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Developement news | 14 May 2012
Farmers enticed to commercialize maize farming

Maize farmers in Muyuka at the training
To reduce the scarcity of this vital food and major ingredient of livestock feed, farmers have been enticed to go commercial. It is only in this way, officials say, that farmers will see the profit in maize farming and be encouraged by the high income margins to work more maize. Most farmers prefer cocoa, palm plantations or rubber.
To achieve this, the National Employment Fund, NEF, with technical assistance from some civil Society organizations are giving small loans to maize farmers and training them on how to improve on their maize yields.

During one of the trainings and handing over of small loans and maize seeds to farmers in Muyuka last 23rd March, farmers were urged to commercialize maize farming in order to pay the loans and make money for their families.
“Change the way you plant corn; I want you to follow up the training, get good yields and pay back your loans”, Mme Ayuk Bessem, a NEF official told the over 100 farmers during the training workshop. It was after the workshop at the Muyuka Area Cocoa Cooperative Union hall that the farmers were given their loans and improved CMS8704 maize seeds.

Speaking to TFV after the training, Abbeytakor Martin, Director of ASWA-RUDEP Buea who facilitated the training workshop said corn does very well in the region. According to the facilitator, corn can be cropped four times in a year in the region if the farmers want to commercialize the activity.
“Using this method, farmers will plant at a density of 40000 plants per hectare. You discover that with the high cost of corn, farmers will make an income of 1million in three months from one hectare” the facilitator emphasized.
On his part, Asaba Vincent, the president of Multipurpose CIG, Muyuka said, “our problem is productivity and sometimes the market; If we follow the training guidelines we will know in advance how many tons to harvest at the end and the corn harvested during odd seasons will be sold fresh in the farms” for better profits. Bangsi Daniel Song

“Farmers will be able to sell 100 kg at 50000 francs for fresh corn,”
Abbeytakor Martin Nkwa, Director of ASWA-RUDEP, Buea

Why train maize farmers on how to crop corn?
Most of the farmers use unproductive traditional methods of maize farming. They plant any how, we are training them to plant well and respect distances.
What prevents them from having good yields in their traditional method?
One of the major problems is that most of them do not rely on improved planting material. During this training we told them how to go about this by meeting the research bodies and other structures for good and sure seeds. You know that research produces the foundation seeds and other structures multiply. Farmers through this training know that they can achieve better yields by fallowing their farms that have been over used with cassava, a heavy feeder.

How much loans are they receiving from the National Employment Fund?
They are receiving 60 000 francs and seeds. They will repay with ease if they follow our method of planting.
What planting calendar can be used to crop maize four times?
We always advise the farmers to wait for rains. They should not put the seeds into dry soil; they should wait until the rains come. They can partition their land into parts plant the first and as they are harvesting they still plant so while the other parts are maturing with corn the others are ready. In this way all through the year if the land is allowed to fallow there will always be corn.

The training is late because farmers are supposed to have prepared the fields?
The planting season here starts from 15th March to April so they are still within the calendar. Traditionally they plant two seasons but they can plant corn up to four times depending on how they program.
When is the loan repayment scheduled?
They are expected to pay the loan by 2013; they have close to two years.

They are paying at what interest?
They are paying a token of 6% interest rate. We have found a market where the farmers will be able to sell their maize for 500 francs per kg instead of the 250 francs they used to sell. Farmers will be able to sell 100 kg at 50000francs for fresh corn. When the corn is ready first, buyers go right to the farm buy fresh and supply in town.

“We will plant corn now like professional commercial corn farmers”,
Asaba Vincent Achaleke, President Multipurpose CIG, Muyuka

How many of you are benefiting from your group?
There are fifteen of us in our group but only ten of us who are maize farmers are receiving the loan of 60000 francs today.
How will this training to day change the way you were doing maize farming?
We are corn farmers but we did not know that this is how corn could be very profitable until the training. We will plant corn now like professional commercial corn farmers.

Will you repay the loan; farmers are always smart to collect?
Yes, I have been a seasoned maize farmer. They have given us one year to pay and we are paying in installments. We are targeting our traditional two seasons and we are sure to pay. I have pigs and fowls and most of my corn for the feed is bought. I have every interest in working corn in a large scale because after feeding this livestock you will make more money.
With 60000 francs, will be any significant changes in the size of your farm?
They have told us that this is just the beginning and those who will excel will receive more.

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