Miss. Ruth Bose Suberu, a graduate of History and International Studies from the Lagos State University (LASU) worked briefly with a construction firm after her graduation in 2008. She then ventured into farming with a focus on vegetables.
Narrating her story, Ruth who sees farming as a way of life, a calling and duty to humanity stated that while she was working in the construction firm, she knew she was not in the right place. She therefore resigned in 2015 and became a farmer because she was no longer contented with what she was doing. She needed a place where she could work at her convenience, make progress and at the same time be happy with what she is doing.
Responding to an enquiry into what motivated her to embrace faming as a vocation, she said, “I did research and my love for plants pushed me into farming. I discovered that it is what I can do and even when I fail, I will still be willing to continue and put more efforts.
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“I started making enquiries on how to get land and how to start the business. I started in 2015 with maize and cassava somewhere in Owode, close to Idiroko, Ogun State. As of today, I am proud of what I am doing, and it has been successful. I have no regrets because I am doing what I love and I’m getting results from it.”
The historian-turned-farmer who now cultivates vegetables – tomatoes, pepper, okra, cabbage and cucumber – in commercial quantities disclosed that she started with two plots of land and today, it has increased to sixteen acres.
She further revealed that a guy from Benin Republic whom she employed was the one that introduced pepper farming to her and she eventually discovered that pepper is one of the vegetables most farmers ignore because they see it as something that does not bring instant money in huge amount.
“I discovered that there is market for pepper and it brings in more money and you can harvest for a long period compared to tomato and cucumber,” she said.
Miss. Suberu admitted that funding was the major challenge when she started because land is very expensive. Her decision to start little and invest the proceed from the farm into the business to make it more productive and profitable helped her to overcome the challenge.
The vegetable farmer who started business with less than N100,000 now has a large customer base and she is just making effort to satisfy just a few of them. She is under pressure to expand the farming business.
Ruth also disclosed that there are export opportunities in the business but she has not embarked on exportation now because she is still struggling to meet up with the local demand.
She said, “Presently, we have more women in agriculture because when we think about the existence of humans it is all about food, and if food is taken care of, the rest is simple. So, women in agriculture; we boost food in circulation and also generate more income individually, as families and as a nation.”
Speaking on insecurity as a major challenge to farmers, she said, “I have not had insecurity situation because in most of all these rural settings, we have people who are vigilant. I have not had any security challenge in my location.”
The lady farmer stated that the only support she has gotten from government is a tin of tomato seeds, from in Ogun State.
She further narrated that when they were in school, they were made to understand that they would either work in foreign affairs, embassies and the rest of that, but only 30 per cent of them are in those places.
According to her, she is in touch with some of her course mates and they always congratulate her because most of them are not practicing what we studied in school.