The following is an excerpt of the interview with Nyuydze Sulevine Bongsuro, a member of Abakwa Young Farmers.
Interviewer: May we know your name and educational background?
Nyuydze: My name is Nyuydze Sulevine Bongsuro. With regards to my educational achievements, I am a holder of the following certificates: First School Leaving Certificate (2009), GCE Ordinary Level (2014) and GCE Advanced Level (2016). Right now, I am at the Regional College of Agriculture, Bambili and still to take entrance examination into College of Technology, Bamenda.
Interviewer: How did you get involved in agriculture?
Nyuydze: My parents are farmers and the farm is being cultivated by the family which I am a part of. It is through this that I got involved in agriculture.
Interviewer: What motivated you to join Abakwa Young Farmers?
Nyuydze: I joined because the group is made up of farmers who come together to discuss on how to improve on their productivity. This group has made it easier for agricultural institutions like IRAD to have contact with the farmers. As such, expert of these institutions are sent to train farmers not only on crop cultivation but also on the rearing of animals.
This group also has a group farm where any innovation is tested, for example when the specie of rice NIRECA(New Rice for Africa) was brought it was first tested in the group farm. The group also train farmers on how to transform rice into other products like rice cake, biscuit rice and rice flour which is like a substitute to cornflour. And they also came together to discussed on how their goods will be sold.
Interviewer: What are the challenges you face as a youth in agriculture? How can they be addressed?
Nyuydze: The first challenge is that, as a youth, most friends turn to discourage you since they give wrong advice like you should not further agriculture because it is job meant for the poor. They also think it can make one grow old quickly. To solved this, the parents should talk to their children on the importance of agriculture and make them know they can also make good money via agriculture. If the teaching of agriculture is intensified in primary, secondary and high school, I believe that most youths would know that it is important and that it is the backbone of most healthy economies in Africa. Secondly, many youths are financially down so they are discouraged to run farms on their own hence they depend on their parents. To solve this, I think if the young are enlighten on how to acquire loans, the problem will be solved.
Thirdly, unfavorable climatic conditions also discourage the youth since most crop get dry because of insufficient water and when the rain falls it is too heavy that some crops are uprooted by floods. All this damages discourages them. To combat this, they should be trained on how to build drainage and the farmers should trained on how to study climate in order to know when to plant their crops. Another problem is that most agricultural products do not have a standard price and I think if the price is regulated and the youth get to know how to price their agricultural products, they will join farming since they know the amount for which they are working. Lastly, land tenure system is a big problem and it discourages the youth. Land tenure system is a situation in which the cultivated land is been owned by a few notables in the community. As such, the land available is not efficiently used since many people are landless. To solve this, I think if the government could ensure an equitable sharing of land, there will be land for the poor to cultivate but if not there will be a time where land will be only for the rich and poor will remained landless.
The problems given above and some which are not given are poorly solved by the farmers using local method and if modern method of farming are made known to the farmers, I am sure the yield from their farms will be increased.
Interviewer: Thank you for your response, sir.
Nyuydze: It is my pleasure.