Abdulganiyyu Atiku is a Field Extension Officer at AFEX. In this article, he shares his career journey at AFEX and the importance of being a changemaker.
Standing in the tall maize farm, with my farmers harvesting a few feet away, I felt a sense of contentment like a calm breeze blowing on my face. It also reminds me of the gift I received from AFEX — a job role to help people at a time when I had nothing.
The month I joined AFEX, I was given a target to reach out to smallholder farmers in my community and mobilize them. At that time, I struggled to talk to them, I wasn’t as confident as I am now. It took me time to realize I have to gain more knowledge of the commodities ecosystem and how I can build relevant skills such as communication to aid my work. AFEX gave me a good starting point in my career and a sense of belonging in the company and amongst my farmers.
That is one thing this job does — it connects you to people.
One of my favourite moments of my career here is when the company gets to disburse farm inputs — fertilizer, herbicide, pesticide, etc. to the smallholder farmers. The joy on their faces when they approach the AFEX warehouse is simply bliss. The AFEX Input Financing Program gives them hope, empowers them to be resilient and carry on dutifully. Right now, I have the largest farmers registered under me in the region I cover. I have over 1200 farmers in Rutifa region and I have disbursed fertilizers to about 600 people.
It’s one thing to be a problem identifier in Nigeria’s food system, it’s another to be a problem solver — and that is what AFEX is doing.
AFEX is a company that helps farmers and encourages them to grow. My job is to find ways to add value to the company and I do not take it for granted. The truth is, there is so much work to be done. In my location, most of these farmers have hectares of land, they have the passion and resilience to farm, but they don’t have access to the right farm inputs and markets to give them the fair value of exchange for their labour. We need more change makers on board to drive inclusion and diversity in the fields. I am just happy to be one of them.