Cameroon officially honored the rural woman on 15th October 2019.
Commemorative activities held in the Nyong and Mefou Division of the Centre region on the theme ” Rural women and girls , building resilience “.
Marie Therese Abena Ondoa, Minister of Women’s Empowerment and the Family chaired the ceremony that culminated with a donation of farm tools to female-farmer groups in the locality.
One of the women deserving of such honor is Anna Fokum , an industrious rural woman.
Anna Fokum, passionate and Resilient
The 65- year old mother of 7 spent her entire life as a rural woman in a village in Ebonji , a villGe in the South West region. But, she now resides in Yaounde.
Anna Fokum, a typical rural woman and farmer par excellence, moved to Yaounde in January 2018 after the crisis in the troubled regions escalated.
Her farming career spans a period of over 20 years.
Taking up farming didn’t come easy. Her husband, a business man, had no interest in farming. However, she successfully lured her reluctant husband to support her farming endeavors .
” I wasn’t a farmer when I got married, but I had a little knowledge of the profession. Unfortunately, my husband didn’t want me to work , so I stayed at home. As time went on, I convinced him to buy some farm land for our family “.
Starting as a small scale farmer, Anna Fokum cultivated food crops and tubers like yams, Cassava and coco yams for consumption.
In no distant time, the couple began cultivating cash crops especially cocoa and palm nuts. This decision was influenced by some pressing needs.
” When our second daughter was admitted into Saker Baptist College, my husband told me the fee was quite high and requested I contribute. I gave him 150 , 000frs from my personal savings . From that time, farming became a lifeline “.
Mme Anna Fokum lost her husband some years later. But, the desire to continue giving her children quality education transformed her into a large-scale farmer.
” I cultivated every food item I could lay hands on. I sold palm oil, oranges, and cocoa . Thanks to agriculture , four of my children are university graduates” .
Mama Anna also became a
Member of cocoa and oil cooperatives where she obtained loans to sponsor her children.
Apart from selling some of her produce, she was also a petty trader. She routinely travelled to Fundong where she bought food stuff to sell in Ebonji village.
But her responsibilities later constrained her to restrict her business to Ebonji village, her hometown.
From her small scale business, she built an oven to dry cocoa, but was forced to flee when the crisis in the North West and South West regions escalated.
Mme Anna Fokum moved to Yaounde for safety, abandoning all she had acquired.
Anna Fokum : making the difference away from home
Mme Anna Fokum has been in living in Yaounde for close to two years.
Upon arrival, she tried her hands at a small scale business, but later made a complete switch to full time farming.
” When I came to Yaounde, I didn’t want to be idle , so I resorted to farming. I discovered that food is too expensive and I decided to continue farming”.
The long-time farmer was given a piece of land where she bad been cultivating food crops.
For almost 1 year, she has greatly contributed to making life better for displaced family.
” Farming has been more than helpful.We feed well, and don’t spend much in feeding. I wish I had more farm land to cultivate tubers”.
She admonishes women not to lie on their laurels irrespective of how comfortable or destitute they are.
” No woman should be idle and exclusively dependent on her husband. You can still do something even if you are displaced. Every woman should be involved in an income generating activity ”
Kathy Neba Sina