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Reasons I ventured into farming – Kano female farmer

Saleemat Alhassan is a 24-year-old diploma holder in Telecommunication from Kano State Polytechnic. After finishing her school, the young woman decided to join the farming…

Saleemat Alhassan is a 24-year-old diploma holder in Telecommunication from Kano State Polytechnic. After finishing her school, the young woman decided to join the farming industry, defying the norm with women especially in the North. In this interview with our correspondent in her farm, Saleemah speaks on her reasons to venture into farming. Excerpt:

 

How did you join farming? 

I joined farming in 2020 after I finished school. It has been my dream since I was young to be a farmer because I like it. I like the process and amazing creation of God in farming. The fact that you will plant seeds and they will germinate and provide food to people is amazing and worth appreciating.

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Also, when I was young, I used to follow my uncles to farm in Kebbi State and that was where I became familiar with farm activities. So after joining an agro company here in Kano, Real Agro and Integrated Services, my boss gave me one of his farms and this is where I am now.  

What was your motivation? 

My motivation was derived out of my passion to become independent. Since I grew up, I have seen myself as an independent person. I like to depend on myself. That is why I look at what will help me achieve my aim.

Another great motivation, in fact my main motivation to join farming, is the fact that I saw my father becoming older day-by-day. Over the years our parents had been working hard to raise us well and they succeeded. They deserve to rest, they deserve to be supported. I realized this is the right time for us to take over from them and also take their responsibilities.

If you look very carefully, women or girl-children don’t seem to consider it an obligation to take responsibilities of their parents financially. But that should not be the case. Once we have the means we should do our best to support them. So, I joined farming mainly to support my father. Like, on this farm, all the yield is not for sale. I will give it to my father to feed us at home.  

Women are mostly known with businesses related to them; why farming, not other things like catering and so on?  

Well, there is no boundary to any business that a man or woman can do. There is nowhere in religion or culture that prohibits a particular business for women. So far it is legitimate to men, then so it is for the women.

I am also passionate about farming as I said, and you know people always do better in what they are passionate about. So I have a big dream in farming and God willing I will make it.  

Do you participate in the farm labour or do you hire people?  

Yes I do. Farming has been modernized nowadays. Once you have money people are there to work for you, but it requires constant monitoring. So, in the process of monitoring I do some work here. I can weed, I can spray pesticides, I can plant and I can participate in harvesting.

Sometimes it is not about participating in the work. I always come here during weekends to see the progress. Whenever I notice something unusual I have someone who guides me about it. That is how I am gradually learning the processes. And I believe one day I will do everything myself.  

What value chains do you like most in farming?

I like soybean, maize, dawa (guinea corn), and rice. I have two farms this season; one is for rice and the other one is soybeans mixed with guinea corn. All these are food related farm produce that we can eat at home.  

What challenges have faced so far?  

There are challenges honestly. But what I put in my mind is that nothing comes easy in this life. You have to face challenges in whatever you are doing. The best you can do is to endure and overcome them.

The major challenge is coming to the farm regularly. The place is far. I live in Kano city and I have to come to Bunkure every weekend. Coming through the forest, trekking and moving within the corridor of grasses is not easy at all.

Another challenge is money. Farming requires you to have money and I don’t have much. The little I am doing is from my savings and salary. Fertiliser, labour and other expenses including my transportation are also not easy. For instance today it rained here and I didn’t get the vehicle to convey me to the farm. So, I had to trek for over one hour to my farm. So these are some of the challenges.  

Where do you see yourself in the farming venture in some years to come?  

All these challenges I mentioned, I want to overcome them; endure the challenges and become a big female farmer. From next year, I plan to expand from providing food to my parents only to farming that will bring money to me. From then, the expansion will continue.