35-year-old Mary Yakubu, popularly known as Mama Murna, is a smallholder farmer from Ungwan Duna Village in Ikara of Kaduna State in Nigeria. Her dedication and spirit in farming are seen through overcoming gender challenges in her community by implementing valuable knowledge acquired from the HortiNigeria program and sharing it with other women.
Mama Murna received training on good agronomic practices for smallholder farmers, and one key aspect of the training was the importance of using Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in farming. This topic piqued her interest as she had seen several people in her village fall sick as a result of spraying crop protection products in the wrong way.
“This training is important to ensure farmers’ safety, especially when handling crop protection products and machinery.”Mary Yakubu (Mama Murna)
Despite gaining benefits from the training for individuals and communities at large, she faced societal challenges as some believed women should not engage in spraying activities. However, Mama Murna persisted, and, with support from her husband, she successfully put the training to use. By applying and sharing her newfound knowledge, she debunked the myth in her community that women cannot perform spraying activities and demonstrated the importance of improving one’s knowledge for better farming practices.
Mama Murna has not only adopted these practices for herself but has also become a beacon of knowledge in her community. She actively shares her skills with other women, helping to create a safer and more informed farming environment. What is particularly admirable about Mama Muna is that she offers this guidance voluntarily, driven by a genuine desire to uplift others.
Recognizing the need for such knowledge among the youth, she intends to provide extension advisory services. This initiative would focus on educating young people on commercial spray service provision and other best agricultural practices.
The story of Mama Murna goes beyond farming; it is about empowerment through the transfer of knowledge. Her efforts exemplify how individual initiative can spark collective progress in communities.
The HortiNigeria program (2021-2025) is implemented through a consortium led by IFDC that includes East-West Seed Knowledge Transfer (EWS-KT), Wageningen University and Research (WUR), and KIT Royal Tropical Institute and is funded by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Nigeria.