Orhionmwon is a Local Government Area of Edo State, Nigeria and its headquarters in Abudu.
In Orhionmwon, there are several communities like Ottah, Igbanke, Wire-Ake, Idumuodin, and Igbontor. The major occupation here is farming and the people of Orhionmwon produce majority of the food in the State.
During EDAH data collection process carried out at Orhionmwon LGA of Edo State, after a brief sensitization on the ‘why’ and ‘what’ the data collection process was all about; the need for the farmers to provide us with accurate data about their Cassava farmlands was highlighted. The farmers were eager to give us (the field staffs); data/information on their farms, and in the process showcased the sizes of their farmlands and what they produce.
Data collection started with Ottah community, Igbanke; with the Enogie of Ottah who is also a farmer and on seeing his enthusiasm (his approval and zeal) for the Data collection process, other members of Ottah community came out en mass to participate. Ottah is blessed with rich, fertile lands and that’s why there is a record of high food production in the area; no wonder there was an endless supply of assorted bush meats alongside fresh palm wine; which was used to welcome us-the field staffs, this according to the people signifies unity and acceptance.
Waking up to a new day with the expectation of getting farmers data on their Cassava farms was an interesting feeling due to the fact that they were willing and happy to actually give us- the field staffs information about their Cassava farms. Going with the farmers to their Cassava farms was overwhelming as most farms were at a distance from other farms and as a result, we had to go to most Cassava farms on bikes to get the size of farms, GPS location of the farms, nearest market to the farms and how Cassava tubers harvested were sold.
It is remarkable to note that in all the various Communities visited, the Village Heads were all Cassava farmers and not just that, their wives also owned large Cassava farms in which they worked on. And from the data Collection process, it was discovered that the youths were not interested in farming as they saw it as “hard work” and also due to the fact the farming processes were not mechanized.
Some of the Quarters in Ottah visited are Ikpozi Quarters, and Nkata Quarters. The people of Ikpozi Quarters practice a type of farming system known as Communal farming (a farming system whereby several farmers come together to farm on a single, large farmland). Farmlands here are leased out to individuals who are willing to embrace farming. A call to individuals interested in farming was made due to the fact that some farmers have various farmlands located far apart from each other and as such found it difficult to go to such farms to farm, hence the farmlands were abandoned.
The Oligie Community was also visited and farmers with open arms welcomed the data collection process and willingly gave information on their Cassava farms and food produce that thrive excellently well in that region. And some of the food produce includes; tomatoes, yam, plantain, pepper, okra and vegetables to mention a few. The closest market to the Oligie people is the Oligie market where the aforementioned farm produce were sold at. It was noted that other communities had their markets though without standard infrastructures and some in need of re-rehabilitation and maintenance.
Other markets at Igbanke, Orhionmwon include; Ottah, Iduomodin, and Onu-Iyi markets.
Communities also visited; Wire-Ake, Idumuodin, Igbontor also in Igbanke; rich, fertile lands; vast and large which are used for various agricultural activities. Onu-Iyi; at the outskirt of Igbanke was also visited and Cassava farmers’ data were collected.
Some of the major challenges faced by farmers of this region include: inaccessible/poor road network for trucks to carry farm produce to market, the need for government intervention in areas such as provision of loan facilities, provision of farming implements at a subsidized rate, storage facilities but to mention a few. At the end of the Data collection exercise, I discovered I was imparted and educated more with knowledge and some secrets about Cassava farming compared to when I initially arrived at Orhionmwon and I’m grateful to the people of Orhionmwon for their hospitality, love and knowledge gained from them; for knowledge they say has a beginning but no end.