Mastercard Foundation’s Partnership On ICON Program Is Geared Toward Promoting Food Security – President, WOFAN
The President of Women Farmers Advancement Network (WOFAN) has reiterated the commitment of the organization to promote food security through its recently launched ICON programme, which is an initiative in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation. She stated that the intervention program, which has provided farm implements, had contributed immensely to addressing the challenges associated with the poor yield the farmers have experienced.
As a result of these forward-thinking strategies, the farmers under the leadership of their traditional leader Sarki Ibrahim were able to fully recover from their economic challenges and expand their yield from growing only rice and groundnuts to including a variety of vegetables. The farmers also became savvier in using technology and have replicated this in their farming practice. As a result, farmers have increased their profits from N40,000 to N120,000.
Speaking on the farmers’ progress, Sarki Ibrahim is grateful for the initiative by WOFAN, which has received immense community support, especially in terms of Women mobilization and scaling up their businesses. “We are extremely grateful to Mastercard Foundation and WOFAN for the inputs and technical support. This has improved our market access, and we can sell our produce at premium prices,” says Sarki Ibrahim.
Another achievement of the Foundation and WOFAN partnership is establishing a makeshift centre for smallholder women farmers in Tofa community of Tofa LGA, Kano state. Here, they can pool resources to make groundnut oil for sale and parboil rice, all of which they accomplish using firewood. In time, WOFAN trained these women farmers to make and use briquettes in place of firewood to parboil their rice.
WOFAN, in partnership with Sonvisage Innovation Team, developed a solar-powered briquette stove for domestic cooking and parboiling business. It is also used to generate electricity as the sockets provided on the stove can charge phones while cooking; also, the stove is constructed with a cabinet where cooking utensils are kept.
Some women like Lubabatu Ado have taken to producing briquettes as a business. Again, solar power has provided a more eco-friendly way of soaking rice at night without using petrol or diesel. It also provides a source of income for people to start phone charging businesses. This has made the women’s centre a place of business and a budding commercial hub in Tofa LGA of Kano state.
One of the beneficiaries, Mrs. Regina, who experienced the economic downturn, is grateful for Mastercard Foundation’s intervention. “WOFAN gave us economic support by providing us with farming inputs and technical knowledge through the training on forward-thinking agricultural practices. This has helped my group be better informed on financial management, cooperative management and group dynamics to improve our business. We are very grateful for this training,” she said.