Don encourages backyard farming
Backyard farming has been described as vital to supplementing family means of livelihood because it saves scarce resources.
It is argued that backyard farming, either livestock or crop production, enables a family to save a greater portion of the income from other sources such as salaries, wages or commissions, and invest such savings in other income-generating activities.
Professor Kolawole Adebayo, a lecturer at the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB), explained, “As the name implies, it is that kind of farming that you have at the backyard of your house, not necessarily at the back of a house, but can also be in the front of the house, at the side of the kitchen or anywhere around the house.”
Backyard farming is usually designed in such a way to cultivate organic produce. Diverse agricultural produce can be cultivated with little resources invested in it is small scale and self-help labour could be used, eliminating high cost of labour.
Crops that can be cultivated in the backyard includes, but not limited to, vegetables, fruits, dwarf and early maturing perennial crops like orange, coconut trees, mango trees and many others. Animals could also be reared in the backyard, such as poultry, goats and rabbits, among others.
Apart from this, Professor Kolawole listed benefits of backyard farming, saying, “Essentially, I consider backyard farming as part of farming that is used to augment family expenses. So, if within the family you buy a lot of tomatoes for cooking, you could just prepare a one metre by five metre space at the back of the house, so that some of the tomatoes you use in the kitchen will come from the farm.
“And if the family is a lover of vegetables like okra, pumpkin leaf, waterleaf, etc, instead of paying for all of these, you could produce them yourself and fetch whenever you need them.”
This could also be extended to other subsectors of agriculture, like having two or three chickens at the backyard or within the compound, Kolawole said. They could survive and be sustained with leftovers, such as rice and garri, and anytime you want to satisfy yourself, just slaughter one of them. Even from the layers you rear, you can generate eggs frequently, Adebayo said.
Adebayo said, “If in a month, a family spends N10,000 on food alone, that is N120,000 per year. If only 10% of that N120,000 comes from the backyard farm, that is approximately N10,000 which will be reduced from the family’s expenses every year.”
Children can also be part of the backyard farming after school hours, and it can become a source of motivation to them to pick up careers in agricultural sciences later in life.
The commercial concept and importance of backyard farming is not about selling it, but about reducing the amount of money you spend on food monthly or yearly.
The agric science don said with backyard farming, social capital could be generated in the sense that “when you have a visitor, and you don’t have money to give to the person, you can give him harvested crops like peppers or tomatoes, five eggs or so, and vegetables. Definitely, when they reach home, they will call to thank you for the gift. And indirectly, when you need something from that kind of a person, he or she will willingly give you.”
Adebayo said “if a family spends N500 on peppers and tomatoes every week, and there are about 52 weeks in a year, such a family spends N26,000 on peppers and tomatoes yearly. So, just imagine you don’t have to spend such yearly.”
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