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Sunday 26 October  
Myke Gbe, a farmer in Benue State, uses two cell phones and a tablet computer
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Makurdi, Nigeria
Makurdi, Nigeria

What a cell phone can do for a Nigerian farmer: quail

Published on : 12 February 2013 - 5:00am | By RNW Africa Desk (Photo: King James Yiye)
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Millions of mobiles

Will cell phones “rebuild the broken walls of Nigeria’s agriculture and unlock wealth and opportunities”? That's the hope of Agriculture Minister Akinwunmi Adesina, who supports a project to arm farmers with mobile devices that can help create a centralized farmers database and a platform for knowledge-sharing.

Last month initial media reports said 10 million cell phones, estimated to cost 60 billion naira (about 75 million euro), would be purchased by the Nigerian government. A 26 January article by Vanguard softened the controversial statement, stating that Minister Adesina said the government would "distribute only two million phones to farmers this year".

According to a 7 February article by This Day Live, the minister said that 71 percent of 426,000 sampled farmers across 13 states did not have cell phones and that "many...in rural areas are quite poor and are excluded from the benefits of the mobile phone revolution going on in Nigeria".

 

RNW recently paid a visit to Myke Gbe, a farmer whose upped use of mobile technology brings him more clients, more information and the occasional unexpected visitor. Here's the first half of our two-part story (read part 2 here).

By King James Yiye, Makurdi

I'm on a farm in Benue, a state in the middle of Nigeria, commonly referred to as the country’s food basket. The farm is large, spread over an area that could hold 15 football fields. It’s beautifully laid out, with lush green plants. I recognize orange, coconut and banana trees. I count nine fish ponds, both earthen and concrete. I see an office, a creatively built round hut for relaxation and other farm houses that are home to quails, snails, geese, ducks, rabbits, fish and an osprey from Finland.

Myke Gbe is the owner here. And he is one farmer who benefits from having a cell phone – two in fact. One is his, as he puts it, “business line”; the other is for “social calls”.

"I've been able to network. I have been able to gain materially,” he tells me. “Things that ordinarily I wouldn't have known or things that I would probably have only learnt in school or from a library, now at the tip of my fingers. I get materials from all over the world on my cell phone.”

A blog as his trumpet
Farmer Myke was using a cell phone even before he became a farmer in 2007. But today he has a Samsung Galaxy S1 and a Nokia E72, and it's from his tablet computer, a Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, that he posts on his blog.

“I have a blog,” he explains. “I'm better trained and better enlightened through the social media. I am able to trumpet my views, I am able to speak for myself. From nowhere I have received calls, people showing understanding, some people even promising assistance, many customers asking me in reality if what they saw is true because they have been looking for quail eggs for a long time, going to other states as far as 600 kilometres or more."

Quail egg joy
During a break in our conversation, Farmer Myke switches on his phone. Right away a call comes in. He takes it happily, arranging to reserve a crate of 100 quail eggs for the customer. From this one call alone, he will earn about 22 euro.

At any given point, at least 600 quail live on his farm. Even though Farmer Myke sells off the older ones, their stock is continually replenished because the birds produce 250 to 300 eggs daily.

And what if he never had a cell phone? "I would have taken the eggs to the market and waited till thy kingdom come for whoever would want to come and buy," he says.

Though Farmer Myke admits that his fish bring in more money, he believes his quail and their eggs sell faster than any other product on the farm. A blog post from 27 January reads “we have passed from the era of asking questions about the efficacy or medicinal value of quail eggs to the era of quail farming”. 

"It gives me joy that, through the quail eggs, a few people have been able to get some respite medically,” he tells me, adding that one of the food’s many benefits is enhancing the “sexual potency of the man". Referring to some particularly satisfied clients, he says: “They even bring their wives to thank me for making sure their homes are better, hahaha.” 

Read part 2 of this story here.

  • This is Mike Gbe&#039;s farm in Benue State<br>&copy; Photo: King James Yiye - http://www.rnw.nl/africa
  • Various species of trees grow on the farm<br>&copy; Photo: King James Yiye - http://www.rnw.nl/africa
  • There are geese<br>&copy; Photo: King James Yiye - http://www.rnw.nl/africa
  • And there are snails<br>&copy; Photo: King James Yiye - http://www.rnw.nl/africa
  • Fish bring the farm money<br>&copy; Photo: King James Yiye - http://www.rnw.nl/africa
  • Lately quail eggs are proving to be Farmer Mike&#039;s hottest selling product <br>&copy; Photo: King James Yiye - http://www.rnw.nl/africa

Discussion

obat asam urat 11 October 2014 - 6:58am

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Pernah Anda merasa nyeri pada bagian kaki anda? Itu merupakan ciri-ciri gejala penyakit asam urat. obat herbal asam urat

Wilson Booster 20 November 2013 - 11:07am / America

This is very nice post, this actually shows that what can cell phone technology can do

Anonymous 22 October 2013 - 8:20am / Nigeria

If you are in need of quail eggs in any part of lagos,kindly contact me on fareedibrahim26@gmail.com or07017673860,08073460582. You can check the uses of quail eggs on the internet.It cures different kinds of ailment and also very nutritious.Send your orders now

