In a country where sorghum is a staple crop, traditional methods of grain threshing are still widely practiced by farmers in parts of northern Nigeria. The grains are threshed by hand beating against a hard surface to separate the grains from their straw; a method that is tedious and labor intensive. Often, farmers usually experience heavy post-harvest losses and excessive cracking of grains which reduces the quality and quantity of the grains.
To promote efficiency in threshing, 2SCALE in partnership with Nalmaco and Adefunke-Desh Limited trained and empowered 20 youths from Kuki and Gargai clusters in Kano state as thresher/mechanization service providers. Currently, 10 out of the 20 participants are earning from the knowledge and skills acquired from this training, by providing threshing services to farmers.
Two of the youth were also equipped with modern threshers to kick-start their business. Four years later, these youths have made a commendable impact in their communities as well as improved their livelihoods. They are happy to share these successes.
Success stories from two youths; Nazifil Murtala and Tasiu Mustapha
25-year-old Nazifil Murtala lives in Gargai, Kano state, Nigeria. Before the training, he was unemployed but now provides thresher services to farmers from nearby villages such as Rantan, Bagauda, Tiga, Kuki, and Nasarawan Kuki. He is one of the youths who received a thresher from 2SCALE, to aid him to provide the service to farmers. For him, the key highlight from the training was learning how to operate, maintain and handle a threshing machine. He narrates,
I started providing threshing services to maize and sorghum farmers in 2018. At first, it was difficult handling the machine and getting customers, but I have improved this business by constantly practicing. This has helped me render this service to farmers in my cluster and nearby villages. At the beginning of the training, I needed capital to buy fuel and maintain my thresher and I was able to get the capital from friends, family, and 2SCALE.
So far, the reception from the farmers in his cluster and from the nearby villages has been excellent and they patronize him during the harvest season. He makes daily profit of about 5000 – 7000 naira ($11 - $16) during the harvest season. Due to the high demand from farmers, he makes enough for his family’s upkeep.
We thresh maize at 300 naira ($0.7) per 100kgs bag and 700 naira ($1.6) for sorghum. The income from the business is sufficient and the extra income has helped me to cater to my family’s needs. I have gained knowledge on financial record keeping and marketing all thanks to the empowerment and capacity building by 2SCALE. The community is also benefiting from easy access to mechanized threshing services at an affordable rate,
Even though the training was done four years ago, the business has been steadily progressing over the years. So far, he has made about 300,000 naira ($704) in profits! With this money, he has expanded his business by purchasing a new threshing machine and has created employment for 8 youths. The only challenge he experiences is decreased demand during the dry season so he engages in petty trading.
Another recipient of the modern thresher is 30-year-old Tasiu Mustapha. Despite being a graduate, he experienced unemployment due to the socio-economic challenges in the country. Before the training, he was unable to provide for his family’s needs but as a beneficiary, he now provides thresher services in Rantan and Tiga regions in Kano state, Nigeria. The first step for him was to gather more skills on how best to operate the thresher as he explains:
The training taught me how to operate and maintain a thresher while earning a living by providing threshing services to farmers. I had a keen interest in using it effectively and thus visited other thresher service providers to learn more about the service to enhance my skills and knowledge.
After gaining the required skillset and knowledge, Mustafa began providing the service to farmers. During the peak of the harvest season, farmers book for thresher services 2-3 days in advance. The profit he makes from his business has helped him to become financially independent as well as an employer! Currently, he engages six youths to assist in providing the service to farmers. Sometimes Mustapha makes as much as 5000 naira ($11) daily during the peak of the harvest and this encourages him to keep working.
The community is benefitting from my threshing business because they have easy access to mechanized threshers, and they no longer have to take their grains to other locations for the service,