Picture this: 52,5% of the farming population in Nigeria is female (source: Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations). These women have no access to owning land for farming purposes. Apart from that, most of the farming in Nigeria is subsistence farming; farming where the emphasis is placed on growing enough food for survival (source: NOI-Polls). This usually means that not enough products are generated for trade. A family is left with no other resources than what is grown on the land, which increases the risk of starvation in the non raining season. Now add high deforestation (Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations), impending population growth (source: the Guardian, 11 January 2016) and rural poverty – 52.8% of the Nigeria’s rural population lives under the poverty line (source: Knoema) – to this mix of factors. This is the reality of families living in rural communities in Nigeria. We are left to wonder how they would ever be able to feed themselves.
To tackle this problem, Ripples has devised its newest Women’s Enterprise Programme: Ripples Farms. Together with our valuable partners, we will transform 250 acres of farming land, donated by the community of Ogidi in Kogi state Nigeria, into a farming business incubator, where 2000 women and 1000 youth will be trained on eco-friendly sustainable farming and livestock rearing practices. As the women and youth produce different kinds of nutritious foods, such as beans, spinach and milk, they will be able to export to different kind of markets, increasing their opportunities to generate an income. In this way women will be able to feed their children and generate an extra source of income for the family.
Ripples Farms is our biggest project so far; generating a tremendous impact for a vast number of people. Such a project is only realized with the help of our beneficiaries, who are the start of all that we do. We have been very lucky to find valuable partners in the Ogidi youth. 73% of the population in Ijumu state, the area in which Ogidi is located, is under 30 years old (according to 2011 national census). With their help we were able to select Ripples Farms’ first candidates. They will help us develop and tailor our project to suit their experiences, challenges and knowledge.
Ripples has established a Nursery, where it runs its trials. These acres of land will help us test and tailor our eco-friendly and sustainable farming methods to suit the Ogidi soil and weather. The nursery also includes a small patch of grassland, where we will accommodate the first herd of cows and goats that will also provide income generating activities to our participants. With the help of our donors, two cows and one goat have already been purchased, who now call this patch of land their home. With everyone’s help this herd will grow to include enough livestock for our participants.
What impact do you think Ripples Farm will have on our women and youths? Let us know what you think!