Meet Chonyui Bouldwin Duna, a Cameroonian by nationality and born on the 12th day of June, 1994 in Bamenda, North West Region of Cameroon. He received his Ordinary level certificate in 2012 and Advance level in 2013 at Progressive Comprehensive High School (P.C.H.S) Mankon, Bamenda and was later enrolled into the College of Technology of The University of Bamenda in November 2013, where he majored in Animal Production Technology.
During the 2015/2016 academic session, he was elected as the president of Animal Production Technology department and followed it up by being elected as the Student Association President of the School. He finally graduated in December 2017 with a B. Tech in Animal Production Technology with a Second Class Honors (Upper Division).
Chonyui runs a small farm where he raises chickens, breeds and sells German shepherd puppies and also cultivates some garden crops such as tomatoes and leeks since 2013.
In terms of infrastructure, Chonyui has a brooding room with size 2m x 4m with a capacity of 300 day old chicks and a fattening barn sized 3m x 4m with a capacity of 120 mature broiler chickens (45 days of age and above). He also has two cages where he breeds his dogs (cross-bred German shepherds).
As a farmer and farmer trainer, Chonyui offers several services such as extensive services to backyard chicken farmer to whom he supplies with three weeks-old chicks (training them on how to raise the birds in a sustainable manner e.g. feeding birds with fermented feed which is climate-friendly). He regularly offers consultancy services to neighbors that want to start up their own farms and conducts training to young farmers on how to brood and raise their own birds.
Now, hear from Chonyui Duna as be talks about his motivation, challenges faced in agriculture and why African should be encouraged to branch into agriculture:
“Firstly, my motivation is the passion to rear animals and cultivate my own crop and see them grow. Secondly, I hate to be hungry and to see others hungry when there are natural resources around us that can be managed sustainably in order to alleviate famine and extreme poverty. I also don’t admire working for someone, knowing fully well that with very little capital, I can start up a small farm of my own (be an entrepreneur), create employment for myself and for others who are interested in engaging in the field of Agriculture.“
As farmers, we spend less because everything we need is around us
“Looking at farming from a business prospective, the main objective of every farmer is to minimize cost and maximize profit. As a farmer in this light, we have the possibilities of using all the natural resources surrounding us to achieve this goal. A combination of these natural resources (soil, water, sunlight, air, wind) with the aid of human knowledge to manage them effectively and sustainably will achieve this goal of enabling the farmer to spend less but achieving a greater yield/output thereby increasing food security and providing better nutrition.“
“It should be noted that, the output of any plant or animal greatly depends on the genes and its interaction with the environment. Therefore, when a farmer manages his environment effectively and sustainably, he or she definitely obtains high output while putting less since most inputs needed for agriculture are free, or partially free and readily available around us. This can be summarized by using the expression below:
Soil + Sunlight + Air + Water + Human knowledge = High productivity with less expenditure.“
Farmers should be job creators and not job seekers.
“To be a successful farmer, one must have an entrepreneurial mindset. An entrepreneurial mindset entails acquiring the potential of making business out of the farming activities and not limiting to subsistent farming (‘hand to mouth farming’).“
“To achieve this object, the farmer needs to hire labor, acquire land of a reasonable scale, and seek for funding and with the mindset of reaching the best possible market. Farming with its numerous activities such as land preparation, planting and management, harvesting and marketing will definitely require labor which cannot be provided by the farmer alone, therefore, there is need for the farmer to get employees.”
“Agriculture being the backbone of most economy, serves as a source of raw materials (starting point) to other sectors in the economy thereby creating jobs both directly and indirectly.“
How youths can be encouraged to engage in agriculture
“In Africa as a whole and Cameroon as a case study, youths generally have a negative mindset as regards agriculture. To them, agriculture is for the poor and those who aim high never think of engaging themselves into any agricultural activity. It is either they spend time writing competitive entrance examinations into the public service or remain idle hoping for the so-called white-collar jobs or hoping to migrate to greener pastures, disregarding the fact that Agriculture is a Gold Mine which has not yet been tapped. There are many ways through which youths can be encouraged to start tapping from this gold mine (agriculture) these include:
Changing the mindset of youths about agriculture: African youths need to be educated on how lucrative agriculture can be. Many African youths belief agriculture is for the poor and the less privileged. To encourage them engage into agriculture, these mindsets have to be changed and to make them see agriculture more as a business. This can be done not just through talks but also by using other agricultural entrepreneurs and their achievements to inspire them such as Ndawara in Cameroon.
Making the agricultural profession attractive to youths: With the advent of innovation in agriculture, changing from using rudimentary tools such as hoes, cutlasses to using more advanced agricultural implements will contribute in making the agricultural profession less labor intensive and attractive to youths.
Educating the youths on how to seek funding: Minority of the youths have the desire to engage into agriculture, but their greatest drawbacks is how to get a startup capital. Educating them on how to seek funding through sources like bank loans, NGOs, writing of feasible projects and asking from family members. This will encourage youths to engage in agriculture.
Instilling the entrepreneurial mindset into youths: the few population of youths already engaged into agriculture are doing successfully but their greatest challenge is that they never think of expanding their scale of production due to lack of the entrepreneurial skills. Educating them on the concept of starting small and thinking big will eventually make them successful thereby going a long way to encouraging other youths.“
To be interested in Food but not in food production is clearly absurd.
“Expanding my farm is my greatest wish as of now because I have the prospect of training more youths but my space is insufficient. I have skills and the potential to meet SDGs #1 and #2 and also help reduce unemployment to a less significant percentage in Cameroon, Africa and the world at large.“