How Rugiatu Favour Kanu, Founder Of Slay Farmer SL Is Changing The Face Of Agriculture In Sierra Leone.
The United Nations Sustainable Development Goal to “End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture” (SDG2) recognizes the interlinkages among supporting sustainable agriculture, empowering small farmers, promoting gender equality, ending rural poverty, ensuring healthy lifestyles, tackling climate change, and other issues addressed within the set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals in the Post-2015 Development Agenda.
Beyond adequate calories intake, proper nutrition has other dimensions that deserve attention, including micronutrient availability and healthy diets. Inadequate micronutrient intake of mothers and infants can have long-term developmental impacts. Unhealthy diets and lifestyles are closely linked to the growing incidence of non-communicable diseases in both developed and developing countries.
Adequate nutrition during the critical 1,000 days from beginning of pregnancy through a child’s second birthday merits a particular focus. The Scaling-Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement has made great progress since its creation five years ago in incorporating strategies that link nutrition to agriculture, clean water, sanitation, education, employment, social protection, health care and support for resilience.
Extreme poverty and hunger are predominantly rural, with smallholder farmers and their families making up a very significant proportion of the poor and hungry. Thus, eradicating poverty and hunger are integrally linked to boosting food production, agricultural productivity and rural incomes.
Agriculture systems worldwide must become more productive and less wasteful. Sustainable agricultural practices and food systems, including both production and consumption, must be pursued from a holistic and integrated perspective. Source: Sustainable Development Goals
Born in Freetown at PCMH, Rugiatu Favour Kanu, popularly known as Slay Farmer is a 28-year-old young Sierra Leone Slay farmer, an Agriculture graduate from Njala University and A Certificate holder in SMEs Business Management from the Institute Of Public Administration and Management in collaboration with the Netherlands Business Council SL. Rugiatu Favour Kanu works with farmers in Kambia, Port Loko and Tonkolili and also own 10-acre of farmland of vegetables already planted at 6 miles, crossing point western area rural.
Born and lived most of her life in the eastern part of Freetown, PWD, Kamanda Farm. She attended the St Martin’s nursery andSt. Theresa’s primary school where she completed her primary school education. She later enrolled at Freetown secondary school for girls (FSSG) where she attained her junior and secondary school education. Rugiatu Favour Kanu holds a degree in Agriculture from Njalla University. Rugiatu Favour Kanu grew up seeing her father who was a civil servant working very hard to educate her and taught her to always be on time on any occasion. Rugiatu’s mother didn’t have the opportunity to go to school, Rugiatu’s mother did petty trading to help her husband send their Rugiatu to school.
‘’One thing my family is known for is giving even though there was not much, but we also find a way of giving or helping the people around us and it’s most times food. My father retired when I was in JSS 2 and there we began having constraints and he even died before I could make it to the university but before he died, I promised him am going to make him proud and God has been faithful as that is exactly what I am doing” She told us Salone Messenger during an exclusive interview on our conversation with leaders from works of life.
Reflecting on your childhood or early youthful age, what was/were the difficult things you did to survive, acquire education or any of your dream?
I could vividly remember when I got admission to the university, my father was no more and there was no money to take me through, My mother cried to the church and people around me who believed in me came through for me. My mother sold everything she had to see me through and there were times I could not afford money for the upkeep and feeding at Njala Mokonde, but I found myself around true male friends who were willing to help without using it against me. So am grateful to God, my mother, the people who believed in me, and my friends. My passion is also helping people find a way of giving something to help someone stand strong and I never regretted choosing this path as it feels good rendering these services.
You are the founder and Chief Executive Slay Farmer? What would you say enable you to set this initiative?
Slay Farms/farmer SL, is a company registered with the Cooperate affairs commission and duly incorporated with COMPANY NO: SL180821SLAYF11951 pursuant to the Companies Act No. 5 of 2009 (as amended) that all requirements of the act in respect of incorporation and all matters precedent and incidental to it having been duly satisfied SLAY FARMS (SL) LIMITED Is also incorporated in Sierra Leone as a Private Company and also registered with the Freetown City Council – SLI180821 / SLAYF1195
The name Slay farmer come about due to the fact the society looks low on farmers thinking that only old or poor people can be farmers, Slay farmer serve as a beacon of hope to young people. Where young people can be motivated to be part of agriculture. You can be everything and a farmer. YES, you can slay on a farm too. And the actual meaning of SLAY has been overturned by social media to mean differently in the negative – SLAY means to be exceptionally or greatly impress or amuse (someone) in what you do. Before now, I was focused on been an Extension Agent and a researcher only but then I went to ivory coast where I met a PhD. Holder in his farm working very hard like my farmers in the villages – straight off I said to myself I am owning a farm this year, then when I return home I did just that. That was where the inspiration came from. A piece of advice I received from Ambrose who is the best cocoa farmer in Africa, from Ivory Coast; he said farming is spiritual and that if you want to do better you have to have the passion and connection with your farm as if it is part of you. And after everything, I realised farming is my happy place
I own 10-acre farmland of vegetables already planted at 6 miles, crossing point western area rural. This farm is also used as a demonstration farm for vegetable farmers around the Six-mile community. The farmers I work with, I encourage them to adopt new, improved methods of farming, using a variety of methods to reach the farmers i.e. organising study groups for farmers, ‘farmer days’, demonstrations, lectures and literature, as well as informing the media.
Before setting up the Slay Farmer, where have you previously worked? Have you participated in any training both at the national and international level?
“I worked with the Produce monitoring Board at Kambia as a quality control officer and later transfer to Portloko as a district quality control coordinator and am presently at the Headquarters of the Produce Monitoring Board as a Quality Control Coordinator. I am a Trained and certified Sensory Evaluator of Cocoa from the Centre of promotion of imports from developing countries in the Netherlands. Trained in Ivory Coast and Liberia I am also trained by International Trade Centre – ICT on cooperative governance. This helps your know-how to set up, manage and run a farmer cooperative successful. I also did training on Business Management for SMEs in Sierra Leone from the Institute of Public Administration Management (IPAM) in collaboration with the Sierra Leone Netherlands Business and Culture Council. This training helps you to know the procedure involved in running a small business. I did a training with GIZ on vegetable production, preservation and marketing, ss we know vegetables are delicate and must be handled with care I am under training by UNIDO on ISO (the International Organization for Standardization) and IEC (the International Electrotechnical Commission) ISO/IEC17020 – Conformity Assessment, which is a journey towards Sierra Leone to be a globally accredited and accepted Inspection Body. And lots more including SHE Trade’s Training on the Constraints faced by women in the cashew value chain”
What would be your message to Sierra Leoneans?
“My message to Sierra Leoneans is that farming is not for old or poor people if we want to fight poverty and hunger to achieve food security, agriculture is the only way. You go to the farm, I go to farm You can be a lawyer, doctor, accountant, banker etc and still be a farmer. “And who says you can’t be a farmer and still slay??” I am open to research and consultation on Extension work, women in agriculture, farming/Farmers, and Produce quality etcetera as related to Agriculture, on a short term contractual/ consultancy basis. And open to teaching and directing Young girls wanting to go into farming.
How can you be reached? Your social media platforms and website?
I can be reached via the following social media platforms below
Facebook Slay Farmer
Instagram: Slay Farmer
Linkedin Slay Farmer
Twitter Slay Farmer