Janet Olaleye, a 60-year-old mother of three, who is a food processor in Osun State, in this 11th episode of Women in Agriculture shares her experience with PREMIUM TIMES.
PT: What do you cultivate?
Ms Olaleye: I’m into oil processing and I have the machines for processing it. I do both the machine processed and the manual (local) processed.
PT: Do you have an oil palm plantation?
Ms Olaleye: Yes, I do.
PT: How long have you been cultivating?
Ms Olaleye: I have been cultivating for over 10 years now.
PT: Whose land do you use?
Ms Olaleye: My land of which I bought some and I inherited some.
PT: What’s the size of the land?
Ms Olaleye: I am not sure exactly but should be more than 10 hectares.
PT: Where do you get your seeds from?
Ms Olaleye: Sometimes I buy from the NIHORT and sometimes from the state ministry of agric.
PT: Why did you select palm oil?
Ms Olaleye: My mother-in-law is into local palm oil processing. I do follow her to the farm and I saw the way palm oil was processed locally I then decided to modernise it so the product will be more hygienic.
Besides, on the farm locally we use our knees to work and it affects our knees and I wanted a way to relief people from that pain. The modernised one produces more and save time and labour.
PT: What do you know about improved seeds?
MS Olaleye: I have heard of improved seeds and that is what I use on my farm.
PT: You mentioned earlier that you use machines, how do you get your machines?
Ms Olaleye: With the help of Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria, SMEDAN, through our cooperative Small-scale Women Farmers Organisation in Nigeria (SWOFON), we were able to get free loans and grants which we decided to use to acquire machines.
When they visited our farms and saw what we were doing they said they were impressed and gave grants with loans at low interest which is what we used to get the machines. It was about N2 million.
PT: Do you use your children as labour on your farm?
Ms Olaleye: One of them does come to the farm as the rest are not in the state. But whenever they are home they do come and assist in the farm, but I use external labour on my farm.
PT: What is your average output daily, weekly and monthly?
Ms Olaleye: Everyday I get an average of 15 drums, weekly is 105 while monthly is 105 by 4.
PT: How do you preserve you products?
Ms Olaleye: We have a big boiling drum so whatever we collect we put it there. So we cover it before it is sold.
PT: Where do you sell them?
Ms Olaleye: Before, we go to the markets but now we have people from Lagos and Ibadan to come and buy directly from us on the farm.
PT: Does your husband support you?
Ms Olaleye: Yes, he does. There are people who work with us especially those who operate the machines, they tend to want to over cost me and he comes in and intervenes. Also, in my plantation he visits and gives advice on improvement.
PT: Do you often get support from the government?
Ms Olaleye: Ones in a while, yes. I have benefited from the state government but from the federal government I have not.
PT: Do you experience discrimination from male farmers?
Ms Olaleye: No, we don’t.
PT: Are there benefits that the male farmers get that you don’t get?
Ms Olaleye: No, as I am the woman leader in my state ( farmers) and I take note of all the benefits that come in.
PT: What will you describe as your biggest challenge?
Ms Olaleye: My biggest challenge is finance. The machine we use is very expensive. The more the engine the more the produce.
During the pandemic we had less sales and we are yet to recover, people coming from other states did not come to buy so our products were there without being sold. There were inadequate access to sell our products.
PT: Have you been harassed as a woman farmer?
Ms Olaleye: No, I have not experienced any of such.
PT: What do you want?
Ms Olaleye: What I want is that the government should assist us as any money assisting women farmers is not a waste since we are the source of the economy of the state and of the nation as a whole.
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