The date was the 19th of April, and when it eventually came, the ecstatic atmosphere set the tone for what turned out to be a banquet of unlimited opportunities, as we treated farmers from the Idi-Ope area of Oyo town, who came together under the umbrella of the Joint Farmers Community Initiative Association, to a feel of the Growsel Farmers’ Meet-Up. The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank group, was also there to add pep to the event, with an exhibition and demonstration of an assortment of solar-powered lamps and home systems, which the farmers can access through the Growsel Kindness channel.
The Oyo Farmers Meet-Up, held last week, is one of a series of events aimed at widening the scope of opportunities for the teeming smallholder farming population in Nigeria and across Africa.
“We have seen your footprints across Nigeria, and we have heard of the amazing ways you are touching the lives of numerous small scale farmers. That same touch is what we want here,” said Muyideen Adekunle, chairman of the Joint Farmers Community Initiative Association, as he welcomed Growsel representatives to the association hall. He then introduced our team to the farmers in local dialect, saying, “Our long awaited bearers of prosperity are finally here.” This elicited a dramatic response from the over 120 farmers present at the meet-up, as the super-excited female farmers danced and raised traditional songs of praise and admiration to herald our representatives’ march to the podium. The male folk also chorused the praises, with joy written all over their faces.
Riding on this warm reception, Francis Asinobi, one of our representatives, took the floor and cheerfully told the farmers that the Growsel platform holds many benefits for them, which Growsel came to Oyo to unwrap. The farmers listened with rapt attention as he unbundled Growsel offerings, giving them a step-by-step demonstration of how the Growsel platform works – from the registrations, the role of the farmers and the role of the trustees, to the numerous benefits of signing up on the Growsel platform.
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Oluwakemi Makanju, who led the IFC delegates to the meet-up, took the floor and introduced the farmers to the Lighting Africa campaign, telling them it’s important to sign up on the Growsel platform, so that, while they put food on everyone’s table, IFC can also put light in their homes. “IFC entered this partnership with Growsel to make these quality-verified solar devices available to farmers at pocket-friendly prices, through a specially designed flexible payment plan via Growsel’s Kindness scheme,” she added. After her briefing, she ushered the farmers to the ‘Lighting Africa’ exhibition stand so they can experience a demonstration of the quality-verified solar devices first-hand. At the end of the exhibition the farmers were delighted.
The high point of the Meet-Up was the official induction of the Joint Farmers Community Initiative Association, with presence in 20 states of the federation and about 1000 hectares of cultivated land in each state. As a Growsel Trustee, the association would spread the pollen grains of agricultural prosperity to all farmers under their umbrella by coordinating our empowerment efforts in communities where they have presence. The secretary of the association, Mr. Ajibike Lateef, thanked Growsel and IFC for their strategic alliance, which, according to him, is sure to take farmers out of economic darkness. He pledged that the Association would carry out the responsibilities of a Growsel Trustee with dispatch, so as to change the lives of the numerous farmers in their community by leveraging on the opportunities Growsel affords them.