Developement news | 14 May 2012
From mechanic to livestock breeding
After more than thirty years as an auto mechanic, Assi Clement chose to abandon his profession for a new horizon, livestock farming and he has no regrets having done so
‘Livestock farming is too profitable or I would not have left the mechanics I was doing. I am one of the best mechanics in the whole North West and I have been working for more than thirty years. I was working in Douala for more than ten years and since I came back home and settled in the village doing livestock farming, nobody is disturbing me, no taxes, nothing. But for the mechanics, the council will come, the police will come and the taxation will come.”
The Farmer’s Voice met Clement when he was receiving a group of SOS FAIM Luxemburg donors who have come to see for themselves how their support to the North West Farmers Organisation (NOWEFOR) through SOS FAIM was impacting on the lives of the beneficiaries in this part of the World.
The mechanic turned farmer, one of the beneficiaries of an EU sponsored project through NOWEFOR told TFV that the support completely changed his life.
“I was a respected mechanic with a whole staff until I received this support and withdrew from it. Now I can sponsor my children with ease. Look at these piglets. I will fatten them and by September I will sell them at any price and send my children to school. I will not go about borrowing money again. I used toborrow money from Njangi houses since I was not able to always have all the money by September. But with the pigs, if I sell them by September even at 50000 francs each I will still have 500000 which will, be enough to send my children to school.”
He is sponsoring six children in school with money from his piggery and poultry. He says the piggery gave him money to start poultry. At the time we met him, the poultry was empty and his excuse was that day-old chicks were hard to come by, thus highlighting the difficulty poultry farmers face in getting day-old chicks in the North West Region.
But he is not worried because the piggery will give him the needed finance when necessary while he waits to receive the 200 day-old chicks he already paid for.
“I became a pig farmer in 1993 but I was only struggling because I had limited finance till 2008 when I received the support from the EU which made me to increase the farm. I used to attach my piggery behind the house and I really made a lot of money from the support because the two piglets and feed I received gave me almost 200000 Cfa Frs which was enough capital to take so many fowls and continue.”
David says, the mechanics job was risky and he did not have time to do any other thing but now he has all the time to do extra things after feeding his animals and fortunately too, buyers come to his farm.
“After feeding my pigs in the morning, I can spend my time doing other things and the market for the pigs is there. Death celebrations, marriages and other celebrations always create a market. That is why the fence is empty. The demand is higher than the supply.”
Though very satisfied with what he has already achieved as a farmer, he is wishing he could have a bigger capital to carry his business to another level.
“I used to go to Douala but I do not go again. You need a good quantity to go to Douala. You need as many as 30 so that you can take a full lorry but I cannot have that now because there is no capital. I keep more than 50 but I need money for feed. I can now keep only about ten and they cannot go above six months because they will consume so much.” Ful Joy
NOWEFOCH elects new Management Committee
The network of Credit Houses of the North West Farmers Organisation now has a new Central Management Committee elected during the recent annual general assembly in Babungo.
The new committee is made up of Gilake George, of the Babungo Credit House, who was elected Chairperson, Jeremiah Tenji Acha of the Batibo Credit House elected Secretary while Mundi Gladys of Mundum credit House and Ngo Nyemb from Bafut Credit House were elected members of the management committee. NOWEFOR chairman Mbah David is representing the mother organisation in the committee.
The new management committee is taking up duties at a time the credit houses are facing several challenges and will have to show some hard work and imagination to achieve set goals.
“There is a new system the consultants are bringing up to make the network sustainable. The network has been dependent on NOWEFOR and this new system which will have to take three years for the network to be sustainable has to stop that dependence.” Nkeng Peter, Board Chair at NOWEFOR who chaired activities during the NOWEFOCH Annual General Assembly told TFV.
The Credit Houses who are largely dependent on funding and NOWEFOR support is now looking for new strategies so it should be business as usual since funding ended and new NOWEFOR support is becoming a “load” on the organisation.
“When there was no more funding for the credit houses, NOWEFOR used its associative life to support the schemes and now it is becoming very heavy on NOWEFOR since it has not generated any income this year. That is why the credit houses are looking for a way to reduce the burden on NOWEFOR” Nkeng Peter Said
To achieve this, a consultant has proposed sustainable management methods for the credit houses and Nkeng believes that they can yield the desired results.
“If each member of the network buys shares of 15000 Cfa Frs. at least that is 1000 Cfa Frs. per share, they will run good business. That is one of the things credit houses have to do to be sustainable. They must also access their loans carefully and do not go out of COBAC law.
“The credit houses are meant for farmers in the rural areas. Though they are like banks, they deal with farmers and rural traders. If these houses follow the new model of work proposed by the consultant, they will become like credit unions and will do quite good business.”
If the new management committee does not go into work to put these new strategies in place and make sure they succeed, there will continue to be what Nkeng called wrong appraisals of loans, loan delinquencies and financial problems in the credit houses and the hope of sustainability will just be wishful thinking.
However Mbah David, NOWEFOR Chairperson promised delinquent members of the credit Houses during the recent NOWEFOR Annual General Assembly that force will be used to recover loans though he did not specify the type of force. Ful Joy