Empowered women and an Enriched Community – The Groundnut Story Of Northern Nigeria
Mrs Hadja Talatu Idrissa of Bunkure, near Kano, Nigeria, is the leader of a 25-women group in groundnut production and processing. They began to get involved with the Tropical Legumes III (TL III) project four years ago with a small seed pack of 5 kg each in their community farmland. From the harvest of this crop, they planted in a bigger farm plot the following year.
“From 1 hectare we harvested 25 bags of the improved variety SAMNUT 24, against 13 bags of the local variety harvested on the same plot,” says Mrs. Idrissa. After the harvest season, the group earned its first revenue from the haulms of the improved variety SAMNUT 24. “We sold the haulms of the improved variety for up to 30,000 Naira, against 12,000 Naira of the local variety,” explains Mrs. Idrissa. “The improved variety yields more haulms and is most appreciated for animal feeding for its better taste and digestibility.”
In 2017, the Bunkure women’s group produced about 3.5 tons of groundnut. As grain was used primarily for family consumption, the group sold groundnut haulms and used the money to start dry season groundnut production in 2018. “We don’t sell our grain produce. We keep it and process part of it into oil and many sub-products, which we sell. Out of the money made from the sale of processed products, individual members contribute 200 Naira each on a weekly basis in a savings box. The weekly savings of about 5,000 Naira is kept in the group bank account.”
From the interest earned on these savings, the group conducted many activities to help the community as a whole, including restoring the community health center and primary school. “We used part of our savings to clean up the community health center as well as to pay for basic products to sustain its regular functioning. Now the hospital is cleaner and offers a healthier working environment to its staff and patients. Earlier, people avoided visiting the hospital when they were sick, because the hospital was in such a bad condition. Nurses refused to stay overnight,” describes Mrs Idrissa. “Now that we have cleaned up the premises, they are no longer afraid to stay long hours in the hospital. In fact, the health center now offers 24-hour service and nurses are ready to attend to patients at any time of the day or night.”
To offer a full package, the women’s group contributed to repairing the beds in the hospital; this offered a more convenient place for patients, including for pregnant women. Apart from this, the group also contributed to restoring doors and windows of the community’s primary school.
According to Mrs Idrissa, the group has contributed to increasing and improving the education of children within the community of Bunkure. “Earlier, most of our children stopped schooling at primary level. Now, we have children going to universities in capital cities,” she says proudly. At a more personal level, Mrs Idrissa was able to attend the Hadj in Mecca in Saudi Arabia and is proud to see how much progress the women’s group has made from groundnut production and processing, and groundnut haulms. “I have a lawyer, a doctor and even an agricultural extension worker,” she says.
In a country where women’s access to land is still a major issue, Hadja Talatu Idrissa and many other members of the Bunkure women’s group are now the happy owners of their own farmland and of many bulls.
Happiness has different meanings to different people; Mrs Idrissa and the Bunkure women’s group seem to have reached their own goal of accomplishment. The Tropical Legumes project has put a smile on their faces which they gratefully translated into their community in many ways. The group was recognized in 2015 by the State Governor for their substantial contribution to the development of the entire community.
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Read about ICRISAT’s work on groundnut here.