Anonymous 13 September 2013 - 12:26am / nigeria

it a really cool business to do especially if you have little capital quail production business is just too good

Myke Gbe 2 July 2013 - 9:18pm / Nigeria

On Monday, 24th June, 2013, an on-farm pilot training workshop for smallholding farmers on SMART Agro sponsored by the UNDP and Benue State Government commenced on Zukutiv Farms, Makurdi. There are 30 Trainees (beneficiaries). One of the cardinal themes of the training is "how the social media can be used to improve agribusiness". Having used effectively, relevant Zukutiv Farms resource persons have had no problem teaching the trainees accordingly.
It is our sincere hope that RNW will be able to send Mr. King James Yiye over to interact with our trainees before the programme winds up in about 11 days time. We regret the short notice.
Myke GBE

nicholasdan 23 May 2013 - 11:48am / china

Here are various of modern cost-effectivecell phones,it will do more for you.

Edwards Inyah 21 February 2013 - 11:23am / Nigeria

I have to add cell phones are also helping stray birds too. The osprey is a living example. Can they also bridge the gap of collaboration where the western has too much, skill,material and goodwill. Can they protocol and red tape to help the African farmer. The sense of adventure that gave us Christianity has evaporated in the need of hunger eradication. A farm like Myke's needs constant water all year round but it is not easy.

Edwards Inyah 20 February 2013 - 10:03pm / Nigeria

I wanted to eat that eagle for X-mas, but Myke would have none of it; that the bird is important! He showed me a tag on its leg. Our forebears ate all the eagles. There is none in Benue State and I wonder how lonely this one looks in the cage. Myke does not give up. He must do the proper thing for that bird.
Ok, it is now an osprey but I am still convinced it should be potted; to save ALL the fish he feeds the bird with and its loneliness.

Myke Gbe 20 February 2013 - 10:32pm / Nigeria

Since you feel this bad, pls come over to the farm soonest. A goose barbecue awaits you. You may not get the same emotional kick, but you're sure to have a MOUTHFUL.

Dan Gwebe 20 February 2013 - 3:58pm / Nigeria

Mike has re-conceptualized 'farming' as most of us knew it. He has made it an interesting, highly profitable and yet exciting venture that negates the common perception of a dull and micro-economic vocation for illiterate rural dwellers. Mike's model is capable of attracting our teeming unemployed graduates into farming instead of wasting valuable time on frustrating government job searches. And, yes, his phones never rest! They are an invaluable asset to his business.

Ngutor Anyam 20 February 2013 - 3:09pm / Nigeria

Nice Publication. I am a regular visitor to Myke Gbe's farm and have been introduced to taking quail eggs - which are very useful in stabilising my blood pressure. The eggs also tend to keep one alert. I communicate with Mr. Gbe for orders and to arrnage visits to the collect the eggs. I think the concept of cell phone to farmers to improve their capacity to communicate and have internet access is commendable

Mary Okafa 15 February 2013 - 10:19pm / Nigeria

Quail eggs are wonderful, I've eaten them also and there are lots of testimonies from people I know.
Thanks to you people who have brought our own Benue Farmer to international recognition, but how can we reach him?

Myke Gbe 20 February 2013 - 12:10pm / Nigeria

I am 'farmer' Myke Gbe.
Thank you sincerely for APPRECIATING King James Yiye and RDW for bringing our effort "to international recognition".
You can reach me on my mobile line 08188421488 or mykegbe@gmail.com or www.zukutivfarms.blogspot.com

King James Yiye 12 February 2013 - 9:02pm / Nigeria

Tintin, many thanks. I think few more farmers are now aware of the importance of Quail eggs and are now rearing the birds, but yes, information isn't available on such farms and farmers.

Myke Gbe 2 July 2013 - 9:24pm / Nigeria

ATTENTION: MR. KING JAMES YIYE
On Monday, 24th June, 2013, an on-farm pilot training workshop for smallholding farmers on SMART Agro sponsored by the UNDP and Benue State Government commenced on Zukutiv Farms, Makurdi. There are 30 Trainees (beneficiaries). One of the cardinal themes of the training is "how the social media can be used to improve agribusiness". Having used the social media effectively, relevant Zukutiv Farms resource persons have had no problem teaching the trainees accordingly.
It is our sincere hope that RNW will be able to send Mr. King James Yiye over to interact with our trainees before the programme winds up in about 11 days time. We regret the short notice.
Myke GBE (for: ZUKUTIV FARMS)

Tintin 12 February 2013 - 2:14pm / Nigeria

Nice Publication quail eggs are very scarce and without communiction how do people get it this story probably came up because of the recent story about FedGovt giving our phones to farmers. I think its a good idea it will surely help them

Myke Gbe 20 February 2013 - 2:20pm / Nigeria

Rest-assured assured that there will soon be a list of all quail farmers and vendors of quail products in Benue State as I intend to call a stakeholders meeting. Besides, we require to educate ourselves properly on self-regulatory measures/consumer protection rights bearing in mind that the public consumes our products largely with the understanding that the eggs particularly have MEDICINAL value.
Thanks for your valid observation.
King James Yiye to note, pl.

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