The manner in which their demeanor quickly faded when I introduced myself as a farmer was so disappointing and it immediately informed me of how far I have to go to become successful at what I do. Oftentimes, other professions are classified as prime while farming is considered a menial job for people in the suburbs and/or with no formal education. That has to change and of course, it all starts with ‘moi’.
Growing up, I always knew I would make an amazing medical doctor in my white jacket and some fancy glasses. This vision of me was so clear and I couldn’t wait to be admired by many for I believed physicians were the most intelligent people and I wanted to be considered smart as well.
After my Advanced Level, I registered for the medical exams and I was unsuccessful for that year. I enrolled in a course at The University of Bamenda just to keep myself busy while preparing for the next year. Eventually, I didn’t sit for the medical exams again and as circumstances would have it, I registered for a competitive exam to study Agricultural Engineering (my motivation was ‘engineering’).
In 2017, after obtaining my BTech in Agricultural and Environmental Engineering from the College of Technology (COLTECH), The University of Bamenda, I had no idea why I had just completed that degree. Are you shocked? Oh! yes, I was as confused as the word for I had wanted nothing to do with being called a farmer and would explain at every least chance I got, how my course had to do strictly with machinery and not with crop production, poor and ignorant me! Well, now I know better. Though, I didn’t know why I was studying that course, I just knew I had to get quality grades for I had been noted to be good at my books and my mother’s voice would always ring a bell in my head; ”Ngiah your book work is your first husband”. I am a very punctual student, missing classes even in ill health is still a difficult thing for me to do and this got me nicknamed by my family as, ‘Ngiah the SCHOOL GIRL’.
After all my attempts to get a job rendered fruitless, I tried so many different things, from home teaching to selling shoes just to keep body and soul together while acquiring some entrepreneurial skills. With everything that was happening, I just knew I wanted to further my education even though I was fully aware of the fact that I couldn’t afford it and would do that only after I had saved up money for tuition et al. So, I just continued with the ‘hustle’ as we would usually call it.
One beautiful morning, a friend sent a link for an application to pursue a master’s course in Ghana which would be sponsored by the World Bank in collaboration with the Government of Ghana. I said to myself, "dreams come true, studying and being taken care of… what a time to be alive". Despite all the challenges that come with living in the North West Region of Cameroon; poor internet, electricity instability and no laptop, I finally clicked on that submit button. I was later called up for an interview and months later, my admissions letter arrived in an expectant email, I remember tearing and just being grateful for an opportunity to move ahead.
Arriving in Ghana and going through my program while turning all my challenges into opportunities was a very blissful experience. I love traveling by the way, so I do not mind any stress that comes with touring.
I had a wonderful time in Ghana with my colleagues, from over 10 African countries with the PAN-AFRICAN spirit throughout my study. The details of my exciting program will be revealed in the next blog. Today, I am trying to pass across how my passion for FARMING found its alpha.
During one of my taught courses, I received a message from my sister. It was a photo captioned: “Kay, Daddy was an amazing farmer, see how healthy his cabbages look”. I smiled and it was then I became cognizant of having followed my late Dad’s path without consciously choosing to do so. Everything just seemed to align from that point.
It was a tough but worthy ride. Finally, I made it with an MPhil in Irrigation and Drainage Engineering.
People often ask me, so you go to school to learn how to farm? Well, yes, you know why? Farming is an art, and in these difficult times, we need to move towards precision farming using limited resources to maximize yields.
Unlike the popular opinion, farming is for the educated and is a noble career that can only be done successfully with passion and drive. It is therefore important that we consumers come to a consensus of understanding that for us to live healthy lives, the food we consume has to be produced by people (farmers) who are not just willing but are capable of producing in consideration of the many factors affecting sustainable productivity. You see FARMING, with precision, strategy, skill and arts is the WAY TO GO!
Finally, let me reintroduce to you Kah Kyria aka FarmerKay and I want you to take this home; farmers are intelligent, farmers can and should be educated, they can be bold and beautiful and of course farmers can SLAY!!!!
OD Graduate Scholar