friend of my father hired me on his rice farm on N10, 000 and from there my journey started.

‘‘I harvested 26 bags of rice in the first place, later I invested more which gave me 54 bags of rice. It was a nice day for me as the marriage of my elder sister was approaching.

‘‘I asked my mother to give me an estimate of what my elder sister’s wedding will cost.

And I was told it was not up to N250,000 foe a villager. Alhamdulillah, we did everything successfully. As I speak to you, today I own a land  which I bought in Damaturu and also invested more in this year’s farming season,’’ he said.

He said lack of government interventions and, the high cost of labour and fertilizer remain the biggest challenges he is facing in the business.

He promised to do more if the federal and state governments would provide policies that will boost the production in Yobe and the country at large.

Daily Trust on Sunday learned that there are Tsangaya or Almajiris teachers who transport their students from neighbouring states to Yobe which gives them (Almajiris) the opportunity to engage in farming activities to earn the money needed for food, and clothing.

Ismail Musbahu, a 21 year old Almajiri from Daura town in Katsina State, said he became passionate about agriculture activities when they came to Yobe with their teacher who asked them to start doing minial jobs  so that they could earn money for their personal use.

He said staying in Yobe has opened doors of opportunities to him and he never expected such experience of farming in the state.

‘‘This is my third term of farming activities in Yobe, it was our teacher who brought us here from Daura four years ago. In the first place, I was cultivating sesame and sorghum in the last two years but last year and this season I’m into rice farming.

‘‘The reason why I transferred from sesame and sorghum to rice farming is because of profit and bumper harvest what I earned in rice farming last year is far better than this year my work in two years of sesame and sorghum.

‘‘I used my pocket money plus what I earned from sesame and sorghum farming to hire a farmland, buy fertiliser, and seeds, and pay little for a Labour, hence I have little experience in the sector.

He noted that, although, rice farming is difficult what he gained as huge and encocuraging.

“looking at the bumper harvesting that we witnessing this year things would become more productive,’’ he said

‘‘What I obtained last year from rice farming has done a lot of things for me besides requests from my sister, cousins, and even our teacher I was able to change my lifestyle, and dressing I even changed my phone to Infinix Smart 7, which I brought for N75,000,’’ he added.

Daily Trust on Sunday learned that some of the almajiris who engaged in rice and sorghum farming now have enough capital to do business activities in Damaturu’s main market to support their income.

Kabiru Idrisa a 22-year-old almajiri student, who hails from Borno state and relocated to Yobe to acquire Islamic knowledge told Daily Trust on Sunday that farming not only gave him a means of survival but also gave him the capital to open a shop.

‘‘I and our teacher relocated to Yobe from Borno state for 8 years ago, since then I developed an interest in farming activities where I used to seed and harvest sorghum and beans.

‘‘I used to harvest 5-6 sacks of beans and 15-17 sacks of sorghum annually. Last year was a blessing to me because when I sold my crops, I raised N300,000 from beans and N629,000 from sorghum. I used the money to pay my bills and also hired a shop in the market where I was selling boutique,’’ he said

Daily Trust on Suanday reports that the farming business, especially rice has captured the attention of some teeming youth in the state which had forced them to migrate from sorghum, beans, and sesame to rice farming.

19-year-old Abdullahi Gwani Musa, told Daily Trust on Sunday that even though rice farming was very difficult compared to sorghum and beans, he preferred it because is more profitable.

‘‘My first trial was a loss because I borrowed money from my uncle to add to what I had. But the loss did not deter me, I continued.

‘‘What I got as profit in 2022 was a very amazing one, we are hoping this year, In sha Allah, we are going have a bumper harvest,’’ he said

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