My name is Ngo Abdulia Banfogha, I am a Cameroonian, and founder and CEO of Hope for the Better Future Simplified Cooperative Society (H4BFSCOOPS): a group of 31 (22 men, 11 women). We are all based in Donga Mantung Division, majority in Ako, Subdivision—a small town within Donga Mantung, Division, in the North West Region of Cameroon.
I grew up in a Nkambe, in the centre of Donga Mantung Division, where 80% of the population, including my parents, are farmers. They trek a very long distance of about eight kilometres to cultivate maize. The process they use was so stressful that my going to the farm was like hellm even though I loved the profession.
We used to prepare the land, cultivate the ridges and plant, weed three times before harvest, and transport from the farm to Nkambe—carrying the produce on our heads. All of this is done manually.
What use to bother me was with all the labour and time invested in it, still the outcome product is usually not much compared to the modern system of cultivating maize.
All this make us relocate to another town known as Ako, where we still use the same process but the the soil is more fertile and the farm is not too far from our house. With all the above experience, I grew up always telling my parents I will get a better way for us to farm, and we will have more output with less labour.
When I was at college, I found out that the government can support us if we could group ourselves. I was so inspired and determined. So, I went down to Ako and brought together farmers with the same problems, and that was how H4BFSCOOPS come into being.
We decided to each contribute sum of CFAF 2,500 (USD 5.00): this money helps us pay an agricultural technician.
Together with the members, we wrote a giant project proposal and submitted to the government: to enable us buy a bigger land and use modern agricultural system to cultivate maize; to market and use our profits to increase the living standard of the cooperative members—through income from quality and quantity maize production.
Our other objectives were to:
- Increase soil fertility through good agricultural practices
- Increase farm size and yields of maize 18 ha to 35 ha, with yield increase from 41.5 tonnes to 100 x 2 per year. Maize here is cultivated twice a year and takes a shorter time to mature, for the climate is hot and favours the production of maize.
- Train other villagers in modern ways of cultivating maize
This project was successful for the government did come in with some financial support and we are able to acquire the 35 ha of land. This we isPhase 1 of the project.
Presently, we have the land but we don’t have the means to exploit all of it due to lack of more labour, chemicals, fertilizers, ATP seeds, knowledge, and means of transporting the products from farm to market.
So, if we are granted with the USD 5,000, we will be able to exploit the entire land 35 ha and hence more maize will be produced. We will have a good running capital to cultivate it twice a year, improve on ATP seeds, carry out good agricultural practices (e.g. buy improved seeds), carry out training on fertilizer application and quantity of fertilizer use, generate more income, and improve the farmers’ standard of living.
The realization of the activities, results, and objectives of the project shall be measured by:
Results and indicators
- Successful exploitation of the entire land (35 ha of land prepared)
- Improved ATP seeds are cultivated on the surface areas (820 kg of maize seeds planted)
- Carry out good agricultural practices like:
- Buying improved seeds (receipts)
- Training in fertilizer application (report, attendance sheet)
- Quantity of fertilizer used (receipts)
- Construct crib (crib constructed)
- Realize the expected gross margin (100 x 2 maize obtained a year)
The cooperative has two awareness-raising (‘sensitization’) meetings, leading to the elaboration of the project.
The cooperative meets once each season, the group shall put in place committees to ensure proper function and management of the cooperative account. Thereafter, as per the operational plan, the members, together with the entire community, will participate in training sessions and the execution of activities on their individual farms, supervised by the agricultural extension workers of the area.
Impact of the Project
The project, which shall last indefinitely, will steadily increase the income for the cooperative members, their families, and, to a lesser extent, their friends. As sales of produce will take place on the project premises, the economic activities of the village or town will boom. It is envisaged that buyers from within and without the country will come and buy at the project site and nearby markets.
Following the critical problem of assistance in medium-to-large-scale farming for the purchase of imputes, tools, and the reduction of post-harvest lost via the construction and storage of maize, your timely intervention will be of great help to H4BFSCOOPS. You can help us to implement the project and will aid in empowering the cooperative particularly and the community as a whole
This will, in a long run, create job opportunities for some villagers and townspeople, and create a steady market demand in and out of Ako community. All these fall in line with the policy of poverty reduction, employment growth, and the promotion of autonomy in the rural population.
Finally this will be a major income support to the group and will help transform the lives of the rural population.
Blogpost and picture submitted by Ngo Abdulia Banfogha (Cameroon): firstname.lastname@example.org
The content, structure and grammar are at the discretion of the author only.
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