– Pope Francis, 2013
Samuel Oladipupo understands the hardships of being a small family farmer. Livestock feed is expensive and is sometimes hard to come by. The low prices fetched from the products of his labours make it difficult to expand and try new agricultural activities. Poor roads and infrastructure can make it hard to get products to market. And little support is given to farmers, who are often neglected by government policies that do not benefit them.
Thankfully, the Justice, Development and Peace Commission of the diocese of Ijebu-Ode (JDPC) in Nigeria has been there to help him overcome these challenges. With support from Development and Peace, JDPC is helping farmers like Samuel.
Samuel, who is a poultry farmer, had the opportunity to participate in several training sessions run by JDPC, such as bookkeeping, veterinary skills, and management. In addition, he was able to secure a loan that helped him diversify his activities.
“I started with 300 birds, and now I own 700! I have started other agricultural enterprises, such as growing plantain and raising snails,” he says.
It has also meant important changes for his family. “I was able to repay my loan, and now I can attend to the needs of my family, such as the education of my children, being able to access health care and having a good shelter,” he explains.
The future feels bright for Samuel. He not only plans to continue to expand his business, but as chairman of a local farmers’ group and through the skills he acquired with JDPC, he wants to help others in his community experience small family farming as a viable and rewarding calling.