The Oliver Twist Effect (Asking for More)

by Abimbola Otepola, Corporate Communications Analyst, AFEX

When we spoke with three farmers working with Dimeji Green, AFEX Sustainability Manager, in Obun-Ondo and Edo regions, they all said one thing in common — “Farmers are Oliver Twist”.

We ask: what does that mean?

Akinlade Augustine is a cocoa farmer in his mid-forties manning a small hectare of land in Obun-Ondo, Ondo State. He joined AFEX in 2019 and immediately associated with the Farmers Business School Co-operative in Ondo East Local Government Area.

“2019 was a good year”, he recalls.

Frederick Ekpenriebe Thomas, Procurement Officer, AFEX, and the National President of Cocoa producing states in Utese Agbama MPCS, Edo State shares similar views with Akinlade.

Ogunreti Osazee John, a cocoa farmer in Egbeta Farm Settlement, Edo State, testifies to Frederick’s statement on the financial viability of cocoa farming.

These conversations only remind us of a Yoruba song school children are taught to sing:

I se a gbe, ni se ilewa (Farming is the job of our land)

E ni ko sise, a ma jale (whoever doesn’t work, is likely to steal)

Iwe Kiko, la I si oko (education without learning to farm)

Ko I kpe o, ko I kpe o (is not complete, it is not complete)

In the end, achieving economic growth rapidly is a collaborative effort for everyone, to promote decent work, labor diversification, employment, creativity, and innovation.

Watch out for the next part in our next post.

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