For Sarah Solomon, there is nothing quite like a turnaround, a much-needed push to catapult one out of the doldrums and into a new life.
The doldrums were her past life as an unsuccessful maize farmer. I toiled in vain for so many years, this 60-year-old maize farmer recalls.
It was a time when improved seeds were very expensive and quality fertilizer was hard to come by. Nobody knew about aflatoxins and Aflasafe maize. The only techniques we knew were those we learned from our parents long ago. I had a family to feed and orphans to take care of. My husband and I could barely feed, let alone send our children to school. Everyone who bought our maize exploited us and we never got a fair price. We were stuck in poverty.
This was before Sarah heard about Babban Gona. Through membership in Babban Gona, Babban Gona was offering small scale farmers quality, affordable inputs (such as seeds and fertilizers) as well as credit and training for farmers who wanted to improve their yields. Hearing about this organization gave Sarah the much-needed “strength to go into quality maize production.” She quickly inquired about the organization, went through the recruitment process and took advantage of all the services Babban Gona provided.
The turnaround came at harvest when, for the first time, Sarah enjoyed high yields and an unprecedented surplus enabling her to keep some for her family’s consumption and market the rest. Through her membership in Babban Gona, Sarah was able to sell her maize to Nestlé at a fair price, a development that allowed her to provide enough food for her family with spare change to meet other needs.
Babban Gona was a problem solver. I am very grateful that they came. I am looking forward to next season and, if God spares my life, I plan to increase my maize farm holding to three times what it used to be.