Farmer Susana prospers with tomatoes, peppers and shallots
“We were able to send two of our children to university and one is now in secondary school because of vegetable farming,” Susana Agbakpe said. The 53 year old farmer whose one acre plot of land in Anloga, a town in the southeast of Ghana, mainly grows tomatoes, hot peppers, and shallot onions.
Raising three children and taking care of them is one of the primary goals of Agbakpe and farming is a way to provide for them. Contributing to her family’s survival can pose challenges when the climate becomes difficult. “When there is drought we use plastic tubes and tape to irrigate our field because the water table is shallow. This manual irrigation makes farming difficult,” Agbakpe said. Drought is not the only problem there is also disease but “We practice crop rotation. After we plant tomatoes we plant shallot onions to replenish the soil,” Agbakpe said.
Life has been made easier with improved seeds. “I first heard of East-West Seed through my cousin,” Agbakpe said. “I used the Tomato Padma because it gives me a higher yield and higher income especially if the price on tomatoes is good.”
There are still difficulties besides the climate as well, economic difficulties. “It is hard as the price is beyond our control. It is terrible when the price is low but we have a lot of produce,” Agbakpe said.
The Ghanaian farmer is trying different methods other than chemical pesticides to fight troublesome diseases and blight. “I am interested in using a gas fired soil sterilizer to remove pathogens, weeds etc,” Agbakpe said. “In the long run it is also cheaper to use.” This change in methods also helps with the economic problems, cutting down costs and increasing profits.
At the end of the day Agbakpe is intent on taking care of her family, and because of that she is focused. “I am a serious and hardworking farmer,” she said and with three children to provide for, her focus is always on prosperity.