Janet Jiya, 30, is a smallholder farmer in Niger State. In this third of our new interview series on women in farming, she shares her experience with PREMIUM TIMES’ Oge Udegbunam.
PT: What do you cultivate?
Ms Jiya: I cultivate sorghum
PT: Whose land do you use?
Ms Jiya: I use my family land that I inherited from my father.
PT: What is the size of the land?
Ms Jiya: It is one hectare or thereabout.
PT: How long have you been cultivating?
Ms Jiya: Five years.
PT: How do you get seeds?
Jiya: I get my seeds from the Agricultural Transformation Agenda support programme.
PT: Why did you select the crop you cultivate?
Ms Jiya: Firstly, it is a generational crop because our fathers also cultivated it and I decided to continue with the crop. Naturally, I have interest in the crop too. It is also the most consumed crop in my village. I sell it off quickly and the soil is favourable to the crop.
PT: Have you heard about improved seeds?
Ms Jiya: Yes, I have.
PT: Do you use them?
Ms Jiya: Like I mentioned earlier, I use seeds from a support programme. The seeds they supply are improved and they give good yields.
PT: Do you use machines?
Ms Jiya: No I don’t. My farm is not very big. Apart from that, I do not have enough money to buy or rent any machine.
PT: What is your average output?
Ms Jiya: The output varies, depending on the year, season and other factors. Some years are good and I get about six to seven bags but sometimes, it is three to four bags.
PT: How do you preserve your goods?
Ms Jiya: I do not have good storage facilities so I keep my goods in the store.
PT: Who provides labour on your farm?
Ms Jiya: I use my brothers and some children around, it is cheaper for me.
PT: Do you sell or consume your produce?
Ms Jiya: I sell everything.
PT: Where do you sell them?
Ms Jiya: I sell them in different markets that are close to me.
PT: Some of the goods you don’t sell in the market, how do you preserve them?
Ms Jiya: I put them in a sack and I use chemicals to stop rodents from eating them up.
PT: Do you get support from the government?
Ms Jiya: No, I don’t.
PT: Have you received any palliative for Covid-19 from government or any group?
Ms Jiya: No, I have not.
PT: Have you experienced discrimination from male farmers?
Ms Jiya: No, I haven’t.
PT: Have you been harrassed before on the farm?
Ms Jiya: No, no man can do that. I am using my father’s farm so I am not crossing my boundaries.
PT: What is you biggest problem as a farmer?
Jiya: My major problem is money. I cannot afford to buy chemicals or fertilisers or even the bags I use for storage. Sometimes when I go to borrow the storage bag, people keep giving me excuses why they cannot release their bags to me. This is usually frustrating to me. Lack of machine is also a big problem for me.
PT: What assistance do you need?
Ms Jiya: Using scale of preference, I want a machine. If I get the money I might use it for something else but when the machine comes, I can manage. I will also appreciate inputs too, because I will use the machine appropriately.
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