My name is Tolu Timson, and I am from Nigeria, West Africa. I reside in Nassarawa state, which borders the Federal Capital Territory of Nigeria. I am 32 years old. I am a Technician by profession with a bit of farming background.
Cases of breast cancer occurrences have been on the rise. I am applying for this grant for the purposes of innovatively using cucumber to help cancer survivors fight re-occurrence, and also help in the prevention of cancer by making it much more cheaply available to the populace and to cancer support groups.
How and why cucumber, you might ask? Well, I have had some sort of personal experience in the use of cucumber as a means of fighting cancer. A few years back, a close friend of mine was diagnosed with breast cancer. Fortunately she was able to afford treatment and the operation. She was then advised by her doctors on dietary changes she had to make and she complied.
A major part of her diet included cucumber for the next few months but she always complained of the high cost. This eventually led me to cultivating it to help supply cheaper cucumber fruits for my friend, members of her support group and myself as I had acquired a taste for it.
Although my friend has been cancer free for 2 years now, she has been very supportive of the project, helping to distribute the product among her support group.
When I first started I couldn’t afford the land, so I came up with the idea to use sacks. Cutting the sacks in half I could put in sand and manure for planting. It gave me great flexibility in terms of location, and resources such as water and manure were conserved.
Initially I started with tomatoes, cucumbers and some other fruits but due to financial constraints I decided to focus on only cucumber as it seemed to be the most helpful in fighting cancer, as shown by various studies.
For the first harvest of which I planted about 150 plants using a small part of an abandoned field with my own income and a little support from family. I was able to harvest 110 cucumber fruits after a growing time of about 3 months (40 were lost to pests and theft).
With these I supplied the cancer support group and sold the rest to other individuals at lower than market price and in one weekend I was sold out. Now, I want to expand production to meet growing demand.
You might be thinking, “This result is no big deal,” but one has to take into consideration the fact that the region I live in is a very dry region with a lot of people living on less than a dollar a day. As a result, the consumption of fruits is more of a luxury than a necessity due to their high cost and the very high price of farming land.
The use of sack bags for planting and grow-out, rather than planting directly on the land, enabled me to get good results from lands people would consider unusable with a fraction of the finance.
I believe that this project would not only improve the survival chances of cancer survivors but also improve the general health of my community by providing a cheaper and healthier diet. However, the challenges I face are the lack of a stable space to use for the farming so I end up shifting base a lot during the project life, and lack of funds to buy enough fertilizer and water for irrigation.
Upon getting this grant my objectives are:
- Buy or rent a small plot of land
2. Dig 1 well for constant water supply
3. Buy bags of fertilizer
4. Build protective structure around the plot
5. Purchase machinery such as pumps and generator set
Previously, I was only able to produce once a year due to the challenges mentioned above, but with the grant I would be able to produce 3 times a year with a target of 500 cucumber fruits per batch. In addition to its use as a source of irrigation water, the well would also be a source of water for the community.
The project should be able to cater for 3 other support groups after the first 12 months.
My appeal is for anyone that reads this to support this project and its growth. It is something that excites me a lot; being able to help heal bodies and communities is my ultimate goal. Thanks to all those that like this post, you just might be saving a life.
Here is the budget for the project:
- 1 Plot of land – $2400
2. Build Protective fence – $ 600
3. Bags of fertilizer for 3 production batches – $900
4. Digging and casting of 1 well – $400
5. 1 water pump – $300
6. 1 small generator – $200
TOTAL = $4800
Blogpost and picture submitted by Tolu Timson (Nigeria) – tolutimson[at]gmail.com
The content, structure and grammar is at the discretion of the author only.
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